Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sunburst Half Marathon: Hometown Race with Charm

My delightful Memorial Day weekend guest and dear college friend Rachel.

Her two boys tagged along for the trip and fit right in with our crew.

Sunburst Half Marathon finishers!  Claudia earned the 2nd overall female award.  I snagged the 3rd Master's winner award (10th overall female).

Friends Sarah and Kara joined us for the run too.  Kara got 1st place in her age group!

My cheerleaders: my in laws.

The fact that my husband hails from South Bend means that I am no stranger to his hometown's half marathon race.  The Sunburst snakes around the St. Joseph river and cuts through quaint neighborhoods.  The highlight of the race was the spectacular finish on the Notre Dame football field.  Unfortunately, the last two times I've ran the race, the finish has been changed to a city street (due to stadium construction).

What I fondly recall about the race is that it is flat.  I was so wowed by this fact that I bragged to my running buddies about the course being a slam dunk on time.

Imagine my surprise when the course route was modified since my last race.  Most of the course included rolling hills.  They are annoying, but those sorts of light ascensions I can take.

But then came mile 12.

Mile 12 is when a runner is practically owed a break.  We have run so far.

At mile 12, I followed the course to the right and faced a giant hill (looked about the size of Mt. Everest to my tired legs and mind).  At first, I tried to tell myself the hill was just for marathoners as the marathoners were about to cut ties with the half marathoners.  In my head, I was saying, "Oh bless the hearts of those marathoners, that must be tough."  Denial is so easy!  As I neared the base of the hill, I realized it was the half marathoners who had the pleasure of the climb.

I huffed and puffed up the incline for what seemed like hours (may be a slight exaggeration fueled by exhaustion and based on a cloudy sense of reality).  Once I hit the top, I was home clear to the finish.  But, the hill left its mark.  It slowed my time and diminished my mood.

(Sidenote:  Another way I lost time in the course was when my husband called at mile six just to talk:))

When I smashed through the finish, I was smiling.  Despite the hill, the race course was a still beloved hometown treat.

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