"Congratulations for signing up for your next half marathon! Click here for the u-shaped elevation map that you JUST signed up for! Don't worry...there's a 10K if need be."
OK, so maybe that wasn't on the website, but it was pretty damn close. So where was I? Oh yeah, when I last wrote, I was passing everyone in a Leprechaun race. Well, I was pretty charged after that race, so XC2, M2M and I said, "OMG! Let's sign up for an HM!" And so, the process began:
I won't get into it, but earlier this year, my doc says that I need to find something in addition to my running to manage my stress. It was either Xanax or this thing called Yoga. As tempting as Xanax was (and still is), I thought I'd try to be lucent for my kids' formative years and opted for yoga. I like it, but I'm not "Oh my God! Yoga? It has changed my life! I am sooo centered now. Look at my ass! It has done wonders for my ass." Of course, I look at her ass. It's just the polite thing to do. The rest of it is a little too histrionic (+5) for me. But I digress....
I opted for the modified version of that one plan where you only run 3 times a week. I call it the "I Don't Want to Wake Up at the Crack Ass of Dawn More than Three Times a Week, Thankyouverymuch" Plan (IDWTWUATCAOFMTTTAWTYVM, for short). That seemed to work for me and I managed to get a couple of 10 milers in before Race Day. A few days before the race, I was in the neighborhood, so I decided to see what I had signed up for. Hills, some more hills, look! more hills, flat for about 5-6 miles, then more hills. All of them seemingly going up, too.
XC2 graciously offered to pick up my race packet the day before, so I didn't have to haul my arse down there one more time. Woke up to wind and rain. Awesome. When my wipers went from intermittent to low, I knew we were in for some fun. Got to the race and it had stopped drizzling/raining. Then, with my usual nervous energy, I went back and forth as to whether to wear my rain pants. I was half way to my car to drop them off when I opted to leave them on. FORESHADOWING! As we started out, Niki (XC2) and I had kind of sort of decided that we were at about the same pace and that boded well for both of us cuz SOMEONE'S (hint: not mine) Garmin died 30 seconds into the race. Couple that with the fact that she didn't have any Gu and I had a potential basket case for a running teammate. The first few miles were hilly, but not the long, gradual hills that I knew awaited us. When we finally got to the flat part of the course, I settled into a groove. Even with my crappy shoes (thanks, Mizuno), I managed to get comfortable. Every so often I'd look over my shoulder and there was XC2, drafting me. I mean, we're talking about a foot away or so. A few things crossed my mind while she did this:
- At some point, she's going to blow by me and I'll see her when she's finished her second banana and has her car keys in her hand and is ready to go.
- She breathes loud. In fact, if this happens again, I need to make a music mix with NO GAPS.
- She's using me for my body. North wind and all.
- It's really hard to give pace updates other than showing the number 9. When we went to 9:15, I didn't know what gang sign to flash her.
- It was pretty cool that she was over my shoulder.
We continued this pseudo-NASCAR thing until about Mile 10 where Team Rasgorshek was there. I was kind of surprised because I gave my wife an out that morning by saying that, if it was raining, they didn't need to come and see me. Giving my kids a high/low five was all I needed to finish my race. From mile 10 to 11, it was uphill. A long, gradual hill but I could see that there was a downhill into a neighborhood. It was then, for the first time that I glanced at my time.
That's all I had to do. Maintain a 9:30 pace for the next 2 miles and the PR was mine. I was golden.
Miles 12 and 13. Nestled inside the neighborhood was a path that wound uphill all the way back to the finish line. And it started raining. Holy crap. "Maintain" switched over to "I did NOT train for 3 months so I could just start walking now!" Didn't really trip off the tongue, but it got me through the last 2 miles. As I rounded into the school's track, I saw the clock read 1:59:59. Knowing full well that I was about :20 behind the gun time, I kicked as hard as I could, which, in retrospect probably wasn't all that fast, but still.
The White Whale had been slain. I broke the ever elusive 2 hour mark. Something I never thought I'd do on a course like this.
After downing a small gatorade and wolfing down a banana and a soggy bagel, I caught up with a few friends and then waited for Niki. I wasn't able to see her finish, but I wanted to make DAMN sure to say thank you for sticking with me for most of the race. After we parted, I went home to meet up with the family and my youngest wanted to go to the local track and race with me. Uh, no. Instead, we raced cars on the living room floor and I proceeded to fall asleep afterwards.
Wow, I had a lot to say for a local half marathon. Don't know what's on the horizon for me. I have a relay to run in October, but until then I'll need some sort of motivation to keep me running and writing. Both something I want to do more of...whether you all like it or not.