I don't think I've addressed the 20 seconds in a blog post yet. Now it's time.
Don't worry. I'm not going to berate myself or demand sympathy, because I honestly don't see either of those as necessary.
I will admit to realizing, fairly early on, that I had a decent shot at hitting or breaking 2:00:00 during the Des Moines Half Marathon.
As the miles — and my strength — wound down, I checked back frequently to gauge the possibility. Around mile 12, as one of my cheerleaders biked past me on his way to the finish line, I shouted back at his words of encouragement that I thought I could break 2:00:00 still.
Obviously it didn't quite happen, and the instant that I realized that — probably a minute or so out — I was as disappointed as my low energy levels would allow me to be. Not devastated, but definitely negative.
But after the race, until I'd gotten the massage that I so desperately wanted, I was crabby in general. I don't know how much of it was disappointment, compared with fatigue, irritation with the crowds and anxiety over finding/waiting for the massage.
I can honestly say, though, that once I was on the table and telling the DMU student about my race, I no longer cared.
Even if the woman hadn't been stretching me in wonderful ways, it would've been difficult to tell her that I took eight full minutes off my previous best — set 2.5 years ago — and I finished 4.5 minutes ahead of my best-case-scenario goal, but I should've finished at least 20 seconds sooner.
Yeah, I can be a harsh critic of myself, and I can often find a reason to look past the fact that I trained diligently for two-plus months and finished a half marathon, sometimes in adverse conditions, to focus on the end numbers.
Not this time, though. The PR-breaking margin is enough to keep me from second-guessing anything, like the two nausea-fighting walk breaks or the post-gel-water-drinking walk break.
Sure, if I'd kept running, I might've been able to break two hours. But I also might've thrown up, spilled the entire beverage, choked or just missed a chance to catch my breath and refocus.
And if all I walked during a half marathon (more than a half marathon, because I haven't mastered running the tangents) is 20 freakin' seconds ... that's something to be proud of. Which I am.