Fitness / Okinawa / Running / SweatPink

Leprechaun Half Marathon (Sometimes it’s better to be last)

Hello!  Happy St. Patty’s Day!!  I know, I’ve been absent for a few days.  It has been quite the process getting used to the new job.  Trying to get into a groove.  I am hoping to really have things down in the next week or so.  In the meantime you’ll have to bear with me on my postings.

I ran my first half marathon since arriving on island.  It was hosted by a local military base and encompassed a 6 mile loop around the local community.  Twice.  We were given directions and a map of the run however this did not really showcase the terrain of the run.  (More on that later.)   It wasn’t a large run, there were about 600 participants in all for a 5k and half, with about 150 in the half marathon.  (run, walk, strollers)

At the start of the run we lined up with stroller runners in the back.  I didn’t want to feel crowded so I stood towards the back with them.  As they counted down and called out the start, the runners surged forward and we were off.  It soon dawned on me that I was running with about 1-2 other people in the very back.  The pick-up vehicle was trailing not far behind.  I had taken off at my usual pace and soon felt like I was a slug amongst cheetahs.  Oh yeah, I was dead last.

I was trying to convince myself that it didn’t matter where in the line I was as long as I finished when I overheard a couple running just in front of me.  The guy kept peeking behind and soon leaned in towards his female partner and said, “Um, do you want to pick it up a little bit?  We’re almost, like, last!”  Without even glancing back, she quickly shook her head and replied, “No!  I don’t care.  I’m not speeding up.  Half those people up there will never hold that pace.”  She then put her head back down and kept on trucking at her pace.

That’s all I needed to reinforce my own thoughts and I quickly let those downing thoughts go and kept on running.  After 2 miles they had left my view but I wasn’t depressed.  Within 3 miles it became apparent that she and I were on the same page.  Maintain your pace and you’ll finish the race!  I was soon picking off catching up to many of the runners who had been in the front of the pack.  Slowly but surely they were burning out and falling behind me.  Especially when the hills started to appear.

The hills were definitely alive for this run!  They seemed to be never-ending too.  And the knowledge that they were going to be around again only made me sweat harder.  They also helped me pass up a few more people.

After about 5 miles it dawned on me that many of the people I had passed were no where in sight and that dreaded pick up vehicle was no longer even close to my tail.

The second round of hills was the place that I got excited.  I was still running, slowly sure but running nonetheless, while there were many people walking up those same hills.  Pass, pass, pass!  Get one in my sights then leave them behind.  On one of these hills was the couple from before.  He was trudging up the hill looking very defeated while she was slowly running ahead with her head down still focused.  It was a few minutes before she realized he wasn’t with her.  I had to smile when she turned around with a huff and slowly jogged down to meet him and give him a push from behind.

Yes, my friends, it pays to be last!  I felt a rush of pride in knowing that I had managed to work my way up from that spot.  No, I didn’t win or even come close to the top 20, or probably 100, but I did keep a positive attitude, maintained my pace, and kept on running strong.  I was able to pass up those who tried to get out of there first and didn’t plan for the length and hills to come.  I may have been last at first, I may have not been the fastest, but I sure as heck ran that thing the whole way with a smile on my face (especially when I was passing people by) and joy for running in my heart!

Leprechaun Swag!

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