After my negative rant/whine extraordinaire on Saturday, I now feel like a complete ass because the weekend pretty fantastic, half-marathon included. Yippee skip! Also, I am now confident that I will survive the next 2.5 days of work and will then breath a huge sigh of relief. This is the final stretch of THIS time of year, and I plan on taking full advantage of 2+ weeks of vacation!
As for the weekend, everything came up roses. Michael and I were total movie nerds, watching the final disk of the LOTR trilogy - the director's cut. Even though I had seen it before (like everyone else in the world?), watching the entire trilogy again was completely satisfying and quite tragic and "The Return of the King" is really well done. Even though I knew the ending, it still made me sad. On Saturday night, we opted for a period piece, the most recent cinematic interpretation of "Jane Eyre" which was great! I always forget how different Charlotte Brönte is from Jane Austen - talk about Romantic with a capital "R"! Souls, spirits, mysticism, freedom, the individual, love... Yes, I ended up in tears at the end! It has been several years, maybe 20 (see, several), since I read "Jane Eyre", but maybe I should venture back through those pages? I hate it when a movie prompts me to read the book, it makes me feel guilty for not having read the book. But, in this case, I'll give myself a pass since I really DID read the book, albeit a while ago.
As for the Sunday morning race - it ended up being a real "race" rather than a pathetic and miserable slog through 13.1 miles! The weather was chilly but perfect - as much as I love a sunny race, the overcast sky made for a pleasant run. Adding to that, the run was well-organized, flat and fast! It also offered up a taste of an area that I don't know well at all - Oxnard, CA! My love of strawberries has bred a certain familiarity with Oxnard, more or less the "Strawberry Capital" of Southern CA. I had not, until now, ever wandered down its fine streets! While some of the course took us through a random industrial office area, we also ran by fields, schools, and great neighborhoods, ending at the Oxnard waterfront - which I didn't even know existed! The local support was amazing - there were bands, plenty of water stops, port-a-potties at several of the mile stops. As for the run? I couldn't believe how great I felt throughout the race! I tried to run a relaxed pace, not too fast, not too slow. I also had the good fortune to meet up with Kalli around Mile 6! She was looking good and ended strong!
Regarding my final time - it was a surprise to me. I hoped to run a sub-2-hour and crossed the line plenty under that, much to my total surprise and delight! After stumbling around happy yet a bit dazed, I returned home to pizza, an ice bath for my legs (KILLER) and then a nap - all contributed to my recovery! I was even able to pull it together to look 'appropriate' for the evening's festivities - the annual holiday party (on a Sunday night - really? How is that a true party?).
As for the week, I am sticking to my plan to take a needed break from running and can't wait for the break from school that will be here sooner than later. However, I've revised my view of running - I *heart* running, training, non-training, the races, and, of course, all the pain and anxiety involved. That said, I do look forward to 2012 as a new year that will offer new challenges. Looking back, I've enjoyed some amazing experiences this year that connected to running, in one way or another, and I can't wait for more!