Today was a different race experience–I wasn’t running it for me, I was pacing a friend to the finish line of his first half! He came to be about four months ago and asked if I would help him train for this race and he put so much work into getting where he did today.
Going into the race today, I really wasn’t completely sure what to expect out of the morning. Austin had done a fair amount of the training on his own and aside from typical nerves, we were both feeling alright about the race. We situated in with the 2:40 pacers and the first couple of miles went really well. Eventually, we began a run-walk strategy and maintained that for the remainder of the race. Did I tell you that Austin has never done a race before? Not even a 5k! This was huge for him. Parts of it were tough, physically and mentally, but he was able to push through and I am so proud of him.
This race was a big, humbling, learning experience for me. All of my previous half marathons have been at ‘my’ pace and I was always going for ‘my’ goal, never for someone else’s. I spent the entire 13.1 miles talking through things with Austin, keeping him encouraged, reminding him how capable he was of finishing, and making sure we got to the finish line in one piece! I hadn’t thought of it until his mom mentioned it to me after the race, but I was kind of his brain for him during the race. It felt really good being able to help someone reach their goal, after all, that is one thing I desire to use my running-ness for.
What I love most though, is that he’s already talking about ‘the next time…’ he’s going to race!
I will say that I loved the race, course, volunteers, everything! I absolutely want to run the marathon of this race next year and count it as my Kansas marathon!
Tomorrow I take on the Kansas Half in Lawrence…wheeee!