13.1 & All Things Considered

Can I get away with saying that I had fun running 13.1 miles in the Queens half marathon on Saturday?  I didn’t think fun and half marathon could be used in the same sentence but there is something exhilarating about being out with five thousand plus people, all pushing our bodies to the limit.  I love running and even more, I love running with a pack of people around me. Many little debates had gone on in my head before the race…should I listen to music or ditch my awesome ipod Nano and hope for lots of cheering crowds?  Should I carry a small water bottle and gel pack?  Did I have time to pee (or go #1 for those grossed out by my honesty;) even though the lines at the Porta potties stretched on for what seemed like miles? In the end, I ran with dear Nano, ditched the water bottle and gel pack and held the pee (or #1) so I wouldn’t risk missing the start of the race.

As we ran the different twists and turns in and around Corona Park, sight of the world’s fair in a bygone era, I started off conservatively and simply enjoyed the experience.  I saw a man in his 70s or 80s in front of me and vowed I would get in front of him at some point or another.  The superhuman man kept up a fast pace the entire race and though I left him behind at some point or another, I am embarrassed to say it took me longer than I expected.  I can’t say whether that reflects pathetically on me or simply amazingly on him but either way, I want to be in that kind of shape at 80!

We’d hit a water station every two miles or so…all my poor bladder could take was a single sip of Gatorade and a cup of water went over my head or I swished it around in my mouth for a second and then spit it out.  Fortunately, that was all I needed to keep cool and maintain hydration.  If I stopped at the porta potties, I’d lose time and I wanted to finish in under two hours…the clock was ticking.  I didn’t want to mess up my pace!

At around ten miles, I was really struggling to maintain focus.  Fear can easily take over my mind when running.  In fact, I find fear is one of the biggest hurtles I need to cross over when I feel like I simply can not go on or at least fear I can not go on.  On my running mix is a Jeremy Camp song called “Trust In You” and I always find the lyrics challenge my fear and put my focus on God:

“I can’t see you, I know your there, I can feel you, I will not fear, I will trust in you and I will not be afraid!

When the darkness is close at hand and I’m running against the wind, I will trust in you and i will not be afraid!”

I will not be afraid…God is with me!  Such a comfort!  My Nano was such a life saver for me during the race because there were not as many people out cheering as I had expected so having music was an important diversion.  I carefully picked what songs to have on my running mix…each one was motivating in one way or another.  I noticed a lot of runners were plugged in so that made me feel like I was definitely not the only one.
As we were rounding our last turn around the huge metal globe, the fountain water providing a light mist in the heat of the morning, the song “Run” by Collective Soul came on…”have I got a long way to run?”  I could see the finish line and got a last burst of energy.  Best of all, I reached my goal and ran in under two hours, 1:55:46 to be exact. What a thrill…my first half marathon could not have gone more perfectly!  My legs killed but the after pain was worth it!

I’m already thinking about a next race…I’m hooked!

I hate to leave the rest of my precious family out when there were no pictures of Rick and Micah so here are my two men on a recent overnight camping trip…dirty and happy!:)

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13 Responses to 13.1 & All Things Considered

  1. Betty says:

    Congratulations!! You look so young in that picture of you and Ellie, and if you hadn’t told us, I would never had known you had just ran a half marathon! So glad your parents and Andrew could be there with y’all

  2. Susanna says:

    Thanks Betty! Like I told someone else, the first picture was taken BEFORE the race!:) I was definitely feeling a little fresher at that point!

  3. And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…

    That is what I think of. No way I would ever run that far. Good job!

  4. Adrienne says:

    That is so amazing! Wow. Way to go. What an accomplishment!

  5. Tim Challies says:

    Congrats, Susanna. That’s an amazing achievement. I’m proud of you. :)

  6. j challies says:

    who’s that squinting old man in the photo. He’s mulatto from the ankles down


  7. bchallies says:

    You did so well, Hon….Thanks for having us.

  8. Grace says:

    So proud of you. I really want to run a half marathon after baby…I said I was going to do it after Cora and never did…guess I’ll just have to sign up for a race like you did…then I won’t have a choice! You look so good too!

  9. Franci Hoyt says:

    Well done! I knew you could do it! So sorry again that I wasn’t there. Maybe next time? :-)

  10. Susanna says:

    Thanks all! And Franci, don’t worry about not being there! It was crazy early to get up on a Saturday and with the way you’ve been feeling lately, I wouldn’t have dreamed of asking you to get up at 5:30 or 6am and come!!!:)

    But next time is pay back time!;)lol

  11. Megha says:

    Wow, what an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations!

  12. Aileen says:

    I had no doubt you could do it and am still amazed you did do it if that makes any sense. I’d never manage not in a million years.. But the running gene is in the Challies family. Our new cousin runs marathons too, you should hear how he trains! Way to go Susanna, find a race in TO so we can watch you race.

  13. Excellent work Susanna. I love the pictures. My girlfriend Vicky started doing a lot of half marathons after having her son Lincoln and she now does one every few months to keep herself motivated. So plan the next one and keep with it!

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