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Six things I learned from my sixth half marathon

Posted Feb 06 2013 6:00am
Apparently, I'm a slow learner.  It took me until my sixth half marathon (the Clearwater Halfathon ... otherwise known as the race with the big, scary bridges) to finally learn something. Well, six somethings.

1. Don't let your fears hold you back. I was scared (extremely scared) of the big bridges in this race. I panicked . I wondered if I should do the race. Was I ready to run these bridges? I didn't think so. I can't lie: I thought about not doing it. I wanted to wimp out. Thankfully, I didn't. And, guess what? I ran those bridges (slowly) and loved them. I felt so accomplished and proud when I was done, too. Totally worth it.  

2. Trust your training. I was nervous that I didn't get enough running in between Christmas and the new year. I missed some runs here and there, including a few long runs. I assumed that I wouldn't be able to handle this race. You know what? All of the hard work I've been putting in since August didn't just disappear. I still had that base, and I could still run a half marathon. 

Four months of sweaty work (apparently, sticking
my tongue out is my thing?)

3. Run your own race.
Yes, I've heard this many times before. I never get caught up in the initial start. I always start at the back, and I start slow. No big deal. But, in this race, I encountered a bridge before mile 1. So many people were walking already. I wondered if I should walk, too. If I ran, I thought I might be sorry later on. But, I felt awesome, and I wanted to run that bridge, so I did. And, the next one. And, on the way back, too. Why? Because it was my race, and I knew I could do it. 

4. Don't give up. I did not feel great during this race. I wanted to turn around at the 5K turnaround and at the 5-mile turnaround. It was just not my race, I thought at the time. Thankfully, I stuck it out, and it became one of my best races ever.

5. Enjoy your surroundings. It's easy to get "in the zone" or so focused that you really don't notice anything around you. But, if you look around, you're likely to see something beautiful, funny or awesome. I enjoyed the views in this race more than any race before, and instead of dreading the bridges, I just enjoyed the views from the top.

6. Think of those who can't run.
This race was special to me because I was running mile 11 in honor of my friend, Linda . She's been couch-bound for a good deal of her pregnancy, and she was itching to run. Mile 11 was her mile, and I thought about her each step. I enjoyed each step. I appreciated what I was doing even more because I was thinking of someone who couldn't do it. 

What have you learned from running?
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