This morning I ran the Bucks County Half Marathon in 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 43 seconds. It was my first half marathon; actually, it was my first race of any kind. I had been training for it since February, and at that point, I really didn't think I'd be able to do better than 2 and a half hours, if I would finish at all. I was running very slowly, and I had never run more than 7 miles. But I was able to do so well today because I am lucky to have some great people in my life.
My friend Liz, whom I went to college with, was the one who suggested doing a race. She ran her first half marathon last year, in Brooklyn, and her second earlier this year, in Los Angeles. When I told her I had been trying to get into running since last summer, she said we should do a race together at some point this year. The Bucks County race is about halfway between where we both live (she in Brooklyn, I in Reading), and the course looked beautiful (Tyler State Park--quite lovely).
My friends Tim and Michael, who have been running for years and years, gave me all sorts of advice over the past months about what gear to wear, how to avoid injury, how to build my endurance, and how to improve my pace. Tim's tip about some fancy socks (Feetures!) proved particularly useful, as I had been getting some annoying blisters on my toes. (Stealthily, Tim also snuck onto the course around mile 9 and ran the last 4 miles with me--he was great company.)
Here's a picture Tim took of me at some point during those final 4 miles:
(Please forgive my bad form, goofy headband, and mittens. I hope I wasn't landing heel first too often!)
Finally, Yuriko, the love of my life, sat around in the cold waiting for me to loop back around, just to cheer me on and congratulate me. She also got up at 6am on a Sunday for this. I can't imagine a less exciting sport to be a spectator of (oh wait: golf), so I deeply appreciate her love and support.
With such wonderful people in my life, running 13.1 miles feels just like a walk in the park.