I learned that to get to a half marathon, one that is located in Lowell, one that begins at 8 a.m., one with a lot of traffic, you have to get up really early. Four in the morning early. I learned that eating one breakfast in the pitch-black pre-dawn and then another right before the 8 a.m. start is a good idea. But I also learned that it would have been a better idea to pack something else, one of those high-sugar bars, one of those caloried Gu packets that I saw empty and littered all over the ground on the course, because halfway through my run I was hungry again. Really hungry. I learned that running among hundreds of people can be tricky, with all the pacing and passing and maneuvering curves. I learned that I’m really competitive, even when I don’t mean to be. I learned that pushing myself hard—harder than I expected—is painful. But also awesome. I learned that I love to run. And that I don’t love to race.
So there you have it. My first half marathon. I ran it in an hour and fifty-four minutes. The little medal that they hung around my neck as soon as I finished is now hanging on my fridge. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad it’s done.
When Matt and I arrived at home after the race on Sunday, I limped up the stairs, chugged some water, and I took a nap. A long nap. And then I got up. And then I cooked. My mother and her boyfriend, Charley, came over for dinner. They brought a nice bottle of wine and a hunk of my favorite cheese. I made Chicken Normandy, a lovely dish rich with apples, apple cider, brandy and cream. I served it over puddles of creamy polenta and alongside green beans, which I simply sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. For dessert: pumpkin pie. Whipped cream. Sleep.