After three years of setbacks, bad luck, and injuries/illness, I finally, finally, crossed the finish line after 26.2 miles! And boy, did it feel sweet. And I think it probably felt all the sweeter given the setbacks over the years!
Things really couldn’t have gone any better. Sure, it was a tad hot and humid, but the crowd was enthusiastic, the GU and Gatorade were plentiful, and the course was super flat.
I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd support and music along the way. This was a USATF sanctioned race that forbade any kind of headphones, so I was a tad concerned with getting bored and stuck in my head. But there were a surprising number of bands along the way! My favorite was a jazz band in an old churchyard, playing my absolute favorite holiday song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It was so beautiful it nearly brought tears to my eyes, hearing the saxophones and horns play my favorite Christmas song in a jazzy syncopation.
Everyone was just so friendly — the fellow runners, the policemen, the volunteers. City residents came out to cheer us on and hand out chocolates and orange slices, blaring Christmas music on stereos.
The whole time, especially whenever I felt tired to achy or pessimistic, I kept repeating to myself to enjoy every second of this awesome journey, even the achy, sweaty moments. And I did! It also helped that I finished 20 minutes faster than my goal time! But honestly, what really mattered was persevering, going the distance, and celebrating at the finish line with Dear Boyfriend.
Now, I’m itching to sign up for my next race! 🙂