On Sunday, I participated in and completed my first half marathon, the Rock and Rock Half Marathon in Chicago! I ran on behalf of PAWS Chicago and raised $670 towards their efforts to make Chicago a no kill city. They are a great organization and I just wish I could take all the dogs’ home with me whenever I visit there.

I’ve always loved running, but I honestly never thought I could complete a half and now that I have I think I am officially addicted to races and am seriously considering running a full. It was an amazing physical accomplishment, two days later and I’m still feeling strong, like an ancient warrior or something. My goal was to run the entire distance and I did, I finished in 2h15, 5 min slower than my goal time, but 5 min faster than I thought I would actually finish in! The race itself is almost a blur now in my memory; I remember the cheering and trying to take in my surroundings. My playlist was perfect, Mr. Blue Sky was number 3 on the list and got me into a great rhythm, beyond the fact that it started just as I was emerging from beneath an underpass and just as I heard the lyric, “The sun is shining in the sky…” the sun literally flared in my vision! My favorite sign on the track was, “You are all really good at exercise.” Eye of the Tiger came on just when I needed a boost the most, the surroundings were parking lots and vacant lots, a dreary long stretch, people were starting to slow or walk which made me want to as well. And that I think is my true achievement of the day, I was able to run the distance because I trained for it, but I was able to keep going because I kept strong mentally. Anytime I was feeling tired or wanted to walk I pushed myself forward, I think most of the race is a blur because I was really in my head, telling myself to stay comfortable, pace yourself, if you walk now it’s an hour left versus thirty minutes and how long do you really want to be out here. I’d tell myself “If you make it to mile ten, you can walk 1 min” But I’d get there and say “Well, now it’s just three miles left, you can run that” It was quite the dialogue I had going with myself. It felt good to push myself to do exactly what I knew I was capable of, it felt hard, but it felt doable. It felt so good to race down the final chute, concentrating on passing people one by one and then throwing my hands up to cross the finish line at 13.1 miles!

It felt great, but sad too – I signed up for this race almost six months ago and have had an incredible amount of support from friends and family along the way. I’ve been training since May and because of my training schedule I did runs in Seattle, Alaska, Canada, Texas and Virginia and saw each place from an entirely different prospective – as a runner.

Next up – a 12K Trail run in Palatine, IL Sat Aug 7th – and yes, I am crazy!  But I’m loving the bling, the t-shirts and the glory that come with racing!

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