I realized after my third half marathon that my concept of the 13.1 mile distance is seriously warped. I’ve run four half marathons now, and the only time I actually thought of it as a hard distance to train and strive toward was my very first one. Considering I was new to racing in general, that was a big step. The following three races were just “easy long slow training runs” for upcoming marathons. I wasn’t really training for them, as much as they were a routine process. I never really thought of the huge accomplishment it is to finish one in and of itself. The Chicago Half Marathon today helped that a little. Not the PR I was dreaming of, but I was also realistic in knowing that would not happen with my lack of summer training. And I think I needed to finally NOT PR in a race to make me realize how big a deal each and every race is. I gave it my all, I had fun, and I got to spend an early Sunday morning doing what I love.
I spent half the race whining in my head about how horrible Chicago racing is compared to Austin. Runners here have no etiquette, and the city seems to think that a humid, yet overcast and breezy 70 degree morning merits water misters on the race course. Getting soaked when I was already cold was not pleasant. I finally had to mentally pep talk myself into a positive mindset. My legs were strong, I was hitting 10:30 or better splits, and I was racing in my favorite city along the lake. A Sunday morning cannot get any better than that for me. I am glad that I was finally able to see the reality of the accomplishment of the half marathon and appreciate the race for what it was. Any day that I get to rejoice and be thankful for the strength and opportunities I have been given is a beautiful blessing.