If it weren’t for my impaired mobility this morning, I would not believe I ran a half-marathon yesterday. I have photographic evidence of the race. I have personal, eyewitness accounts, yet it all seems dreamlike to me. I ran 13 miles yesterday—at Rothenburg: a course so challenging, they had an ambulance stationed on each hilltop.

I’ve never been an athlete. I have ten pounds I can’t seem to get rid of at any price. And though gummi bears are fat free, they don’t qualify as health food. I have kids and a husband and a dog. I have laundry to do and floors to wash. If I can run a race of 13 miles, it’s possible for anyone.

Sitting here trying to stretch my legs while typing gives me time to reflect on yesterday’s race (if indeed that was me running).

Lessons Learned:

*Though drinking coffee is NEVER a wrong thing to do, I also should have done a short warm-up run before the race. Instead, I had a carafe of coffee while the kids ate ice cream.

* At about mile 7, one of the runners made the mistake of asking where I was from. This began a 1 mile, one-sided conversation, where I blabbered to kill some time. And time I did kill, for my pace slowed down to a 12 minute mile. Finally the guy said, “I need to go faster now.” Oops. (For the record, I picked up the pace and ended up beating him).

*Bring headphones. The last mile included a long, uphill slope, straight from Twilight Zone, that seemed to never end. A little Superchick would’ve helped.

*Going downhill is easier than going uphill—use it to your advantage.

*Focus. At times, I felt simply mindless. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, though I do remember staring at some ponies. More focus on the actual running might have helped.

*Shoe laces. The shoe with my timing chip came untied at the start. Because I had to stop, I was left behind by the quick-paced pack.

*Holding back. I was so worried about not having enough energy left at the end of the race that I held back in moments when I should have pressed on.

*My Nathan Hydration pack was a lifesaver. I tried drinking the lukewarm mineral water at the water station but ended up splashing it all over my face.

*PowerBar Refuel Gel packs helped me to keep going when I felt like giving up.

*My shoes and socks were perfect! No foot aches at all.

*Positive attitude. With few women entered in the race (and most of them younger and belonging to racing teams), I knew I would not be getting any trophies. However, I opted to be the friendliest runner of the day. While my fellow runners didn’t seem to appreciate my congeniality, the spectators who waited along the road were awesome. Each one of them deserved (and received) a smile, a wave, or a ‘danke’ from me. The little kids, I applauded. It was fantastic that people would sit out (for two hours or more) just to watch the runners. I loved it.

*Cheerleaders. It was such a boost to see my friends & family along the route. They waved & cheered & took funny pictures of me. Even though the other runners were uber-serious, I had people who loved me, rooting for me.

*Training. Even though I slacked off during vacation, I can tell my training has paid off. Many times during the race, Pink Shirt Lady was ahead of me (she was faster than she looked). However, she was breathing really hard, whereas I was able to cheerily converse with her. I ran with her for a while, and then passed her on the hilly side of the course.

*Best of all was having the kids run the final stretch with me. It was worth all the effort just for the photo finish.

The Rothenburger Halbmarathon was a success for me. I kept a good pace (despite hills that could send people into cardiac arrest), I kept a good attitude, and I did not finish last.

Now, onto Füssen!

Post Race Stats:

Miles: 13.2

Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Average Pace: 10:17 minutes per mile

Calories burned: 1680

Weather: partly sunny in the 60s, a few sprinkles at the end—perfect running weather.

Overall feeling: if I can conquer Rothenburg, I can conquer anything.

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