Saturday was my birthday. How did I celebrate it you ask? I ran 13 miles. Marathon training doesn’t stop for a birthday. So well before the break of dawn the alarm went off as I painfully dragged my now year older self out of bed, laced up, choked down breakfast and got out of the door for the birthday half marathon fest. What a way to celebrate. I didn’t sleep well to begin with, but starting at 4:30am I was able to beat the heat. My legs were super heavy as I tried to keep a steady and rather slow pace. The first 5 miles were at the neighborhood across the street, then the next two back in my hood before stopping for a water, refueling break. It actually hurt me a bit to stop but I needed more water and gel to continue. I knew that the second half of this run was going to need a lot of mental power. Though I was more than halfway done I was exhausted, drenched in sweat and starving for something other than goo that comes in a packet. Boy did I want a burger. Miles 8-10 were tough. It was hard to get back into a groove. By 10 though my knee started to bother me. Currently I am in the mindset of ‘train smart and do not get hurt.’ So I walked a good part of the next mile to give me knee a rest. By now I am 3 gels in, a ton of water and the “finish line” is near but still so far away. The sun started to rise and I knew the temperature was about to be hot enough to bake a birthday cake. 11-12 were still slow but I made it through the neighborhood and time to finish the last mile at home. I hate that last mile and it hates me. I kept checking my Garmin, each ten seconds felt like an eternity. Finally with a quarter mile left I somehow found the energy to sprint home. 13 miles done and done. Definitely not my best run however I did it. I went straight into the pool….yes in my running clothes and it was heaven! Looking back at it, it wasn’t all that bad, it was good mental training and I didn’t feel as beat up as my first half marathon when I could barely even sit down on a toilet without wanting to scream. I am happy where I am at and though super nervous, ready to try to conquer 14 on Friday. Never ran that far before, time to hit some uncharted territories and see what I am really capable of. Until then time to celebrate my birthday! Another year where it really is easier said than run.