Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Run to the Beach Half Marathon

OK, I’ll start off by saying that I have run in quite a few races in my short running career, 5K’s, 10kl’s, half marathons, marathons and even 2 ultra marathons. That being said, for today’s race I was the most unprepared for. Not so much that physicality of it but the mental aspect.

It has been building up for a while now; most everyone knows that my wife has suffered an injury which has sidelined her running for the last year. Her being my running partner has greatly affected my mental desire to run/train/race. That led to some of the “low lights” of today’s race. But there were also some really great highlights, funny thoughts and “smile moments” today as well.

Today’s turmoil started with my unwillingness to wakeup this morning. Well after many a snooze alarm I did manage to make myself go downstairs, get dressed and eat breakfast. But for some reason I just sat there when I should have been out the door driving down to the race. In my head I keep telling myself that I had plenty of time, regardless of what the clock said.

Now I am no genius but when you get in a car at 8:25AM; and you turn on your GPS and it tells you that you have a 23 minute drive to make it to a 9AM , you would think that they would light a fire under your butt to get moving. Well it finally did about 15 minutes into my drive. And while GPS technology is a wonderful invention it failed me today in my hour of need. Not horribly wrong but a 5 minutes out of your way wrong.

Well I did make it to the state park which was the start of the race only to find the entrance closed for the start of the race. I parked the Prius grabbed my waterbelt and started running for the start. As I sprinted for the start I realized that I was not going to make it to the packet pickup or the actual start before the gun was going to go off. So I figure at this point I am going to have to run it as a bandit.

So I almost make it to the starting line when the race begins. I move over to the side of the road to let the leader past me and wait for Rachel and Leigh (running/training friends).  I see Rachel go by and wait for a break in the herd and make my way into the stream of humanity.

First 2 miles were fine but uneventful, one of the highlights of the day happened just after mile 2 though. Rachel and I were running at what I considered as a pretty good clip but yet were being passed by other runners. One of those other runners called out to me, saying “hi”. She was running with a man, and said to him, “Honey, this is the guy that I was telling you about, the one with the great calves!”  Then she said, “Seriously Kevin, you have the calves that most guys would kill for!”  I will go onto to say that I do have Rachel for a witness because I would not have believed myself. I came across the split for the 5K and figured that I should just turn off now it wasn’t going to get any better than that.

The next few miles were also uneventful; Rachel had a great pace that I couldn’t keep up so I let her go. I got to see the lovely Wendy and Debbie as we made our way towards mile 5. Let me just admit at this time that I love people watching at races. There were some girls playing 20 questions that I tried to keep up with for a while just to find out if my guess was right. I had Leigh catch up to me at some point around mile 6, she was looking great and rocking the race. She was trying to keep in front of a group of high school track runners and doing a really good job of it. Leigh passed me up and left me running with the high school girls for the next mile and a half. I got the joy of listening to which girls in their school were having weight problems, who was dating who and I think that I tried to really block out anything else. I never regretted not bringing my headphones as much as those miles.

For some reason my breakfast really started to argue with me at that point, and every few steps I got to re-taste my peanut butter toast and V8, mmmmmmm….. Delicious! Much to my dismay I also found out that I neglected to grab any GU packets for the race. I keep hoping for one of the water stops to have something but was disappointed. I just wanted the taste out of my mouth. Oh, and the “burp-less” fish oil pills weren’t so burp-less today either.

The next bit of running got a bit hard for me with my stomach, the rain, the cold, and the wind. So I thought about my wife and her not being able to run at all and I tried to just slow down and enjoy the moment, which really helped.  I slowed my roll, and things just started getting better. It had been raining and windy for quite a while at this point, I noticed more than a couple of runners carrying their bibs in their hands. I assume that a combination of the bibs getting wet and that wind tore them from their shirts. One such bib was on the ground, I ran past it, thought better of it, turned around went back and picked it up. I figured that I might catch up to the runner or he might turn around once he realized that he lost it. But that never happened; I carried that bib for the rest of the race never finding its owner.

The course for the race was a curious one, it had a little bit of everything, roads, trails, beach, and through a campground (with campers). I found myself wondering how long I could put my feet in one family’s camp fire to dry out my socks and shoes before they would catch fire or start to melt. It was about this point when my other running friend Katrina found me. It was great timing because I was about over the race.

Katrina really helped me out the last miles; it was great to have someone to talk to. I am pretty sure that I would have done some walking if she would not have been there. Somewhere around mile 9 I realized that I forgot to tape my nipples. Now I have to say that I have seen some guys forget to tape up at races in the past, and regardless of signs that women hold up at races I really didn’t want to find out if “Bloody nipples” do indeed “turn then on”.

Well I did make it through the race bloody-less and my nipples intact. Even though I showed up late and had to run to the start, forgot my music, my fuel, and to tape up I was pleasantly surprised with my overall time and I owe it all to my friends and some advise from my wife to “live in the moment”.

Oh yes, and an extra big shout out to Shannon for picking up my race packet and driving me the mile back to my car, that would not have been a fun walk back! Thank you, thank you!

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