I was pleased to find that as I passed the kilometer markers I was feeling really good. 3K, turning down Leslie. 7.5K turning around to come back towards the lake. And then the turn towards the Leslie Street Spit at around 11K. I snapped a quick smiling selfie as I slowed to eat some of my Honey Stingers and texted it to my hubby. I was feeling proud--I was more than halfway and feeling great!
Annnnd, that's when the shade we had felt on occasion disappeared entirely and with it, my 'feeling great' tune started to change. The number of participants dwindled, leaving less distraction and motivation. I could tell that many others were starting to struggle as well. From that point on, I had to take walk breaks. I passed other runners walking, only to be passed by them when I would take a walk break.
I started dreaming of Gatorade at this point. It was what kept me going. It was all I could think of. Cool, sweet, refreshing goodness. I knew there was a water / Gatorade station at the entrance to the park. I just had to make it there and then I would feel better. Sadly when I got to that spot, there was only a volunteer with an empty bucket.
I forced myself to keep trekking, taking small sips of the water I had left. I weaved slowly around people strolling along the boardwalk and finally saw the finish. Although the clock was blank as I crossed the finish, there were no cheers or medal, I was proud for pushing as hard as I had and finishing. I found myself wondering if I would have cut the route short or gone slower had it been a Sunday long run instead.
As I made a beeline for the Gatorade table (a couple of times), my pride increased with my energy and I realized that if I could finish this, I would be able to do 21.1K at the half in October! I had learned a lot during this run. Pacing in the heat. Having enough hydration. Going the distance. And I would soon come to realize that I had gained my first running badge of honour--three black toe-nails.