Saturday, March 20, 2010

After All That: Final moments in a half marathon

She’s right there.

That red shirt—I know I saw it earlier. She ran past me, maybe in the first few miles. I think I thought she was with a team. Her shirt is tight, and she has that snug little ponytail.

I don’t know why I thought that. All those other girls passed me in mile one, and I just thought, “Catch you at the end, b@#*%!” I saw a few after that. My favorite was that tall girl with her brother. I remember standing next to them at the race start, and then they blew past me so early in the race. I knew I’d catch her!

I have to catch this girl. I’ve been pacing against all these men forever. Ever since I passed that last midget lady with her neon hat. The men are no motivation at all; my time doesn’t show up with theirs. I've been looking for another woman this whole last half-mile stretch.

I have to catch her.

No point in checking my watch; that’ll just waste time. I must be running at least a sub-7:30 pace right now. I can push this. Not much farther.

Come on legs. I didn’t come all the way to DC to trot across the finish line. If this were Boston, we'd be running uphill. Let’s go.

There’s the bend. The finish line is always after a bend. Why must race people set it up this way? I want to see how far I have left to sprint, d@%$ it!

Doesn’t matter. My sprint is over when I catch this girl. I just have to do it before the finish.

Go, legs. Now. It’s just a little pain; nothing worse than speed work. It’ll be over soon. You didn’t go through two months of physical therapy and pay more money to run half the length of the race you wanted to be running, change your bus ticket, and then almost suffer a nervous breakdown last night trying to get your bib in order to lose to this girl. She’s right in front of you. Catch her.

Last stretch: maybe 300 meters. It’s now or never. So what if she’s sprinting, too? You’ve already gained on her. Don’t give up. So what if it hurts? It’s almost over.

The finish line is so close. You just have to get beside her to cross in front. An inch will do. Harder! Push!

NOTE: I didn’t “win.” On the upside, I bested my last half-marathon time by about 3 minutes. (I ran the Queens Half-Marathon last summer in 1:38:59 (7:33/mile pace.)

Results for this race:

Race LengthFinishing Time 10k Split Average PaceOverall Place Gender Place (All Women) Age Group Place (F18-24)
13.1 miles1:35:18 45:05 7:17/mile 408/624968/3402 16/571


Anonymous said...


joely said...

I love it. Those have been my thoughts so many times. Nice writing and awesome run.