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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Race 14: October 6, 2012 - 12:1 Half Marathon in Danville, Iowa

Last night, I went to bed very early (between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.) since I had to wake up at 2:00 a.m to get ready for my drive to Iowa.  S. couldn't join me on this trip, so I needed some rest to make it to and from Danville, Iowa safely.  When my alarm -- or alarms, since I set 6 alarms just in case -- screeched it's morning wake-up song, I really did not want to get out of bed.  It was in the mid 30s outside, and I was quite comfy on my heated mattress pad.  But I somehow managed to get up, get ready, and get out the door by 2:45 a.m.

The drive was peaceful and uneventful.  That early in the morning, there were hardly any cars on the road.  I made it to Danville with plenty of time to pick up race packet and bib.

But when I entered the expo, there was no bib with my name on it.  Apparently, my name was in the computer with at 2010 registration date!  The address under my name was incorrect.  It was a big, odd mix-up.  The race workers were so sweet, though, and found a bib for me.  They didn't charge me another fee.  But since the race was for a good cause (clean water for underdeveloped nations), I gave them all the cash I had.  I was just so impressed with how kind and courteous everyone was.

It was 34 degrees at the time of race start, so I stood inside as long as I could.  I only braved the cold after the race instructions were issued to the runners.  Luckily, I warmed up pretty quickly after I started running.  I started at a pretty good pace, but quickly realized my time goal would have to change.  I wanted to finish under 2 hours.  But once I discovered how challenging and brutal the VERY hilly course was, I decided I wanted to finish under 2 hours and 20 minutes.

I spent the first 6 miles in complete awe of the scenery.  This was probably the most beautiful course I've ever run.  The course went through two amazing parks and over a lake.  All of the leaves on the trees were turning, so we were surrounded with golden and fiery leaves.  It was mesmerizing.

I continued to admire the course for the rest of the race, but I was a little distracted because I started talking to another St. Louis area resident.  An older man who was running the same pace as I was talked to me about his 50 states goal.  He and his wife (who ran much faster than we did) were completing their 18th race.  It was so inspiring to talk to him.  And it's a lot harder to focus on the tough hills when you're busy talking.

I left my new friend when we reached mile 12.  Once I see the finish line, I can't help but speed up.  So, I raced to the end, and reached my goal.  I ran 2:19:26 according to my stopwatch.  Yay!

After the race, I hid in the bathroom and cried.  I was just so relieved to have completed a race after taking so much time off.  It was one of those wonderful moments that you need to keep going.  I'm am just so thankful.

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