There are so many thoughts swimming in my head it’s hard for me to start this post. My weekend in Vermont with Cabot and the amazing group of women they organized was exactly what my soul needed at this point in my life.
I left on Friday a little down. I’ve been dealing with a lot of emotional baggage lately but after spending the weekend with seven amazing women I’m returning inspired, re-energized and more confident than ever.
Yesterday I ran my sixth half marathon after about a year and half hiatus from regular running and it may have been my most challenging and rewarding one to-date.
The course was a hilly 13.1 miles through the beautiful landscape that is Vermont. The weather didn’t cooperate with us much on paper — it was a rainy, gloomy 50 degrees — but, in my opinion, it was perfect. The race even started comfortably late at 9 a.m. making it a fairly easy morning.
So it wasn’t the logistics or the course that made it challenging for me. It was something else.
While running the race alone I was left to my thoughts, which, as I already established with my recent emotional baggage, isn’t the best place for me to be right now. But as I tackled hill after hill I started to remember the physical challenges of running, and how it feels to do something I think I can’t. That inspired me to push myself a little more than I normally do.
I wasn’t as physically prepared for the run as I wanted to be. My training was pretty much one longish run on the weekends (not even as many as I wanted) and my normal CrossFit routine. But as I reached the top of another incline and another without stopping to walk, all while keeping a pace that was faster than any of my training runs, I was getting more and more confident.
It was just before mile 7, the relay exchange point, on a steady incline though the Middlebury campus when two of my Cabot Fit Team members came up behind me and asked how I was. It jolted me out of the zone I was in and I realized … I was doing fantastic! I smiled and said as such and they complimented me on my steady pace up the hill. They exchanged bracelets with their relay partners and I continued on to the second half of the race.
Around mile 9 I had another Cabot Fit Team member come up behind me and start chatting. This time it was one of the male employees who said he saw me tackle the hill and it helped him keep his pace. It made me smile to think I inspired him. We chatted a bit. When I saw the 10-mile marker I gave him a high five and said, “double digits baby! We’re almost done!”
He laughed and I was reminded what it is about races that I love so much — the sense of community as we all reach for the same goal by overcoming our individual obstacles.
The last 2 miles where grueling for me but I kept trotting along, one foot in front of the other, making forward progress. Just after the 11-mile mark I almost… almost… stopped to walk, but then something took over. I’m not sure if was my adrenaline but I said to myself, “No! You’ve come this far without stopping; you are doing this!”
And I did!
Once I passed the 12-mile marker I got a little more pep in my step and I kicked it in the last quarter mile to the finish as fast as I possibly could.
When I looked at the clock I was in shock — 2:14
I finished the hilliest half I’ve ever run just 7 minutes shy of my PR.
My official time was 2:13:40.
I still can’t believe it. I really did surprise myself!
I had so much more I wanted to blog about this trip but truth be told, I had a horrible day of travel — more info on my IG account — and I need sleep! More later. :)