This half was different from any other half I have done for several reasons: 1. I was doing this race alone because Tim was running in The Boston Marathon one week after this race. 2. I was raising money for a RACE rather than a walk event, and 3. This was my first half that involved a full running program. ( I walked my first few half marathons, then switched to a run - walk combo.)
My training program went well until the week after my 9 mile run. I had some kind of a 3 day bug, you know the kind that makes you sick from the time that you get off of work on Friday until it is time to go to work again on Monday. Yeah, fun times. I think in a 24 hour period from Friday night until Saturday night I was asleep for 18 hours, needless to say there was no running that weekend. In addition to missing that run, it took me a few days to gain strength. I'm stubborn enough that I got back on track the next weekend. As luck would have it, along comes illness #2. I missed an entire week of workouts and another long run! After the third rewrite of my training program, I got back on track and finished the program.
Race day morning was rather windy with the temperature in the 30's. Two hours and 26 minutes is a long time to occupy your mind, especially when your body is doing the same repetitive motion. I tend to use my running time to have conversations with myself.
Conversation #1 WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I'm running, me? Wow......Who would have thought?.... I can't believe I'm doing this..... I'm the luckiest person in the world!
Conversation #2 Why am I lucky.... because I have lupus and I CAN do this. Why am I so lucky and others are not? Why do I have this cross ( lupus) to carry throughout my life?.... answer... to make me notice and appreciate what I can do, appreciate the blessings in my life, appreciate the many wonderful people who have touched my life.
Intermission... as each mile marker passes I said thank you to my mile sponsor and thought about what qualities they each possessed that I admired. Things were going well.
Conversation #4 I am passed by a man who is holding the arm of another runner. On the back of his shirt it says “ visually impaired.” This man is blind and running a half marathon - maybe a marathon! Wow, What an amazing man!! Talk about courage, dedication, and inspiration.
Okay... here is where the pain kicked in. I had ran exactly one hour. I think I was near the middle of mile 6. I slowed to a walk to grab a drink. When I started running again the pain was terrible. I had had this pain two weeks before AFTER my long run, but never during my run. I kept going and after a few minutes the pain was gone.
Along comes the next water stop. This time when I started running the pain was so great that I stumbled. I decided that in order to reduce the pain and make it to the end, I would have to keep moving until the end. No more walking to get drinks.
By now I was around mile 10. I knew that I could run a 5 k in about 30 minutes, so 30 minutes of pain and then I would be done. There would be plenty of time to rest when the race was over.
Final conversations: The last few sponsors of my race were going to support me and help me make it to the end. I am a Lupus Runner, not a Lupus Walker. They sponsored a run, they were going to get a run. Oh, how I wanted to stop and walk. There were many people walking around me. Oh how I wanted to join them and walk , but I had a date with the finish line and according to my watch I was already running a little late.
The last few sponsors were : 1. a single mother who was going to give me the courage to finish the race, 2. a sprinter and his wife - from him I would take his speed and from her, dedication. 3. a teacher friend and her ultra athlete husband - from them I took passion and endurance to finish with commitment. 4. a christian family who I knew would carry my crosses ( my lupus and my knee pain) for me.
I kept replaying a conversation with these 4 sponsors over and over. I would remind myself the strengths that I admired in each of these people and hoping I had their strengths to see me through to the end.
The final inspiration. I knew that I would see Tim at the finish.
I pushed and pushed. You know the saying “dig deeper,” well I was digging so deep that I felt the pain of scraping the bottom.
The last three miles were extremely difficult! Looking back I can’t believe that I finished without walking.
When I rounded the corner and went into the stadium, there was a tiny hill. This tiny hill caused me so much knee pain that it brought tears to my eyes. Then, about 30 seconds later I saw Tim. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew it was a matter of yards until I could finish.
Final time 2:26.