It is midnight as I type this, and I am somewhere between cannot sleep and do not want to sleep.
I ran 13.1 miles this weekend at the Rock N Roll Oasis Half Marathon in Vancouver, B.C., and I feel like that deserves some written words, some thoughtful reflection. So here’s this;
By three miles in I was tired.
By five miles in, I wanted to quit. Somewhere around eleven miles in, I actually looked at google maps to see if I was close enough to my airbnb reservation to just give up and return.
I did not. I kept going. I kept going because I was taught to not give up. Because I did not want to be a quitter. Because a beer and three medals were waiting for me at the finish line. It is hard though, because I was taught to compete, to always bring my A-game. And I do not really feel like I did on Sunday.
The course was beautiful. Vancouver in the fall is near perfect. The trees have a lovely quantity of color, the weather is crisp but a bit warm, the views are wonderful. The evergreens are ever green. The route went through the heart of the city, out of the city, on highways (always my favorite) and along the beach, through the forest and ended at a park. It felt so natural and authentic.
Despite all that, this one was hard. The last few halves had challenges. The marathon, two weeks ago, had moments I lost hope (then regained it because of a sign or a text or a tree or a nearby runner). But this was actively challenging. And honestly, it was probably partly physical exhaustion from not fully recovering, and partly prideful over-confidence.
I did not prepare as well as I could have the day before by relaxing and drinking lots of water and eating well – instead I went out and explored Vancouver a bit and ate ramen and schwarma and mostly did not have any water. My morning-of breakfast was a green smoothie and a banana. Not optimal.
But I did it. I got out there, and I ran. And it was not a Personal Record. It was not the best time I have ever completed a half marathon in. It is so easy to be hard on myself, to self-criticize and bemoan that this is slower than pretty much every half marathon I have done this year. It is so easy to think that I have done three halves and a full in the last six months, so I should be able to do this well. So I have to remind myself that I am human. That it is two weeks after I ran 26 miles and I should be graceful with myself. And almost everyone out there would not know the difference if I spoke my time out loud, heck, most people would be grateful for it.
A 2:03:09 time is pretty great. Why can I not accept that?
Afternote: after the race, I met a young woman in the beer garden who was really nice and we had a great chat about running and work and being from places you do not want to return after finishing school. I left because she found her people and I had to go wash off and pack up to catch my airplane. I never caught her name, and I am pretty bummed that I did not stay longer and chat.