Meghann asked that I do a recap on my recently completed first half marathon. I won’t lie. I’m two and a half sentences into this and I’m already having a difficult time. I’ve posted a couple of times on opinions that I had, but never gave an account of a race. Annnnnnd, we’re off!
I’ll start by saying that I was not fully prepared for this race at all and that is my fault. After I ran the Gasparilla 15K back in, I believe, February, I didn’t run another race until a 5K about a month ago in NYC. Not only did I not run any races but I stopped running altogether. HUGE mistake and yes, Meghann told me so. Real quick side bar to Meghann: Ok, it’s admitted publicly…you win a point…and we’re done with it. Just kidding. that wasn’t serious. We joke about it every so often.
Oh yeah, my half mary recap. So there I was, about two months out and committed to run 13.1 miles. The distance I had lost was most evident in a four mile run I had agreed to as Meghann was finishing up a 14 miler or so. I struggled with a simple mile. Well, crap. What to do, what to do. Keep running of course. That I did and was able to get back up to a 6 mile run at the end of my ‘training’ without stopping and averaging about a 10:30 mile. So right about now you’re doing the math in your head; 13.1 – 6 = you’re screwed. Yeah, I figured the same and wasn’t bashful about admitting it. Oh well…the run must go on for MS. Quick shout out to everyone that donated! A million thanks from me to you!
Fast forward to race day (really night) and I really wasn’t scared/nervous/anxious. I knew I wasn’t fully prepared and had made peace with that. My plan was to aim for running about half the race without stopping and then, from there, alternate between running and walking as needed. Despite that aim, as the day got closer and I got a peek at temps that night, I had a suspicion that I’d be able to meet and exceed that aim. I’ve told Meghann on several occasions that I have much more to give when temps are cooler. It was true in NYC and it was true this past Saturday with temps in the low 70’s and low humidity (for Florida).
I started out the race and wanted to maintain about a 10:30 pace because I felt that was the ideal speed for me to get the most mileage out of my current running shape while taking advantage of the cooler temps and finishing with a respectful time. I was hoping for any time under 2:30. So I got started and the first 5 miles came and went. It really was a piece of cake. I put the iPod on shuffle and went to town. I think I surprised Meghann when I passed her at the relay station (just after mile 5 I think) with a huge smile on my face. I’m telling you…lower temps equal a much more efficient Derek when running. I said hi, tried for a picture together but to no avail because we were missing that all important 3rd person, said bye, and threw out an I Love You. On to my next 5 miles I went.
The next *almost* five miles were almost as easy as the first. I took some water and powerade along the way, mixed the two, and consumed. Pretty nice trick I got from Meghann. Oh, and another thing. The aid stations were giving out shot bloks…those things are so good. Not like a ‘it helped me power up again’ kind of good but a ‘I could eat these as candy’ kind of good. They’re kind of like a gummy bear but better. As you can tell, that was my first experience with shot bloks. Annnnd another tangent bites the dust.
So I’m coming up on finishing 9 and starting 10 and my body begins to realize what the hell is going on. It was pretty weird. The left side of my right foot began to hurt (kind of like a cramp), I had this slight pain behind my right leg about parallel with my knee, and my entire lower body as a whole was just tired. Hello run/walk strategy. I began walking and then running when I could, but I soon faced another predicament. Another weird thing…when I walked, my legs and feet began to hurt more and when I started running, the pain went away. So my choices are pain from walking or no pain when running even though my legs were pretty near done by that point. I chose running but that just didn’t last very long before I started walking again. The last approx. 3.1 was more walking than running…60/40 I’d say.
One of the nicest things I saw as the finish line grew closer was a sign that read ’400 more yards’. Bless whoever made that sign. So I started running again and didn’t let myself stop. Next sign, ’200 more yards’……even BETTER. Finally, I crossed the finish line with my hands in the air and was glad to be done. Final time was 2 hrs 36 min and I think 36 seconds. All in all, I’m quite pleased with my time and just finishing in general. Like I said, it was a bad move to stop running and I paid for it. Lesson learned.
In closing, I’d like to say two things; one serious and one funny (I think). First, I didn’t think I’d ever be running a half marathon. I don’t particularly enjoy running like I do watching college football, playing golf, etc. but I do like seeing what I can do. My point is you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try with an honest effort…so why not get out there and find out? Granted I didn’t give training for this an honest effort, but I think you see my point.
My second thing is regarding the recent article that came out. I may have allowed myself to daydream at work for a few minutes yesterday and thought to myself, “If they’re the ‘big 6′, and the six all have bf’s/husband’s, and us men directly support their blogs, that means that we somewhat contribute, even if indirectly, to their blog, which means we could be considered part of the big 6 in a way…….so Katie D., can I PLEASE get an arbitrary 1.5, 2.5, etc. label too?!?” =)) I know, that was one of the worst run-on sentences ever constructed and probably a cheap attempt at a laugh, but I have a quirky sense of humor.
Anyway, I bid y’all a farewell until the next time we ‘meet’. Hope you enjoyed.