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A birthday gift from Rock and Roll!

September 23, 2012

One of the hallmarks of the Rock and Roll events is that the half marathon time limit, if there is one, is four hours. That means you have four hours to do 13.1 miles, and the countdown starts when the last participant crosses the start line. That means you have more time to race if you start earlier.

When I signed up I approximated my finish time at 3:30 hours. Although I have never taken that long to finish any of the 15 half marathons I have done (my usual time is 3:10 – 3:15) I planned on enjoying and breathing in this event! Imagine starting a race on the longest bridge in Europe!

A couple of weeks ago I was checking the RNR Portugal website for expo information and saw this: “The course limit is 3 hours”. In small print. Yikes! I have done only one half under three hours and that was 2:57. My training has been going well and I have high expectations, but anything can happen. It is a wish and a prayer for me to do under three hours!

But my friend Shaun gave me some thoughts to mull over. I have been working hard, she said, and whatever happens I will finish the race. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, if I get a medal or not, but I will finish. And that is what I am going to do.  Those words helped me remember the point of this experience – this is about the experience!

I sent an email to RNR asking if they could somehow get me close to the front of the line. (Usually you are put in a starting corral based on the time you said you would finish, and they don’t let you change.) I told them my problem, and that if I had the extra 20 or so minutes starting from the front would give me I could finish the race. I told them I knew how to stay out of the way of the faster runners, and this was my fifth RNR. A woman who is the VP of marketing in London was sent my email, and she very graciously told me to meet her at a certain place and time and she would get me on an earlier bus to the start line.

I am so happy, because now I have a chance. But I was prepared to finish the race no matter my time. I still will do that :))

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