Just registered for the Baylor Bearathon this week, and no, I don’t mean the 5K! That’s right, in less than a month, I plan to complete my third half-marathon. I was able to run 7 miles this morning, unfortunately, not as smoothly as I would have liked to. Two halfs later, I don’t feel like I’m running distance unless I’m getting double-digit mileage. Crazy, I know.
My first half-marathon was the Bearathon last spring. I finished the race in a bit of pain, but I felt so accomplished. Then I went with blistered feet to work a baseball game as a Diamond Girl in the Texas heat. Before my first half, I never understood the phrase “addicted to the pain” like I heard people say about getting tattoos (don’t worry, not my style) or other things. I crossed the finish line, in just over two hours, and almost instantly thought about running another half.
I happened to come across running in middle school. I was playing basketball at the time when a random coach commented on my natural running form and told me I should consider running competitively (such an ego booster!). So naturally, I couldn’t say no to joining the track team that spring. Reminiscing, I like to gloat about my value to the team in my variety of events – 1600 meter run (1 mile), 4×100 meter relay and triple jump. When I do decide to talk about it, it’s only because it means nothing now, just funny how that combination even worked out. For some reason I was always drawn to long distance running. Like they say, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” Personally, I’m about long-term goals and progress then short-term results. Then in high school, I ran cross country and track – good times.
I followed through with my goal to keep running half-marathons. My roommates plus Margaret and Haley all ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in San Antonio in November. It was Kylie, Margaret and Haley’s first half, but Abby and I ran the Bearathon together the semester before. Running together seems like the ultimate bonding experience with so much time to talk. In fact, that’s how Haley and I became friends in the first place. On the first day of practice, summer two-a-days I remember well, we were given two options, a shorter or a longer route. I was the slower runner in the fast group. I wanted to go a longer run, but I didn’t want to run alone. That’s when Haley showed up, thinking the same thing, such a God-send. When you run over an hour together everyday, you have plenty of time to get to know another. Needless to say, we’re still best friends today. I had so much fun spending the weekend in my hometown with some of my very best friends! Did I mention I earned my personal best time, 2 hours, 5 minutes? It was a really hard run on my shins and knees especially since it was all on pavement. It was also the ugliest run I’ve ever been on – renovated buildings, incomplete construction and back-roads with virtually no music at the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL race. I’m sorry to put you down, San Antonio, but that race did my hometown ZERO justice. If I do another race besides the Bearathon, I will make a vacation out of a pretty destination and provide my own music, thank you.
After all of that, I’m registered and training for my third half, back where it all began. The Bearathon is my favorite race so far because I love the campus participation and the beautiful route along the Brazos River and Cameron Park. Many Baylor organizations line the route to cheer and provide hydration and carbs. Back at the San Antonio race, a group sponsored a carb-loading station with beer. Beer is the last thing I’d like to drink while running. Of course a beer stand won’t be anywhere near the Baylor-sponsored race. The difficulty of the Bearathon hasn’t entirely escaped my mind though. Cameron Park hills are no friend of mine. Check out this elevation (and by elevation, I mean incline of hills):
They don’t call it the “toughest half in Texas” for no reason! I suppose I’m up for the challenge.
Ultimate goals? Well a sprint-triathlon is next on my list! I’ve got the running down, I’m enrolled in a biking class and I’d like to pick up swimming soon. I have swam nearly a mile along the Frio River a few mornings at camp. A road bike is among next investments on my list. I am also determined to run a full marathon in my lifetime. Obviously my time and ability are ticking! First, I ‘ll need a running companion for motivation. I had a friend who ran her first marathon with the support of dad, running miles 15-20 with her, and her boyfriend, running 20-26.4 beside her. Any takers to help this girl out?
Happy training to my fellow Bears. I’ll see you at start on March 24, and I’ll be sure to bring my a-game – going for personal record under two hours this time!