Rewind time to October 2017. I just finished the Loony Challenge and completed the 10 mile portion of the race when I uttered the words “This is my last race ever”. It wasn’t 2 hours later and my evil and awesome friends had different plans for me. The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth was having an open registration for the first time ever! Which meant no random lottery to select participants. This race has historically been one of the hardest races I have tried to get into. I have been rejected several times because my name was never randomly drawn. As appealing as it was to jump on board, I still was not sold. Meanwhile, my friends were all ready to hit the confirm payment button and they were
bullying urging me to sign up with them.
I knew I would not have ample time to train. Committing to extra scheduling during hockey season is just plain stupid. Plus I really hate running on the snow and ice. I also knew that this race would fill up in a matter of minutes so I had to make a quick decision. Knowing myself, I would feel really bad if my friends were all doing the race and I wasn’t. So I caved to my bully friends and signed up.
Eight months later, I found myself toeing the line of the half marathon start. I felt sick for what was about to happen. I quite literally had to find my running shoes that had not been worn since October and I had to buy a new charger for my Garmin that was stashed in a drawer. In other words, I did not run one single mile to prepare for this race. It was going to be PAINFUL. The gun went off and I started to move.
Miles 1-8: I actually felt okay. I ran the first half mile then when 2 minutes of running and one minute of walking…unless there was an uphill (there were a few) or if there was a water stop (lots of them too). I even ran into a few people I knew on the course after my friends left me in the dust.
Miles 9-11: My back and my legs started cramping. My foot starting feeling pain and I cursed the fact I was wearing 3 year old shoes that died a long time ago. I cursed myself for signing up. I cursed myself for not training. I really was praying for the race to be over. I knew quitting wasn’t an option because I would never live it down from my husband. I didn’t want to hear the words “I told you so” come out of his smug mouth.
Miles 12-13: I was too far in to drop out even though I was completely over the run. The route that I knew from past experience was redirected into the bowels of Duluth. It was a steep downhill on concrete with a steep uphill to get out of it. My finish line song came on prematurely and I chose to keep hitting the back button so I would have it handy when I crossed that finish line. In case you are wondering, my finish line song is American Bad Ass by Kid Rock.
Final .1 Mile: I truly gave it all I had. I had nothing more and crossed the finish line on jelly legs, sore foot/ankle, and every muscle in my body screaming and seizing up on me. I finished the race to the lyrics of American Badass “I know it stinks in here, because I’m the shit”. I could not agree more! The moment I stepped on the final timing sensor, I saw a text come through on my watch from my husband congratulating me.
Final time: 3:01:45. Not my worst and it was far from my best.
What did I learn from this experience:
- You CAN run a half marathon with zero training.
- I do NOT recommend running a half marathon with zero training. Respect the distance, respect your body.
- Marathon photographers really get flattering photos. These photos are both horrifying and hilarious.
I would like to say this is my last race but it was so much miserable fun that I know I will do it again. I will leave with my famous last words…