EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last in a series of weekly columns by Kayla Dunn, a 25-year-old Belpre resident who is training to run in the News and Sentinel Half Marathon Saturday. Dunn teaches Autistic students at Fairplains Elementary School.
The last training run was a 5 mile run. I had no problem thinking I could accomplish this with all the other training runs under my belt. I couldn't believe that this was our last training run before the half marathon. I had a lot going on in my mind on this training run. School was starting this week, I knew I had a lot of things to get done. My running partner Hannah is a teacher as well, so we were talking about what both of us needed to accomplish this week. To all the teachers out there, have a great school year!
We went earlier than the actual training time due to things that we needed to get done for our classrooms so it was just Hannah and I running this training route so we made our own route. We decided to change up the scenery and run our 5 miles elsewhere since we couldn't make the actual training run. It was so beautiful and it was nice to take it in while we ran our last 5 miles before the half.
The whole time I felt great. Hannah is a faster runner than I am, but I enjoy that because it pushes me to be faster. When I run alone, I feel like I'm not pushing myself to what I'm actually capable of accomplishing. So when she's out ahead of me, I know I need to keep pushing myself. I'm actually very happy to say that the last Be Great 5K at the Parkersburg City Park I had my fastest 5K time! I really needed that confidence booster going into the half. The past few 5Ks I have ran in, I've actually ran slower so I was losing confidence in my speed. Other runners were telling me it was because I was focusing on my distance, but I still wanted to get faster.
This felt like such a short run especially compared to what we have been running the past few weeks. I can't say I struggled with this run. We took it slow and steady and enjoyed the scenery. We both couldn't believe the half marathon is this week. We were both talking about how we were going to get there, what we were going to eat the night before, where to park, all the important details. Once we finished our run, we ate dinner together and kept talking about other races we might want to do in the future.
I have to say I'm very excited for this half marathon. I want to thank all the people out there who volunteer their time to make this happen. The people who do the water stops are amazing. They have dedicated a night a week for as long as this training goes to make sure we had cold water when we needed it. I also want to thank the other runner who have either ran with me, gave me advice, or pushed me when I need pushed. I want to also thank the River City Runners Club for their encouragement and support. Everyone in this group is truly amazing; I felt like I could go up to any one of these runners and ask advice or questions if needed. Every run for the past couple of months is coming down to Saturday. It has been an amazing journey. I've had good runs, horrible runs and great runs and knowing all this hard work is for something greater is truly an amazing feeling. I also want to say thank you to my family and friends, they have been my cheerleaders all the way through this. I also want to say thank you to my baby girl. She is only 4 years old, but she's my biggest inspiration of all. I know that she looks up to me and I want to be a good role model for her.
There are no more training runs for me to announce. However, the News and Sentinel Half Marathon is at 8 a.m. today. I hope to see a lot of familiar faces either running or supporting the runners.