As my best running buddy puts it, Hospital Hill is a Kansas CIty area "bucket list" race--it's just one that, if you run for any length of time, you eventually do. I believe it's one of the oldest half-marathons in the country and it has a reputation of being challenging (i.e. very hilly)...and, well, it's just a thing.
Unlike Captain Ahab, there wasn't one, big "aha!" moment where "just a thing" became (as Sweet Husband put it last week) my "white whale race"--it was a culmination of moments. It was about four years of things like....
"I'm going to do Hospital Hill this year!" "Damnit, I'm hurt."
"I'm going to do Hospital Hill this year!" "Drr...the weekend the race is scheduled is impossible."
"I'm going to do Hospital Hill this year!" "Oh look, there are two blue lines on this pregnancy test."
"I'm going to do Hospital Hill this year!" "Except that every time I run more than three miles I get this pain in my hip that's right where Little Miss's head was."
It's a bit silly--and I know that a lot of it was in my head--but it was starting to feel like the universe did not want me to do this race. I just couldn't get to the darned starting line.
And then this year. Training went well. I was feeling strong. This was the year it was going to happen.
And then my grandma started to decline so quickly, just a few weeks before race day. As I whined/half-sobbed to both my Sweet Husband and Awesome Step-Mom, "I'm being such a selfish bitch, but I just really, really need things to work out so that I can do this race."
I felt guilty for what I percieved as disloyalty to my grandma, but, in retrospect, I think the two things were actually feeding into each other. Like, "I can be sad about grandma or I can not make it to the race, but I can't deal with both at the same time."
In the end, it all worked out, though. I made it to pick up my race bib with an hour to spare, and ran the race the next morning.
The run itself was, truthfully, a little anti-climatic. It was nasty-hot and there were some good hills, but the tummy troubles that often plague me didn't make a peep. It took me about a minute longer than the half I ran in the fall, but--considering that was a gorgeous fall day on a flat course--I was perfectly good with that. Getting to the starting line was the "win", crossing the finish was just gravy.
[Much thanks, as always, to Bestest Running Buddy and Sweet Husband. Love you both all the much!]