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Adventure in Half Marathon #30 – Embracing my turtleness!

May 5, 2014

Shaun and Cathy Heroes Half Everett 4-2014

My girlfriend Shaun (who waits for me!) on the left and me – with my leg warmers – on the right.

Number 30 was April 27 at the Heroes Half in Everett, WA. Perfect weather, perfect support, perfect medal … Perfect day for embracing my turtleness!

heros half medal
Last week on the Half Fanatics Facebook page, a young(er) woman lamented that she was a “turtle,” meaning she took longer than most to get to the finish line. There were over 138 amazing and supportive responses from the community and the message was consistent:

You are not alone!!!

turtle poster

I am also a turtle. I have done 30 Halfs in six years, and I have only been sub-three hours once, and that was 2:58! These past months when I set a goal of doing 12 Halfs in a year I actually was dead last in a couple of smaller races.

Sometimes you are on the course all by yourself and you wonder if you are even on the course. The water stations are deserted. You hate to keep your mates waiting. It can be a bit lonely at the finish line. Sometimes the food is gone, the announcer has already packed up, and they have run out of medals. But as my Half Marathon career has evolved, I have developed one over-arching strategy that helps me get to the finish line.


I prepare like I am going to survivalist camp!

These are my survival tools: (not in order of importance!)

    •    Camelback full of electrolytic water (I am using a Nathan right now)
•    Phone, sunscreen, and pre-crumbled Kind bar in the pockets
•    Paper copy of the course map in case I get lost
•    Sunglasses that reside on the top of my head until I need them
•    Compression socks that are not too compressy but not too loose
•    Same brand of leggings I have worn the last 12 Halfs
•    Leg warmers from my 1980s aerobic classes
•    Headband and hat (hang the hat on my Camelback in case I need it)
•    Garmin watch on my wrist so, if I remember, I can press the start and stop button
•    Runners ID dog tag around my neck (in case I get hit by a rabbit!)
•    Music that has the right beats per minute for my cadence. Also have an audio book in case I get bored
•    Great friends who don’t care if you take longer, they wait for you
•    Most important! I smile a lot and practice being grateful

With these tools I manage and enjoy my three-plus hours on the course. The payoff is the electric way I feel when I am done, that immeasurable feeling of accomplishment. Oh, and I read recently that exercise is the fountain of youth. Another payoff for this 60 year old!

finishI salute all of us who dare to be out there. It takes extraordinary courage.

•    Being a turtle is an honor that beats sedentary any day
•    First place or last, the medals look the same on my wall of bling
•    The rest of the world is impressed you do half marathons, so you be impressed with yourself, too

what matters

  1. Cath, this is such a great post. You make me want to get out there with you!! 😉 You’re very inspiring!

  2. shellgren permalink

    I loved this post. Almost makes me feel like running again

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