Drizzling rain, gusty breezes, longer-than-expected distance, and cool temperatures made race day one to remember…and savor the sweetness of achieving a goal.
It’s funny how the prospect of acquiring yet another finisher medal will keep me going despite fatigue, increasing aches in hip and feet, and the whining and whimpering of my Inner Quitter.
I also let the scenery take my mind off my increasing discomfort. There’s something about how watching the subtle changes of gray in a cloudy sky, catching glimpses of scurrying squirrels among the branches of Douglas fir trees, hearing crows cawing at me as if to cheer me on, and walking past store fronts, boat yards, farm fields, stately homes, and urban parks.
The last two miles — hilly and seemingly never-ending — were the toughest I ever experienced. But my fellow walkers and slow joggers kept me going as we urged each other onward. I kept repeating a mantra my coach, Jackie Arcana, often uses in her triathlon and bike classes: “You got this.”
I haven’t found the words yet to fully describe how I felt when I did cross that finish line some four hours and 12 minutes later. Joy, relief and the quiet self-satisfaction that comes from perseverance.
Will I challenge myself like this again? You bet!
Will I do the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon again? You bet!
And I plan on being a little bit faster.