Third Time’s the Charm

lcsu16pw05765While this is Krysten Hambrook’s first year participating in the Withum 300 running group, she’s well on her way at crushing 300 miles. As of the end of September, she’s already conquered more than 200 miles. Yet, like many of the people on our team, Krysten isn’t a life long runner. Nonetheless, after a simple challenge, she’s now completed her third half marathon. Krysten shares her story on how she went from non-runner to — in her words — half crazy:

This month I ran my third half marathon. Yes…13.1 miles…in one swoop…for the third time.

The experience this time around was completely different, but before I get into that, let me back up.

If you told me in high school that I would one day run one half marathon, let alone three, I would have laughed in your face. I went out of my way to avoid running. I was a swimmer, a skater and I played softball (and running the 60 feet to first base does NOT count as running).

I started trying to run a few years ago and was challenged by my cousin to run my first half marathon. Accepting the challenge, I Googled a few running plans and started training. Prior to that, I had never thought I could run more than three miles consecutively…ever. And this was my first road race.

Half marathon #1 goal: Run all 13.1 miles.
Thanks to my cousin keeping me moving, I ran the whole thing and couldn’t move for the next few days.

Half marathon #2 took place at Disney World. Who doesn’t have fun doing anything at the Happiest Place on Earth? Plus, I was running alongside a close friend and I was wearing a tutu.

This most recent race was a different beast. I was not running in a tutu prancing through Cinderella’s castle. Instead, I convinced six other people to join me in this feat. My goal this time was to maintain my pace and to beat my previous times. While I trained on my own, I was motivated by my brother and friends (including Simone, who posted a few months ago) who were also training. We shared the details of good runs, hard runs, and days that running just didn’t happen.

The morning of the race was cold and misty, not ideal for being outdoors, let alone for hours trying to run. At 8am, the race finally started and we were off. Our pack started together, but we separated into our own pace groups as the miles trudged on. My brother, who still probably thinks I’m crazy for convincing him to do this, and I ran together the whole time. His goal was to run the whole thing and finish together. We set the bar high by running the first seven miles at a great pace. We were both feeling good, maintaining conversation, looking at the cute dogs that we passed and were picking out our favorite houses in each neighborhood.

Then we got to mile 11 and all I wanted to do was walk. There were only 2.1 miles left and the pace we had been going at was finally taking a toll on me and this became a mental game. I couldn’t get out of my own head, thinking “I should walk. No, I want to get to the finish line faster and be done with this. Maybe I’ll just walk for a little bit. But no, I need to keep running and finish!”

The mind game took up those 2 miles, along with my brother’s sarcastic encouragement, until we crossed the finish line. We finished faster than I had expected thanks to my brother not letting me stop.

I signed up for this race so I would have an excuse to go running and it would push me to accumulate my #withum300 miles. While this race pushed me to train, it also left me knowing I could have finished those last 2 miles stronger. I guess I’ll have to sign up for another one and see!

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