Well with multiple lupus flares through the summer and my thyroid dysfunctioning again I really had a terrible lead up to this race. I even questioned my ability to do it. The Dopey training plan had begun and I’d also barely made a dent in that. All this time I was just trying to get moving again. I did want to go as I was so proud to have raised $1250.00 for the Lupus Foundation and I wanted to meet everyone that was on the team. I was determined to walk it if I had to.
In June I ran once the whole month, July twice totaling 8.87 miles, August four times totaling 11.86 miles and then there was September. I had four runs before the race in September totaling 17.60 miles my longest run before the race was 11 miles. Did I feel like I could finish at this point – yes – but I knew it wasn’t going to be anywhere near my goal time of 2:20. In March before I got sick – I was almost at this pace. I pretty much was feeling very confident – then Lupus flare 1 struck then I thought I was over it and surprise lupus flare 2 then when my thyroid tanked I just threw my hands up and said time to take a step back.
My goal from then on was to just do what I could and not start a new flare or create a new problem for myself. This was after all our 5th half marathon – I knew what it would take – how I would feel after each mile and where my body was. When you have a chronic illness – you do what you can that day – and hope for a better tomorrow. That’s what I was doing. Trying to stay positive even after so many setbacks I was determined to finish and do the best I could.
The day before the race we hit the expo and I got a little gift bag from the race coordinator Stacy. She and my husband Kam reached out to friends, family, and donors to gather a bunch of wonderful messages for me. I was blown away by the gesture and so grateful for the love and support I get. I also had made a bandana and embroidered all the names of my donors so I could carry everyone with me during the race. I felt like I had so much support. Even though my training wasn’t as strong as previous races I was excited and felt ready to run.
Race morning – I felt good – I was excited to actually get out there again as I had been so homebound with my running all summer to minimize my sun exposure. Armed with tons of sunscreen and Taylor by my side we met the team in the morning before the race. The weather was cool but it was supposed to warm up but we were optimistic. Taylor hadn’t run at all – but had been strength training so he felt it would be ugly but he could do it. Being he’s so young I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I knew I’d be slow given my training so we both said let’s have fun and get out there and do our best.
We missed the team dinner the night before opting for a sushi family dinner but we were excited to meet everyone race morning. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. It was nice to meet some of the folks who I had seen posting in our charity group and Stacey the race coordinator for the charity. This was my first time running with the charity. I had fundraised before but had always run my own race, not with the team.
Stacey introduced us to everyone we all caught up and got some group photos. I particularly like this one as I feel like it looks like we are all on a journey and about to go do something great. The team overall raised $13,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America. Something to be really proud of for sure. The $1250 that I raised is the most I had ever raised for a charity ever.
The runners were all excited to get going – everyone was in good spirits and you could tell people were amped about the race. I think we are spoiled in Richmond – as we have the Monument avenue 10k that has more musical bands than any Rock n Roll race I’ve done. I’m always surprised how few bands there are on the course. Maybe others think there are enough – but I think there could be more. The ones that were there were great I particularly love when some of the school marching bands are on the course. They always have great energy.
This course was so much better than expected. Other than the traffic there is much to love about Philadelphia. The course takes you along the river which was not only scenic but there were many shady parts on the route. As someone that isn’t sun friendly, this was very welcomed. Everyone we met along the way was really friendly. We ended up running with another team member before the cut off for the 8k race which was great. She was running for her mom who has lupus. I told her to tell her mom to come out next year! We ran 30/30 intervals for the most time – keeping it nice and easy. It was comfortable for the earlier parts of the race but definitely heated up as the day went on.
The course itself was great – not too hilly, and lots of support along the way. Taylor and I both thought that of all the half marathons we’ve done (this being our fifth) this was one of our favorite courses to date. Running along the river was nice also.
Right after Mile 13, we were approaching the finish line area and what was a small hill. I could hear my crazy husband calling our names (screaming really). I looked at Taylor and said let’s take this hill and we sprinted up the hill towards them. It was the best feeling to one be at the end of our race and still able to run up a hill and two to see Meara and Kam. <3 We had a great time and although we had some soreness we did pretty good coming in at 3:31. not my best time by far but reasonable – we weren’t last and we were still run-walking all the way to the finish line. Given our lead up – I’ll take it.
Post-race we walked a mile back to our hotel easily showered and had pizza which was great. The ride home was a little tougher as I was beat and sitting for 5 hours after running in the morning did nothing to help my joints. By the time we got home, I was in a good amount of pain and totally exhausted. I slept 11 hours that night.
What’s next? Dopey 2020 and looking at races for next year. I would like to have a better schedule for next year with some intermediate races along the way to my bigger ones. As I’m looking at my schedule I wonder if those that do triathlon also do a number of running races. How do you plan your running calendar?