Today I ran the Flower City Half Marathon in Rochester, NY. Despite doing it on little sleep and probably not enough training, it was by far one of the best racing experiences I’ve had.
As we lined up at the starting line, Sweet Caroline came blasting through the speakers immediately preceding “Runner’s on your mark, set, go!” With the recent tragedy in Boston, the running community has banded together and starting a race with that sentiment was just a hats off to the reasons we run.
We run for camaraderie. We run to push ourselves. We run to be happy, to get out frustration, for health. We run because we are masochistic and actually enjoy the suck that comes with the hill in the Mt. Hope Cemetary and Hylan Park from miles 7-11 (yes, that happened, and yes, they sucked).
Whatever the reasons, runners love to run. And that has never been more apparent to me than in today’s race. There was an enormous amount of support for each other and support from some spectators (including one of the best signs I’ve ever seen, which said “Chafe now, beer later!”
After 7 miles of a strong pace, I hit the hills and started to feel it. But I reminded myself that it was only a feeling.That’s it. It was temporary pain and it would be worth it in the end. At mile 11, I met up with the 2:00 pacer and the group going for it. Through the last two miles she pushed us and encouraged us.
And then in the final half mile, a man on a bike rode by us and exclaimed, “Remember- Running is a celebration of life!” And that was it, our pace group dug deep and found some extra gas in the tank and pushed through the finish. At that moment, I felt an extreme amount of gratitude for the life that I live- even if that life involves killer hills at the half-way mark of a half marathon.
Happy running everyone!