Life is a Journey…

… hang on and enjoy the ride!

Yesterday was the big day.  My first Half Marathon since 2011. The Journey’s Marathon in Eagle River. The was a variety of emotions through out the day, but everything could not have been more perfect!

Ok, maybe the fact that is was snowing when I woke up in the morning could have been omitted.  The thought that I might be running 13.1 miles in snow is not something that I would want to do – not even thought that might have been a reality.  Granted, I know this is the northwoods but snow in May?  Please, no!

By the time we left from my uncles house in Rhinelander to drive to Eagle River to meet Elizabeth and Matt, it did stop snowing… but it was still only 36 degrees outside.  I did have to make some last minute changes to  what I was wearing for the run, just thankfully that I brought a variety of running clothes.  Granted I might not have looked like the most fashionable person out on the race route, but I was warm!

John dropped us off at the high school so that we could catch the bus to the starting line – 10 miles outside of town!  Yes, we took a bus to the middle of nowhere and in the middle of the woods to start our adventure.  We knew that we were not going to be running together this morning, but being able to start together was just the motivation that Elizabeth and I needed to start the next chapter in our future running adventures.  The weather still was chilly, but there was no snow and the sun was starting to peak out from behind the clouds.  Armed with my music and my Runtastic App on my phone, I was ready to go!

The first few miles went by faster that I thought.  It felt great , running out there quiet cover of the trees.  Before I knew it, was was passing mile 5!  Getting mile by mile updates from my app was some of the best motivation I could ask for!  Just being able to know, as regular intervals, exactly where I stand in trying to achieve my goals was awesome!  One of the other things that I really enjoy about this app is that my friends are able to track my progress.  This came in handy today as John and Matt were hanging out in the hotel with Martin.  They were able to follow my progress and know when to leave the hotel to head back to the park (the finish line).    The other thing about this app that I really enjoy is that anyone who is tracking my progress can also send selected words of encouragement, cheering and clapping to keep me motivated.  Granted I can hear what they sent, but I don’t know who is sending them!  Come to find out, many of the motivations that I heard throughout the morning were from my running buddy Matt, who was in Green Bay, tracking my progress himself!  How cool is that!

By the time I hit mile 9, I was still feeling good and was right on pace with where I wanted to be.  I did however realize that my phone battery was not on my side… I was not going to have enough battery life left to finish the run with both my music and my Runtastic App.  I needed to turn one off, but which one??  My music to keep me on pace, or my App to keep track of my progress?  I would later realize that the reason my battery was running low faster was that my Bluetooth had been turned on.  If it was not for the Bluetooth being on, I would have been able to keep both on to the end.  I had a few miles to decide…

Mile 11 was the deciding factor on technology.  10% battery left and 2 miles to go.  I decided that I would rather have my tunes to keep me going. I can get my final time from the race results.  I realize throughout the morning that my music was really a key factor in keeping my going!  My playlist that I threw together from the vast collection we have at home was very eclectic and also very old-school.  The entire collection was straight from the 80’s and 90’s.  Each time a song came on, a different memory came to mind and it was some of these memories that kept me moving!  I was taken back to cruising around Marquette in our early college days with Sonia and Julie,  having lunch with my good friend Patrick in Grand Rapids in the years right after I graduation from Grand Valley and a variety of other adventures in between!  Each of these people that was part of my life during those adventures helped to carry my through the rest of the run.

1 Mile left and I was feeling good!  My final motivation to keep moving?  The last mile of the course went right past the Eagle River Airport which meant that we were no longer in the cover of the trees and had nothing to block the wind!  If a cold wind won’t motivate you to keep moving, I am not sure anything can!  I could tell that my pace had slowed but I was still feeling good and knew I could finish strong.

Finally, the finish line was in front of me!  I could hear the announcer and feel the adrenaline rush kick in to help me finish strong.

Results?  Finish time – 2:41:22!!  A new PR, it felt great!  I also felt great – in fact I felt better than I did when I finished any of the previous half marathons that I completed!  I can tell that the strength training that has been part of my routine in the last 6 months has been  a key to my success!  My personal trainer is the one that I give huge thanks to for that!  I don’t think I could have done this without him and his continued encouragement.

In the afternoon, after giving my body time to relax and recover, the soreness in the muscles set in, which I knew was coming.  What I was not anticipating was the sore right knee.  Hoping that it was just from the stress of the morning, I spent afternoon relaxing with a bag of ice as my friend.  Thankfully this seemed to do the trick!  my the next morning the pain was gone and, aside from some lingering sore muscles, I was ready to go!

Next adventure?  We will just have to wait and see where the road takes us!

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