5am. The alarm went off. I rose out up bed thinking “am I really doing this?”
6am. I dressed in the tech shirt I received at my very first 5-K race in September 2013. I put on my favorite ‘Running is Cheaper than Therapy’ cap. I taped up my knee and ankle. I laced up my blue Mizuno ascend running shoes. Out I went, navigating in the still-dark streets, to my last 13.1 mile race in Morgan Hill.
7am. Crowds of enthusiastic and excited runners blasted off the start line. I thought to myself “okay I’m really doing this”
The journey of running began more than two years ago in the spring of 2013. I was that person who hated running but chose to do it to continue the change-of-lifestyle adventure I had began fall of 2012. To this date, I still didn’t know why I chose running. Maybe it was the easiest thing to do at a relatively inexpensive cost where no gym membership or fancy equipment was required. Maybe it was about conquering what I hate. Either way, I have no regrets even as I have struggled with the idea of walking 13.1 miles today at my last half marathon at Morgan Hill.
Tackling 13.1 miles in any fashion requires effort. The idea of being out there WALKING it has been a tough one for me to swallow. Call it pride. Call it ego. Call it crazy. But at the end, I wanted to finish this chapter of my journey in any fashion I could. I registered for the Morgan Hill Half (MHH) last year as my goal to PR. Unfortunately, I injured my right ankle and knee while training hard. I had to postpone, which to my gratitude, the race organizer allowed it!
Fast forward to 2015, I never really recovered, flopping few races and finally decided that 5-10K was the more reasonable distance for my body. I had completely forgot about MHH until end of August when the e-mail showed up about the race! I thought ‘maybe I could still train?’ Then, I had to deal with allergy that totally overtook my life. I barely had enough energy to stay active, let alone train a half marathon.
I finally decided 1) postponing for another year made no sense 2) getting out there was the ultimate goal. As I cheered for my friends during this year’s SJRnR half marathon in September, it felt nostalgic. So I set the bar really low – ‘go out and just start’ If I had to DNF, so be it. At least I finally could say I made the effort and closing out the half marathon chapter with sincere effort.
I finished. In smiles. The second part was the more glorifying part because the smiles came from meeting two walkers at mile 5. They were angels. As droves of runners passed me, I was left behind as the sole walker. I had to admit that was hard – the feeling of being all alone out there. Having two new friends who shared similar story of injury-turn-walker made me feel totally in good company. We shared stories. We laughed at the ‘mile12’ jokes/conversations. It was totally awesome!
I’m grateful to the two new friends. I’m grateful to close out the half marathon chapter, in smiles. I’m grateful to my friends who have come for support. I’m grateful for the journey thus far. I will continue running in some fashion, perhaps shorter distances, and definitely with trail running.
Now onto recovery…