As I crossed the Colorado Avenue bridge to get to America The Beautiful Park, I met a gal named Christina who was also running her first half marathon. Her fiance was running the Marathon and she decided to run the half to be supportive. We shared our anxious, butterfly in the tummy feelings as we crossed the bridge together. Having someone to talk to in those moments before the race helped ease the anxiety.
6:30am - The gun shot. 501 crazy humans began their 13.1 mile trek. About a mile after the gunshot there was a group of people clapping and yelling encouraging words to the runners. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself since this was only mile 1 leaving 12.1 more miles in front of us, it seemed a little soon to be telling us good job... Around mile 3 I encountered my second race "friend." As I passed this guy yelled, "I F@%$-ing love Colorado, I F-ing love this state!..." along with more expressions of endearment for how wonderful Colorado is. I kind of smiled to myself thinking yes, Colorado is beautiful I'm glad I live here but didn't really acknowledge him other than that. Then, as I fell back in line in front of them he yelled, "this is the best place ever, except maybe Portland, Oregon. I f-ing love Portland, Oregon..." This was too good to pass up. While running I turned to him, did a fist pump, and agreed "YES! I love Portland! I am from Portland! It is a fantastic city!!!" And with that, we had bonded.
During this run, this looong run, I didn't have my headphones...I know...big mistake. The organizers had discouraged them and I decided to comply. Bad idea. Music provides a boost in energy when your legs want to quit. A song can kick me into gear, pushing me faster and farther. Music would have been especially helpful after mile 7 when my muscles felt tight and the idea of running another 6 miles seemed unbearable. Finally, I re-entered the America the Beautiful Park! Thank God! Michael was at the finish line taking photos, and I almost started crying! I made it! I finished a half marathon! I RAN 13.1 MILES!!!
Christina finished a few minutes behind me and was in disbelief that she made it! She was also extremely happy to be done and could now cross this off her bucket list. Colorado Lover saw me and called out "Hey Portland, good job!" we high-fived and congratulated each other. Meeting a few people while on the trail made not listening to music worth it. To finish off my amazing morning, as we were walking up to my car this gal saw my Oregon sticker in my back window and asked, "who's car is this!?" Finally, after 3 years of having this sticker in my window someone had noticed and remarked on it! "It's my car!!!" She was from Oregon City, Oregon. Yep, we bonded briefly. It was satisfying.
I am proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to my next Half Marathon on December 1st!