13.1 stinkin’ miles. Yesterday I ran the Daytona Beach Half Marathon at the International Speedway, aka Home of Racing, aka Nascar headquarters, aka the most freezingest, longest 13.1 miles I have ever ran. But I did it! (insert toothy smiling emoji here). I had some serious race nerves a couple of days beforehand as I did a mini carb load, tons of stretching and oh yeah threw out my back. I was pretty scared I wasn’t going to even complete the race let alone run the whole thing. It’s been a year and a half since I ran an entire half completely. With serious back pain I was pretty concerned, however I took it super easy the week leading up to it and it loosened up enough to run. It was 45 degrees, windy and starting to drizzle. As the miles ticked by I don’t think I ever warmed up. The first half went by quickly. Miles 1 and 2 were around the Daytona Speedway which was super cool. It was hard not to notice the embankment rising up as you ran by. The next four miles seemed to go by pretty flawlessly. Then came the causeway. Why did I forget about the causeway?? Up I ran as the wind whipped around. I relished in the downhill “recovery” as I surveyed the next mile that marked the turnaround. That came and went as I faced the causeway again. The second time around way of course way more brutal than the first. Many more people chose to walk up which made it more difficult as I weaved in and out trying to get to the top. At the bottom marked 9 miles. 4 more to go. I’m exhausted. By 10 I started to struggle and had to kick in some of that mental toughness. My quads were tight, my back was talking and my left big toe was really starting to hurt. I wish I could explain how I made it to the end. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop and walk but I kept telling myself the end is near and remember what you are ultimately training for. And oh yeah….there is beer at the end! I talked myself into trudging along and somehow made myself forget about by toe. By mile 12 I was desperately looking for someone who might be able to pace me in, but people were dropping back fairly quickly. As I kept on I realized that before surgery I didn’t have that drive to push myself. Although I lost a lot of my speed I gained so much more in perseverance and I feel it’s a fair trade. I finally got back to the stadium and the chute was near! I had nothing left to sprint the end but what a feeling to cross the line. As I sit here reminiscing about yesterday, quads so tight you can bounce quarters off them, I am actually looking forward to this next chapter. It’s going to be, well, hell but i’m ready. But it is easier said than run.
Move It Danica