It didn't happen like I had planned these past four months of running... but nevertheless, it happened. I ran the Lincoln half marathon this morning. There was no driving around to find a parking spot, no standing in line 50 people deep to use the restroom, no line of port-a-potties down the street, no waiting 30 minutes to cross the START line, no weaving in and around of people, no water stations, and sadly no crowds of cheering.
Two Sundays ago when there was a sea of people (12,500 to be exact) that filled the street waiting to start the marathon, TJ, Thomas and I were at Children's hospital in Omaha. I was super disappointed and sadly admit that I was pouting (at least only in my head) that I couldn't be there running. I knew I wanted and needed to be with Thomas, but what your head knows and your heart feels can be two separate feelings. I can honestly say that I had thought of this half marathon at least once every day since 1:40 in the morning on January 1st. (That's when I was able to register and it filled up within twelve hours!). I had run and really trained for the last four months. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. Once I got over the fact that I wasn't going to be able to run and experience the awesome atmosphere on race day and getting to run with my dear friend Kim, I knew I owed it to myself to still run it.
And so two Sundays later, I stood on the empty start line in the street as the erie stillness and quiet were the only "cheering" that sent me off as I began my race.
I started off with praying the rosary and offering it for Thomas. I found it ironic that I had a slight headache as I started to run. Poor Thomas has had terrible headaches for the past two months. It made my prayers for him that more real as I could now imagine for just a moment how he feels all day, every day.
I kept telling myself to start slow.... "Slow down Kristi or you will burn out by mile ten." Then once I turned onto Sheridan I kicked it up a bit. It was such a beautiful morning with the morning sun shining between the trees! To feel more like I was running the actual race, I ran on the street, not caring that cars had to swerve around me. "I'm running the half people, watch out for me! We don't run on sidewalks!!" Is what I wanted to say, of course!
Since there were no water stations I had to stop at a gas station along the way and grab a water and use the restroom! But other than that I was sailing along. After finishing the rosary I realized I needed some music to keep me running. A little "Mumford and Sons" pandora station made my steps quicken! As I turned onto 20th street, the big hill of this race, I got a text from Kim wondering how I was doing. It was such perfect timing knowing that she was thinking of me at that moment I started up the hill. Then as I turn on to 10th St., the last dreaded 3 miles, I had to really push myself. I laughed aloud as the song on Pandora was singing to me, "run fast for your mother, run fast for your brother, run for your sister..."
With one-mile left, my phone rang and it was TJ, which I of course didn't stop to talk to him, but that truly helped me sprint through that last mile!
Then it was done. No cheers, no running through the middle of the stadium, I just stopped on the empty street that I had started on. And I felt so good! So good to have finished what I started. My pace was 8:21 and I finished it in 1:49:40.
When I got home I put on the marathon medal that my brother-in-law Andy gave to Thomas after he finished running the Half this year!