City of Oaks & Remembering Why I Love to Run

A week ago I finished my final race of the year, the City of Oaks Half Marathon in Raleigh. It was cold with a miserable wind chill, but well worth it. Just check out this major bling we got after the race:

City of Oaks Medal

I went into this race a little uneasy. Since I'd moved, I had to find a new running group to keep me motivated on those long runs all season. I ended up joining a group two months late and while my initial run went great, I felt pretty left out the rest of the season. The group operated differently than what I was used to, and most of the time I found myself running alone. Our meeting times continued to get pushed earlier as the season went on, ending at 5:30am or 6am meeting times three days a week. No way could I do that on a Saturday morning! So when my travel schedule picked up I decided to not even make an effort to return, figured I had the schedule and could complete all the runs on my own.

As the race date neared though, running was feeling more like a burden. I only (somehow) completed my long runs once a week, with maybe a 1-2 mile run sprinkled in as well. I chalked it all up to running non-stop for two years and burn out. I was ready to put this race behind me and move onto a new hobby.

However, despite 40 degree weather and a 7am start time, race day turned out better than I could have imagined. I was finally reuniting with my Fleet Feet Carrboro running buddies Lindsey and Laurie (you may recognize them from this race or this race or this race). Lindsey ended getting injured a few weeks before and couldn't run, but was still kind enough to offer me her home to stay in for the weekend, wake up at 5:15am to drive with me to Raleigh for the race, and stand in the cold for five hours cheering us on. Not to mention her husband prepared a post-race feast of steak and potatoes for me! 

Just before the race start, Laurie was kind enough to run all around the NCSU Bell Tower searching for me to give me my race number (which she'd picked up the day before so I didn't have to drive all the way to Raleigh!). She stuck by me for the entire half, even though I could feel she was much stronger runner and could have flew past me. Not to mention she was running her first marathon and had 15 more miles to run when we were split up at the end of my course!

Aren't these ladies amazing? I'm not mentioning all these things to make them blush, but to say that I had forgotten that it was people like them that make this sport fun. Laurie herself has even mentioned how boring running is, but as we were chatting and laughing along the course I (almost) forgot about the 13 miles I was running.

After running past more Fleet Feet friends and people I knew on the sidelines, and remembering the high you get running that last mile of a race, I finished my half at 2:30. No Speedy Gonzales, but a pretty good time for such a poor training season. I was ecstatic. 

So I won't be giving up on running this spring as planned, but instead continuing to search for those parts I considered "fun" when I first started running in Durham. Perhaps I'll aim to do lots of short-distance races as opposed to a few long runs to keep the momentum going. Who wants to join me??