Competitive running is somewhat of an addiction for me. I subscribe to three different running magazines and at least half a dozen running websites. I’m always looking for new races with interesting and unique venues. In addition to being a competitive runner, I’m also a bit obsessive compulsive, but in my world, these two qualities blend together wonderfully. My obsessive compulsive persona keeps a running notebook full, in chronological order, of perspective races, some up to a year away. Before my accident on November 19, 2011 there were at least a dozen races in my purview. Three months in a halo caused me to miss most of those events, though I did still manage the New Year’s Double and the Lockhart Books to Africa 5K. No matter my circumstances, I was absolutely determined not to miss the Baylor Bear Half Marathon, touted as the toughest half in Texas! This race holds special meaning for me as my daughter will attend Baylor in the fall.
My running coach (AKA my husband) grew weary hearing my incessant chatter regarding the BearAThon. With a March 24, 2012 race date, I knew I’d be halo free, but the question remained, would my still recovering body be ready for the grueling 13.1 miles? After I enlisted a great friend (thanks Danielle) to walk with me, my running coach finally acquiesced. So, while still in a neck brace, and without my neurologist’s permission to run yet, I registered. Even in a halo, I walked three miles three times a week, but that is hardly half marathon preparation. Three weeks before the race my neurologist finally released me to run ONE mile a week! One mile a week? Seriously? My pre-accident training base average was 40+ miles a week and she wanted me to run ONE??
With only three weeks of interval training under my belt, I walked the Baylor Half in about 3 hours, 15 minutes, an hour and 7 minutes over my best half marathon running time. We pushed hard the entire 13.1 miles, never relaxing, even on the steep uphill grades. I was determined to run across the finish line. I thought I’d be able to run the entire last mile, but my body had other ideas. When the finish line came into sight, I took off. Running that last quarter mile was amazing. I felt so strong, even kicked in my famous finish line sprint. Hearing the crowds clapping and cheering for me brought a huge smile to my face. The announcer even gave me a nod by calling out my, “Texas flag running shorts”. With a finisher’s medal hanging from my neck and tears stinging my eyes, I’d done it! Completed a half marathon just four short months post-surgery and one month post halo. God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I believe it!