In the words of William Shakespeare, "it was the best of times, the worst of times" Sunday morning for the Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon. When we woke up in the wee hours before the sun, it was sprinkling. Maybe not a good sign for the running enthusiasts who hoped to take their jogging stroller and Meilani in tow. But we perservered. When we arrived at the race start, we discovered that *no one* else had strollers and we were making an "illegal" choice. But we didn't have any grandparents available at this point so we had to go for it.
Luckily, they had "chip timing," which means each runner gets a little chip or ankle band and when you cross the start your personal timer begins. That way everyone's timing is more accurate. We were surprised that there were so many people in this race - 1,500 isn't bad for Fresno. In fact, at the beginning I was having visions of the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon when there were so many people there wasn't room to run. We had to weave in and out. I was very nervous about the stroller thing so the first mile was kind of hard.
With the help of my trainer, Ericlee, and my main cheerleader, Meilani, I was able to make the 13.1 miles. Ericlee encouraged me every step of the way and I *literally* could not have done it without him. Distance running is such a mental game for me. I'm a sprinter. You don't have to push me to sprint, but running after you've already done 5 or 8 or 10 miles can sometimes be tough. Not to mention the aches and pains. I guess it's good coaching practice for Ericlee and there are always "life lessons" for me in the whole running experience so I keep at it.
The happy news is I beat my half marathon record from 2004 in Visalia. In fact, I got 2 hours and 1 minute this time so I beat my record by 8 minutes. I was hoping to beat 2 hours but I think this was a great ending - considering I've had a baby since 2004. I think the bathroom break and the flat tire on the stroller at mile 12 deterred us a bit.
My dad greeted us at the finish line. It was funny because Ericlee was hefting the stroller with the flat tire for the last miles so he told me to sprint ahead to the finish. (He knows I live for this final sprint so he sacrificed.) Dad was looking out for the stroller though and totally missed me going by him. Oh well, I did get my hug at the end. My dad was my original running partner when I was a kid. We would always do the Ridge Run together in Chicago. Overall, "it was the best of times."