I’ve been thinking about how to write this for two weeks. This race meant a lot of different things. But first off, it was a super fun weekend away with friends and family.
We took Friday off so we wouldn’t be rushed and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in Door County that included packet pickup, a little meandering, sunshine and beer.
Race morning in Door County is always weird because it is a late start. I was up early because I always am so had some breakfast, braided my hair, got dressed and then still had lots of time to wait. Once we got to the park we had time to overthink our layers and ditch them as needed. Spoiler: any layers were too many. Mo and I had an earlier start since we were running the half marathon so we left the others and walked to our start line. I lined myself up further back than I wanted, but at what was a reasonable spot for what I could accomplish that day. I set out with my run 9/walk 1 plan and my Garmin beeped at me 9 minutes in so I walked. I felt a little stupid walking that early and when I felt that good, but that was my plan and that was how I trained so I did it. I felt great the first 4-5 miles. By mile 6 I started questioning why on earth I was even running the event. It was getting warm and my body wasn’t happy. Miles 6-7 were miserable. I questioned everything. I didn’t want to do it. I told myself I couldn’t. I was at a very bad place mentally but made myself keep moving forward. I By the time I made it to 8 miles I was feeling better, but I was walking more and I wasn’t mentally okay with that, but I had no choice. Once I made it to mile 10 I knew I could finish, but I also knew I hadn’t run further than that since July of 2016. I just kept running and pushing myself. I had to stop looking t my watch because it was even slower than I had anticipated. I paid just enough attention to be able to spring the last quarter mile or so to the finish. I knew all my friends and a camera were there. Turns out I still have my strong finishing speed somewhere in me and I crossed the finish line fast, strong and with a huge smile. The first thing I saw was my oncologist, with my medal. I knew he was going to be there, but had no idea he was going to hand me my medal. That was unbelievably special.
I don’t know if I fully grasped what I was accomplishing that day. I really just wanted to run a half marathon again. I wanted to have a normal weekend in Door County with my friends. This was the third year we went up and it’s a great little tradition we have started. The video that was put together about me sums it up pretty well. If you haven’t already watched it somewhere else I shared it, take a watch here: My Story They did a wonderful job with it.
While I know I shouldn’t be thinking about my time, but now all I want to do is get back to my sub 2 hour half marathons. I know I can do that. I know I will get there. Now that I have proven to myself I am me again. Running was the last piece of that. I keep thinking I’ll leave all of this behind, but it’s not something that will ever go away. It happened. I went through it. I survived it. But it’s always there. I still stand by my bracelet Cancer is life-altering, but not defining. I just never thought it would still be such a big piece of my life at this point.
To end on a positive note, I think I picked my next half marathon!