Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Half as Much

For those following along........and with an ability to follow clues or at least have a good guessing gene, you probably figured out that with my running, and running group, I was training for something and not just running like Mr. Gump. 

Morty, whom you all know and love from here, and I had been discussing my running really since before my 5k last November.  The next logical step would have been a 10k. But in my training for that, I was running a few 10ks on a weekly basis so I started going longer, harder and faster (that's what she said!). On a weekly (or so) basis, I'd send Mort my status. He deftly texted, "this doesn't seem like you're looking at a 10k anymore."

He was not wrong. 

When I bought new shoes ("I-I-I-I can't wait") in November, the store had a Cleveland Marathon card and I picked one up. I pinned it to my bulletin board in my office above my computer. I knew I could not do a marathon, but at this point I was running 8.5 miles at a time and I thought......."well........maybeeeee.....". 

I signed up for the worst possible reason. Or maybe the best. The next day, the price was going up - an entire $10 !!!  Worst impulse item purchase ever.  Probably. 

But being someone who hates to part with money, after I hit 'enter', I was committed. At least in my mind. That is when I joined the training group. 

Fast forward 16 weeks, and two days ago was the half and full marathon. Until driving down before dawn, I had not been excited or nervous. Now I was both. 

It was a perfect running day. 54° and not a cloud in the sky. It would have been nicer if it stayed at 54°  but it did start to warm as the sun rose. 

I was lucky to run with a new friend that I met at my 10 miler. Well, most of the way. 

For the first 8 miles I kept a decent pace in the mid-10 minute / mile range. But coming out of a long stretch was some icky elevation. The first hill at mile 5 was usually my nemesis, but this time, I made it up that without a care. This one though......I was feeling it. The mind is much stronger than the body when it comes to shutting shit down. 

At mile 10, I was more of 10:47 / mi guy. But....you know.....I can do this. But I struggled. Joe was losing his time so I told him to just go ahead. Don't let me hold him back. He only went when he made me promise I would finish. And yeah, I was struggling a little, but it never occurred to me that I would not go the distance. 

Joe and I passed what I thought was a Resusci Anne splayed on someone's front lawn. But Joe assured me it was a real person. Dehydration? Heart Attack?  In my head, I went, "well, at least I won't be last!".  After Joe left, I passed a parked ambulance where I could see feet, so I figured I'd beat at least two folks!

But then came 11.5.  FUCK. It was a brick wall - or so it felt. That was tough. I truly walked for my first time, but it was mostly to do my inhaler and recalibrate. It felt like forever, but I'm guessing it was 45 seconds of walking. Once I got to 12, I found my stride again, albeit slower. 

The thing about the last mile that people should know, and yet I swear to g-d, it never occurred to me: the last almost mile was lined with people 3-4 deep through the finish line. The rest of the course had people, but some areas had zero. So I didn't really think about crowds. 

People will tell you the crowd is a motivator, and in a way they kind of are. I'm vain enough, and proud enough, that no matter how badly I wanted to walk or slow down, I wasn't going to happen in front of throngs of folks. 

Someone had a "Give the Thumbs Up if You Have to Poop" sign.  I didn't have to, but I gave two big thumbs up. We all laughed. 

I will say at mile 12, the pacer, who I had NOT seen since before the start, was right next to me, and with the time I assumed I would get. (I wanted 10 minutes better, but statistically I knew where I would be well before race day.).  I kind of shook my head thinking he was lost, because I didn't feel I was on pace any longer for my goal. 

Yet I was. Actually, I thought I crossed over 3 minutes later than I wanted, but that was the clock time, not the chip time. I was exactly three seconds earlier than my goal. 

BTW - we ran into neighbors the following day (yesterday) and they asked if we had a nice weekend.  710 is just bursting with pride - "Blobby ran a half marathon".  Some chit chat and Mike asks, "did you have a good time?"

It turns out that question to a runner versus anyone else means something different. 

Neil, Mike and 710 had to explain to me, "if I enjoyed myself", as I tried to tell them my goal time and actual time. 

Save for some wonky lightheadedness after the race, I did have a good time. It was a lot of work. At lot of focus - which I'm not really known for, and a lot of stick-to-it-ness.  I think some of my earlier running posts I had the internal monologue of "what are you doing?" or "you can't do this!".  Normally my instinct is to listen to those voices. But with support from Morty, I got past those thoughts and they crept in fewer and fewer times. 

At mile 12 is when the full marathoners and the halves split to go different directions. But it was at that moment I said - out loud even -  "nooooo. no marathon for you ever". 

I have the right to change my mind, of course. 

BTW - one of the first things I blogged about on this here blog 20 years ago, was real-time trending of Morty through his first Boston Marathon. It seems very fitting he's part of this post. 

Song by: Patsy Cline


wcs said...

Well done!

Travel said...

Congrats! I did the Citrus Bowl Half two years in a row. The second year is more fun.

Old Lurker said...

Look at you keeping secrets from us. A half marathon is quite the accomplishment, but since when did you ever stop at half measures?

rebecca said...

So proud o you!

Morty said...

So proud of you! Now quit basking and get those running shoes laced back up. :)

Blobby said...

Oh hush. I ran 3 miles this morning. I took one day off.