First, I was such a lucky duck and pulled a volunteer spot out of the lottery for The Elephant Sanctuary. This is the sanctuary that featured Bella the dog and Tarra the elephant as BFF. If you haven't seen the video, it is a MUST watch. Check it out here. So, this is a true sanctuary and is NEVER open to the public. However, there is a lottery for a few volunteer days a year, and I got a spot out of 100s of applicants! I was privileged enough to spend the day working on the Sanctuary with people from Portland, Detroit, North Carolina, etc. It was one of the coolest days of my life.
Picture of Flora above courtesy of the Elephant Sanctuary website
I would post some pictures, but sanctuary rules dictate that pictures have to stay off of social media. So, I have some wonderful pictures of my own with Flora, the beautiful elephant above, and I got to see her beauty up close. It was a tremendous experience to see an elephant, up close, with no human controlling its decisions. I can't really put it into words how different it was to see an elephant in a more natural habitat with no human intervention vs a zoo.
I was exhausted after a day of work- raking leaves all day is no joke- and seriously doubting my decision to run a half marathon the next morning. But, my little body jumped right up the next day to race. Because, who doesn't want to run a half marathon in the 30s with cold rain soaking your clothes and shutting down your muscles?
Oh man. So, my decision to forgo racing the 1st half marathon and saving it for the 2nd half marathon came to bite me in the butt. The weather was less than ideal, but I just got out there and gave it what I had for the day. No quitting.
And I was on track to beat my time from the last half, and then I hit the last mile and literally just couldn't feel my legs anymore. It was like moving blocks of ice. I watched my pace slow a ton...willed my legs to get moving...talked out loud to myself and encouraged my new friend as she encouraged me....but they just.wouldn't.move. I crossed the line only 1 second faster than the last half marathon.
And, that was a lot of work for 1 second. But, crazy weather makes for great adventures. They can't all be perfect days :)
I know that I am a better runner than what I showed in the series...but I know that I didn't put the work in either. I absolutely should have raced the 2nd 10 miler and the 1st half marathon as well instead of making them training days. But, I think, too, that I just was not ready to go all in this year, and that is okay. I have finished the series fitter than when I started PLUS injury free. The great news is that I am really motivated to train, now, and letting my body gain strength at a steady pace was probably a good plan. So, I feel like this is a good base and great platform for me to start setting some goals and planning some 2015 races.
Next up? Nothing yet... time to revisit the bike.