What a Feeling!

Training for the Long Island Half Marathon ended up being a good experience for me after I got through the first couple of weeks. I felt healthy, I was injury free and I was starting to really enjoy the training and especially the long runs. My BFF running buddy Brigid and I were pushing each other and we had a great thing going. We worked around each other’s schedules to run, we bonded and we supported each other through the ups and downs. For our 10 mile run we decided that I needed to conquer the course that I had my terrible 5 miler . And this is where I believe things took a turn for the worse. There were some shin splint issues that had been bothering Brigid but for the first time during our training she really felt uncomfortable and struggled during the run. Something in her knee was bothering her so it slowed her down a bit. I tried to stay with her as best I could without completely stopping and we finished the 10 miles. So with only three weeks to go before our scheduled half she got through some shorter runs, our 11 miler and the taper week. There wasn’t much complaining on her part about it but at that point it probably wasn’t much of an issue. But come race day, it had a huge impact on our run. We were both super excited but also nervous at the same time like any first time half marathoner would be. You only hope that all of your hard work will pay off and that you’ll make it through the run. There was a great energy at the start line and after the fireworks went off indicating the race had started, we were off. It took a little while to get out of the mosh pit of runners at the start but once the streets opened up we fell into a nice pace and easily navigated around people. The weather was not perfect and it had worried us a little leading up to the day but it was something out of our control that we tried not to stress. It was a great temperature to start off and we had an awesome first 6 miles keeping a pace of about 9:30. Adrenaline was definitely a factor in us maintaining such a good pace for that long. 6 miles was about the area that our cheering squad had set up and when it started to rain but seeing our girls holding up signs, cheering our names and shouting words of encouragement gave us a boost that we really needed. We continued on but over the next few miles things went rapidly downhill. Brigid’s knee that had been nagging her really started to rear it’s ugly head and it became more painful the further we got into the run. She pushed through and when the look of defeat would come over her face I just tried to say whatever I could to keep her going. It was about mile 10 that it just started to become too much for her. But we were both determined to get her to the finish line. She kept insisting that I keep going but I had made a promise that I was not going back on. I slowed my pace a bit so that when she needed to take walking breaks I didn’t get too far ahead of her. When she would start up to a run again I would circle back and join her until she felt that she needed to walk again. I’m not even sure I would have called it a walk at that point because she could barely bend her leg so it was more of a hobble. But we were so close and myself, her husband and the rest of our family that came to cheer would not let her quit. Probably stupid on all of our parts! Pride is an unbelievable driving force when you want it to be. So we finished the race, crossing the finish line hand in hand at about 2 hours 30 minutes. We had no goal time for this race because it was our first. The goal was just to finish and that we did. And what a feeling it was!! So after a brief celebration at the finish line, I went home to lay in bed and Brigid went to the emergency room. We have not been able to run together since because of the injury she sustained and that has had a big impact on my training. It’s amazing how much easier you are willing to give in during a tough run when you’re by yourself. I look forward to the day when she says ok I’m ready to train again but until then check out my training page to see what it has been like this time around and look for a recap of my October 30 Suffolk County Half Marathon.

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