Three words to sum up this past weekend - Family, Fun, and Rewarding.
I'll start with the Rewarding part first. From my last post I mentioned registering for the IU Mini Marathon at the last minute. Looking at the elevation map of the course, I knew it was going to be a challenge and I actually had doubts soon afterwards. After registering, things started going downhill. I rested on Wednesday and ran 2 miles on the treadmill. Unfortunately I felt very sick stepping off of the treadmill and actually thought I was going to faint. I've never felt that way and I ran at a very slow pace. So I started to worry because I felt terrible and I had a race coming up in two days. I basically went home, ate, then went to bed. I woke up Friday feeling worse with sinus pressure in my head, aching body, and chest congestion. I took another rest day and loaded up on OTC meds. I woke up race day feeling decent. Once I arrived in Bloomington and warmed up, all doubts and feeling sick was gone. I was determined to run the half as best as I could. It was a brisk sunny morning and the atmosphere was what I needed. I became a different person as we began to run. I probably started out too fast with my first mile coming at a 7:20 pace. My pace was all over the place after that thanks to the many hills Bloomington has to offer. I used to go to Bloomington every weekend and did not know most of the hills existed. The elevation map I had reviewed days before did not put in to perspective of what it would be like running those hills. I'm not going to lie, but these hills kicked my butt. I admit, I took many walk breaks and I'm okay with that. I've been doing mostly hill training in the last few weeks and I know that helped with this race. By mile 10 my legs were definitely tired from the rolling hills. I just kept telling myself "you have a 5K left!" It was also nice hearing encouragement from other runners. I stayed with this one guy the last 3 miles, encouraging each other the rest of the way. We made it up the last hill and was a 1/2 from the finish. I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to break 2 hours. I made a turn and saw the glorious finish line. I tried to kick it as hard as I could and crossed the line at 1:54:53!! I totally shattered my previous half by 12 minutes. As I was walking over to the food tent, I kept wondering how I would have done if the course was flatter and I felt 100%. All I know is I gave 110% and that was REWARDING. The 65 miles I ran in March really paid off. I'll have my chance to PR again next month at the 500 Mini (flatter course). Another rewarding experience was going home after the race and rounding up my family to go have fun the rest of the weekend.
It was a nice weekend and I wanted to spend more time outdoors. Driving through Bloomington, I had found a very nice park and wanted Cameron to see it. This kid loves playing at parks. Once I got home and showered, we drove back to Bloomington for family fun. We stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch and then played at the park. As I watched Cameron run around, I was amazed at how free he looked. No worries, no bills to pay, no responsibilities, just free. I remember feeling the same way when I was a kid. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world! Ever since I started running last year, that feeling has come back! I feel FREE! Watching Cameron run around reminded me that we can all feel that way if we want to. If I am having a bad day, all it takes is being around my family to make it better. Running provides that extra kick. It was awesome seeing my Anne and Cameron smiling so much as it has been a rough 5 months.
Sunday was a continuation of family fun as we went to church, met the in-laws at the movie theater to watch HOP, ate at Stir Crazy, played at another park, and had ice cream. We were all pooped at the end of the day. While at Stir Crazy, I cracked open my fortune cookie with this fortune. I am not sure when my moment of glory will occur, but I like to think it is now - being the dad of an awesome boy and husband of a beautiful wife.
I was going to take a running break this week, but I am not sure I want to after a successful half. I will continue to do hill training and incorporating walks since that seems to be helping me quite a bit. I am not really sticking to my training plan, but I am happy with my results so far this year. Next on my plate is the YMCA Spring Running Festival 5K & 10K in Bloomington (4/16). I plan on doing both of the races and hope to at least PR in the 5K. And then my family will be doing the Run for Rylan in Springville (4/30).