"We plan and G-d plans, G-d is the best of planners" and, as I like to say "we plan, life happens". That pretty much sums up how the Run Hard Columbia Half Marathon went.
I'm already a little nervous when it comes to racing in unfamiliar territory. The air is different. I'm not familiar with the terrain. I'm a little fatigued from traveling. For me, hotel sleeping is hardly ever comfortable, so that means less sleep. I could go on, but you get the picture. It's too many new things to conquer on a regular day, but throw in 13.1 mile race on top of it all with 3 children in tow, it would take a miracle to pull it off! Here is my "I plan. . life happens. . .in the end" recap of my half marathon in state number 7.
I plan: The race is Saturday, packet pick-up is Friday. Leave Savannah, GA for Columbia, SC Friday after prayer service 3, 3:30pm to get to the packet pick-up around 6 pm. The packet pick-up closes at 8pm.
Life happens: We discover before prayer services that my brother has a dead car battery. I decide to that after prayer service, I would drive back to my parents home, 30 minutes in the opposite direction, so that I can help him jump his car. This adds almost 2 hours to my departure time. It's a 2.5 hour drive. We leave around 5pm instead of 3pm and there is a horrendous accident close to our destination, adding travel time according to my GPS. Darn you red time counter! Whyyyy does the time to arrival keep increasing as we get closer?!?
In the end: Thankfully, the accident has cleared up by the time we get in the area and all lanes are open. We get to packet pick-up with just minutes to spare. I get my packet and prepare to check into the hotel.
I plan: I have meticulously packed for the race. I even have my brand new glasses, which ironically broke on the way to SC. Check into the hotel, lay out my clothes and gear, get a good nights rest for the race in the morning.
Life happens: My 7 month old infant is teething. He starts to feel warm suddenly Friday afternoon. He slept most of the trip but is now very irritable and fussy. He normally sleeps well on his own, but he wants me to hold him while he goes in and out of sleep and nursing (much more than normal). We turn in around 10pm, and it's already late. I spend the next 4 hours half sleeping, half soothing the teething baby while he "rests" in my arms.
In the end: My mom has traveled with me, and takes him around 2am so I can get some shut eye.
I plan: Wake up around 5:45am, nurse the baby, get dressed and head to the start line around 6:45. It's a 15 minute drive, parking is easily accessible. The race starts at 7:30. I have to time it fairly close, because I need to get back to the baby. Since he isn't feeling well due to teething, and because he nurses approximately every 4 hours; my goal was to be finished and back to the hotel close to 10:30-11am.
Life happens: I oversleep. O.M.G. I wake up and look at my phone like it betrayed me. How did I sleep through my alarm?!? 😡This almost NEVER happens. It was almost 6:45. I HAD to nurse the baby. Of course since he isn't feeling well, nursing took an EXTRA LONG TIME 😩😩!! I threw on my clothes, ran out out of the hotel, zoomed to the parking lot.
Time check 7:15.
I can get there on time, but I still have to park and get to the starting line. I get to the general race area, but they have closed off streets where parking was easily accessible to the starting line. I circle for too long and eventually find parking in a nearby parking garage. ON THE FOURTH FLOOR!!
Time check 7:40.
I dash out of the garage and see people with bibs milling about. They are waiting for the 5K to start at 8am. No one knows exactly where the starting line is.
Time check 7:45.
Run like a crazy woman to the starting line. NOTHING is there!! Normally there is a pad that you cross that syncs with a timing chip that is either in your shoe or on your bib. It's part of your "packet" in the packet pick-up. I start to panic, thinking I HAVE MISSED THE RACE 😱😱!! Then, I ask someone where the race director is. They point me in his direction, and I ask him if I can still run the race, he points in the direction where the other runners went and says "GO"!
Time check 7:50.
I take off running. There is NOT A SOUL in sight. Not one person for the first mile of my run. The police officers who have closed off the streets are kind enough to steer me in the right direction. I'm running, on the verge of tears, talking to my husband about how I try really hard to plan stuff out and how I get frustrated when things go so far off plan. I'm concerned that because they didn't track a "start" time for me that the race won't count. Will I have to put an asterisk by the state as completed? Where the heck are the people other racers?
In the end: Finally, I start seeing other race participants. Mostly elderly people and then walkers. Man, these hills are crazy. For my first running half marathon postpartum, I started off too fast, and my legs were tired. I decide to walk the hills, and I'm glad that I did because it was a million of them. I finish the race and go to the results station. Much to my surprise, the race counted! My Garmin gave me a finish time of 2:23, and the official race time is 2:32. At least it isn't an asterisk 😉.
I will continue to plan, and life will continue to happen, and in the end it may not happen how I or you expect it, but just keep moving forward, and IT WILL HAPPEN!