Are We There Yet?

“Small progress is still progress.” – unknown

This weekend brought a road trip to Kansas City to see my bestie — and my second half marathon of the year, the Hospital Hill Half.

My bestie and her family were at the start line by 6:30 in the morning to see me off. It was a wonderful start to a brutal run. When they say “Hill,” they mean “Hills.” Seven of them.

start-line

I freely admit that I was not prepared for the distance, especially on this course. After completing 17 races and overtraining last year, I’ve really struggled to train properly this year. As a result, this race was slow and painful, with the exception of several stops of support and cheers from my bestie and her family. Though this was my slowest result to date, I still finished. Good enough.

I’m thankful it’s over, happy and sore. During my drive home back across the state, I reflected on the weekend. I realized something about distance running. I finally honed in on how running has changed me most — and how this specific race epitomized it. Running has taught me patience through challenges. I am much more aware that trials are temporary, just bite-sized pieces of a bigger journey and greater goal. I daresay that, a few years ago, I wouldn’t have made it through the pain and frustration that kicked in rather early along the course. I would’ve wanted to quit and not try to push through. But experience has taught me that, no matter how painful, with the exception of injury, I’ll get through it eventually. But it sure helps to have the hugs and cheers of friends.

Of course, the weekend wasn’t entirely without photos or quirky sightings.  Here are a few:

stormtrooper

Stormtrooper on board.

And this ginormous bear caused me to exit the highway and turn back around to make sure I’d really seen what I thought I saw.

random-bear

Sure enough. Big bear.

And then I saw this along the half marathon course. For the first time in my life, I resisted the urge to stop running and take a picture. Instead I tracked it back down later after dinner with my bestie and her family.

KC_elvis-bear

Thank you. Thank you very much.

What is it with me and weird bear sightings this weekend??

Anyway, it was a fun weekend spent with some of my favorite people in the world. I’m grateful for the love of friends, the freedom to make adventures, and a healthy body to carry me around, even when pushed beyond what it should.

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