Onward Shay Half Marathon Recap

Holy guacamole, what a race.

When I signed up for this race, I decided I wanted to try to go sub 2:00. I signed up in that delirious period after San Francisco, where I was so desperate for that feeling again but knew I could not run another marathon. I was so excited.

And then law school happened. Law school has been happening in tandem with these 10 weeks of training and my focus was not on training. I did all my runs, did my speed workouts, but I was plagued by weird pain in my shins and calves. I struggled for motivation. Law school consumed my time and my energy. So I amended my goal: I wanted to run faster than 2:06, which was how fast I ran the second half of San Francisco Marathon.

Matt dropped me off at about 8:30- the race started at 9:00. I hung out with my mom and two of her teacher friends who were also running. (My mom was running the 10K.)

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This is only the second year this race has been run. We didn’t have waves or corrals. We all lined up with the announcer told us to and a few minutes after 9:00, we were off! The theme of this race is Wizard of Oz, so we got high-fives from the Cowardly Lion on our way out. I was worried that it would be really crowded for the first mile and it was but not nearly as much as San Francisco.

The first mile took us across downtown Boise to Harrison Boulevard. It’s the main street that cuts through the oldest neighborhood in Boise and it has some of the most beautiful old houses and is lined with massive trees, which are currently every color of autumn. It was breath-taking. Then we ran back toward the river along another old street. I was consciously trying not to push myself the first three miles because I knew I needed to warm up. I covered my Garmin with my sleeve so I couldn’t see my pace or distance. My stomach was feeling funny so I got some water around mile 3 but it never really settled down all the way.

We ran back and turned on to the Greenbelt. My stomach started to feel a little better and I started to push my pace. The famous cottonwood trees have been losing their leaves for weeks so I definitely had to pay attention to the pavement. I got a cramp in my left glute which hurt but went away.

Right around mile 6, we ran past the park where my apartment complex is and I saw Matt. I told him when he dropped me off that if I stopped to talk to him, it wasn’t going well. I didn’t stop and even put on a burst of speed when he tried to race me.

The Greenbelt was damaged during the almost-flood last spring so we turned onto a rocky, dirty path. I ate a Gatorade chew but stopped at one in case my stomach didn’t like it. This was my least favorite part of the race because I was worried I was going to roll my ankle but it was still really pretty. It was an out-and-back section and on the way back, when I passed the 7 mile marker and I checked my watch for the first time. 1:01. That was the first time I realized how fast I’d been going and that I could easily run another 6 miles in 57 minutes.

I got more water and we crossed the river to run on the other side of the Greenbelt. Miles 8-10 dragged. My stomach settled down though and I felt okay to push my speed some more. I kept my watch covered. But between mile 9 and mile 10, I swear it felt like three miles by itself. After I turned around, someone told me I had 3.5 miles left and my watch said 1:26. Still doable. But when I passed the mile 10 marker, my watch said 10.6. I didn’t think I could run 13.6 miles in under two hours. I had to do some serious talking to myself about running a race with effort I could be proud of.

Those last miles were pretty empty. Until about mile 10, I’d had plenty of people ahead of me but after mile 11, there were only two women ahead of me. Then only one. Then I passed her too. I had resorted to listing the parts of my body that didn’t hurt (my left hip flexor was very unhappy so I was trying to distract myself) and then trying to review the elements of adverse possession in my head. It was a hard mile. I don’t know what my pace was but I had to give myself permission to slow down. My hip was hurting and, when I passed mile 12 and had fifteen minutes to finish, so I knew I could.

But then we crossed the river again and I knew exactly how close I was. I pushed myself again. My mom was waiting at the place we turned off of the Greenbelt back to the finish line and she knew I was going to run sub-2:00 and she was so excited for me. The finish was the same as the start and the announcer called our names as we finished and suddenly, my hip didn’t hurt and my stomach didn’t feel off and I didn’t care that my legs felt like jello twigs because I had run 13.1 miles in 1:53:48.

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I’m so proud of myself for trying even though I didn’t think I could do it. This PR was exactly what I needed with all the stress of law school and never feeling like I’ve got it down. I did this when I didn’t think I could.

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Thanks for hanging out with me, beautiful humans.

Elizabeth

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