Welp, I did it. I finished my second half marathon. It’s a real thing now. Doing it once was cool but could’ve been a fluke, twice, nope, that makes it a thing. I’m not sure what three times is…a pattern maybe? Four or five and it’s basically a habit. Last year I was feeling things out, seeing what this 13.1 mile stuff was all about: How hard would it be? Could I really do this? Stuff like that. Turns out yes I could. I survived even though it was painful and slow.
This year when decided to run another half my focus was on training better and feeling more prepared. No ten mile wall this time! That being my focus, I didn’t really set a time goal until the week before the race. It wasn’t an especially ambitious goal either, to not average more than ten minutes per mile. I’m not fast, y’all. But for me running isn’t about being fast, it’s about pushing myself physically, it’s about challenge and feeling good. It’s about accomplishing something. In a small way it’s also about taking a little time to focus on myself, to be alone, quiet, and okay with that. During my training I felt awesome each time I ran a new farthest distance even if no one else gave a rat’s ass about it. That’s what distance running is about. That and being able to drink ALL the beer.
The Run For the Light at Whitefish point (at the tip of Whitefish Bay) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a small fundraiser race for the Shipwreck Museum located right there on the point. This is the original race my co-blogger and I talked about doing back in the winter of 2014 but not the one I ended up running last year. Like the half I did last year, this was a small road race of maybe fifty people that had a 5k, 10k, and half marathon all start together. It was an out and back road course. My brother had really hoped we’d be running along some Lake Superior coastline but, sadly, we did not.
The race did wind through some woods with their beautiful fall colors (which I didn’t get a picture of because I was running…and then my phone died.). It was described as a “flat and fast” course. It was definitely flat and some people were fast. When I was talking my brother into running a half with me this fall (he’s done two before so there wasn’t much arm twisting involved), he said he wanted somewhere with good scenery. “If I’m going to run for two hours I don’t want to do it on some boring back road with nothing to look at.” he argued. Shoreline would’ve been awesome, or at very least finishing right on the beach, but even without that I was pretty happy with the views. I love running in and near the woods, doing so in the UP during the fall is a bonus.
If you’re looking for a race with lots of crowds and cheering this is not the one for you. The race was so small that much of it I was running alone. My brother stuck with me for maybe four miles and decided he wanted a faster pace. His goal was under two hours but, like I said, I’m not fast. Plus it was morning, I had twisted my ankle just a couple days before that, and had had a sleep deprived week leading up to the race. Excuses excuses right? I’d like to think I was just being realistic with myself. I really wanted to be able to run the majority of the race and knew if I pushed fast in the first half I’d burn out. Slow and steady and all that. Before the turn around at the half way mark there was one woman behind me, I kept my pace just fast enough that she stayed a good distance behind me but shortly after the turn a different woman passed me. WTF?! I didn’t even know she was back there. I thought about pushing myself to keep pace but was not feeling the motivation eight miles in. I did stay pretty close to her and we ended up passing and re-passing each other a couple times, mostly because she stopped at aid stations and I did not (I was carrying a water bottle). After the last water stop she didn’t catch back up to me. I heard someone cheer for her when the finish line was in sight and picked up my pace. No way was she getting me int he last stretch. Good thing she was there though because I really wanted to walk right then. Yes, I was approaching the finish line and all I wanted to do was walk or maybe just stop. Derg!
Overall this half marathon was much better than my first one. My time was about the same but I ran all but a few short patches of the 13.1 miles and felt pretty decent the whole time. Yes, I was tired and dragging ass in the last 2.1 miles (which was probably more of a mental thing) but I didn’t have pain, I didn’t hate myself for doing this, and I didn’t want to die. Sure, I wish I could run a two hour half marathon even when I didn’t train well for it like my brother (or my sister last year) but I ran 13.1 miles and I felt good doing it.
And even though my brother was faster than me I got a medal and he didn’t. That’s really what it’s all about, getting something your sibling didn’t. After I crossed the finish line one of the race managers handed me a slip with my stats on it. I saw that I was second in my age division. Turns out they gave medals to the top two in each male and female age group. Hell yeah, bitches! I got a medal…and not just a finisher’s medal, a real live placings medal! That pretty much made my day.
After the race I wanted to walk around the museum and grounds but my brother did not want to take another step. So we ate cookies, changed into less sweaty clothes, and started the drive home.