Two days later and I’m still walking funny

Oh yes, my legs are still sore. But I don’t mind so much. That pain is simply the dull throb of accomplishment. I just ran my third half-marathon this past Sunday. It was the first of its kind to take place in my hometown of Raleigh, NC, so I was excited to be a part of the inaugural race. And somehow I was able to convince my husband to run with me for the first time! (First and last, I’m sure.)

race half-marathon rock'n'roll running jarrod hughes stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blogI have been looking forward to this race for a long time. It’s the best training I’ve ever been able to put into one of my half-marathons. My previous two races I competed with Team Challenge to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. (You can find lots of posts on here about those races and my training for them.) My first race in Vegas I signed up for a little late and I was already training for a triathlon at the time, so I was behind from the beginning in my training. For my second half, in Virginia, I struggled a lot throughout the training. I had broken my wrist a few months before, so I had stopped running altogether prior to training for that race. Plus,  I was having a lot of joint and muscle pain, to the point that up to a couple of days before the race, I didn’t think I’d be able to finish it. But some hot yoga, a deep tissue massage and a lot of praying later, I was able to make it the whole 13.1 miles and was only a few minutes off of my previous time.

But for this race, I wanted to put my best effort out there. I trained hard these past few months and I realized how un-fun it is to train in the winter. And while I did not totally keep to my training schedule, I feel very happy with the runs that I put in and the work that I did.

So this race for me was a chance to show what that hard work could do and to push past the times I had previously set.  And it was a little chaotic the morning we arrived at the race site. There were people everywhere! It was pretty evident that all 12,500 runners who had signed up for the race were there. But we made our way to the start line, waited in like 3 different bathroom lines and finally set off around 7:15 in the morning.

The beginning of the run felt good. We stayed together for the most part and set a really strong pace for the first few miles. But I see now that we may have come out a little strong in the beginning because we both hit a wall around mile 8 and ended up getting separated. But we pushed on.

It was a beautiful day for a race. About 75-degrees outside by the end of our time on the course, which is a bit warmer than anyone would prefer, but was still a nice day. The bigger problems were (1.) there was not a cloud in the sky, so the sun was just beating on your constantly and there was very little shade, and (2.) the course was so hilly! Now I spent most of my training at a local park that is a fairly hilly course, so I felt I was prepared for most any terrain, but man, there were way more hills than I expected. And it wasn’t all uphill, there was a lot of downhill, too, but in my opinion, that’s not much better. All I wanted the whole race was just some flat piece of road!

medal race half-marathon rock'n'roll running jarrod hughes stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blog

I still felt good enough to keep up a slow run for the last mile and to crank out a sprint once the finish line was in site. It was so great to cross that line and to see my parents and my husband’s parents cheering me on as I crossed the finish line. And I was able to catch up with Jarrod a few minutes later.

My mom caught this picture of me as I was making my way over to them and I fills me with so much joy. It reminds me of why I do this. What I wrote about just a few weeks ago: I run because I CAN.

My ostomy behaved great all day and I did not have to make any pit stops in the middle of the run. I finished with a time of 02:21:05. That’s a full 10 minutes off my previous PR! 

Usually after my races, all I want to think about is doing nothing. (Actually after my last race I went ahead and had surgery two days later, so I literally did nothing for a while.) For the first time, this race left me with a feeling of “what’s next?” And while I don’t have an answer for that quite yet, I’m working on it…

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