the half marathon is the first of the two runs.
resa, sheila and i got up at 4:30 and drove to the start. it was 32 degrees out and raining. actually sleeting. in florida. wtf?
well, anyway we get there and are all set. sheila and i decide to use the bathroom. unfortunately the port-a-pot line was huge there. about 30 minutes in line. and pretty cold too.
while in line resa heard the starting announcements and they said last call for start. so she took off after looking for us. sadly we were still in line. resa had a good run. about 2:19 on the clock, which is a personal best for her. but i didnt see her until at the car after the race. real bummer that all happened.
sheila and i walked to the start together, past about 7,520ish open port-a-pots. gads. that sucked!
after about a mile of walking we reached a long straight road that had all the runners on it. 15thousand people started the race. when we got there it was down to the last 5 thousand or so. sheila wanted to start in the back and i wanted to find resa in our starting pen so we split up... i next saw her at the car too... which means i ran alone.
which to me is like going to the bar alone. somewhat fun but much funner going with someone you know. i would rather be slow with someone than fast alone. ah well.
i hurried to get to the back of the pack that resa and i had planned on being in, but i was too late. they closed the gate about 2 seconds before i got there. gads. it was a rope they just grabbed and yanked in the way, then a bunch of guys stood in the way. i asked if i could just run out to meet my wife but they were not to happy with the idea and i really wasn't sure where she would be anyway. so i stood there while they filled up the pen. with the entire rest of the field of 5000 people. and i was in the front row. it took about 10 minutes before they let people go out running again so i stood there looking around.
there is a master of ceremonies guy that does the video and race announcements. he walked over to do an interview for a few minutes.
"whats your name sir?" he asked me with the tv lights and camera guys all closing in.
"ken?" i suggested.
"where you from ken?"
"canton, ohio" i stammered. i had just came from the hotel in florida, stayed the last 2 months in alabama and just moved a few months before that from michigan to ohio. i had no idea where i was from. five thousand people thought that was pretty cool though. fun to hear your voice booming from several hundred speakers over a few square miles of land.
at the back of the pack of runners sheila heard me but didnt know it was me. she thought it would be cool if i heard the guy from my home town.
"Ah, football hall of fame is there... so, ken, is this your first time?"
again the 15 things you think. first one here? first one ever? first half and full combination? first time ever in shoes? what???
"my first time here." i hopefully guessed.
"wonderful, i hope you enjoy, hey! you are running the Goofy Race!"
"thats a half today and a full marathon tomorrow!"
"ever do that before?"
"ah, have you ever run this half marathon before?"
again, any half or this one?
"first time here."
"well, enjoy your day. and now to our countdown!"
they all walked away from the start. and they did the 10,9,8 thing. at zero they dropped the rope and off we all went.
me first! for some reason getting interviewed made everyone stay back a step or two and i lead out the whole field for the first mile. very weird. i was going about 9:30 pace which is fast for me and probably fast for the field be gads i was a bit wired up. there was a huge section of people watching the guys run out and i would bet most of those thousands were watching me. about a half mile out i did a test on this by doing the arms lifting thing and the hand to the ear thing and a big roar came out of the crowd.
i wished i could have told the guy i was using the half marathon to train for the full one. resa told me the day before someone at her work was coming down for their first ever half and they started training a week before. ran like 5 miles a day for the last 6 days in a row. sounded like a great plan.
so anyway i am running along, about mile 2 and i am passed by about 400 people and we catch the walkers from the previous group.
ARG! i HATE that. people that walk and start at the front of a race. columbus has walkers on the starting line with the elite athletes. takes 5 miles to get around all of them.
not so goofy. they have to prove they belong in the starting pen by previous race times. but i guess that doesnt force them to run that fast. and so the walkers start. i finally got through the last of the walkers about mile 11ish. the last 2 miles there were no walkers.
the first 6 miles are on big open roads. very good for running, if not very interesting. also we are into the wind and sleet. the stuff i wore was perfect for temps though. very good picks on clothes. i give my prep a 9 on the ten scale. went great. other than losing my running buddy that is.
so 6 miles go by and i am wondering if i should go for a good time or just enjoy the day. and when you cant decide which to do you do neither. which would really suck. but i was thinking after all the tile work from the last few days i wouldnt be able to break 2:30. or my best ever 2:25. so i just settled in and tried to listen to my body.
which was probably a mistake. i should either go for it or not i finally thought. might as well try to run faster and see what i get. so at mile 6 i put the hammer down and sped up. but just then we entered the magic kingdom. the 4 lane expressway turned into a one lane walking path. with 15 thousand people on it. plus the kingdom was right there. someone decided to take a picture of the castle. this is hard to do while running. so they stopped. right in the way.
i dodged sideways to my left and ran on a sidewalk, down a very steep hill. and caught a HUGE change in elevation in the cement. it was very dark and slippery. and the cement curb was about 3 inches high. they had a guy standing there with a light and he was pointing out the curb to all the runners. but i just got done dodging sideways. was running at my fastest for the day, downhill and i had just decided to go quicker.
i FLEW into the magic kingdom like peter pan.
sadly i didnt land like peter pan. i had caught the curb perfect. got some good air, landed on both knees and hands, chin, chest and one elbow. might have also landed on mr happy, but the other things hurt too much to be sure. the i slid down the sidewalk about 10 or so feet on my chest, ripping off my number and burning up my knees and hands. again, just like columbus i got the big OOOWWW from about 100 people around me. and the weirdest part was the guy yelling behind me "You Okay Ken?" i lay there a few seconds. how did he read my name so fast? it was pretty amazing. i got up and walked a few minutes. my hands and left knee hurt the worst. bloodied both knees but it was impact not scrapping that hurt more, both knees hurt. was hard to get running again.
spent the next mile sullenly plodding along. about 300 feet after the wipeout an automated message announced "Caution, road narrows, Caution, road narrows..." caution. well i got a laugh there.
i started running again. through the park as the sun started coming up. hard to tell in the rain though.
ran sore and kinda angry through the park. and it was crowded. several times i had to just walk behind people taking pictures or just going slow looking at stuff.
after the park we got back on the roads and i ran it home. i was pretty gassed at the end. the tiles finally cashed me out about mile 11. i walked a bit. and i was the ONLY one doing it. most people were running in the last 2 miles now. i got passed by a few thousand people in the last two miles but it was all in all not bad.
my new watch again decided to show me some stuff i had no interest in. this time it was a compass. i didnt even know it could be a compass. but it SURE wanted me to. so i forced it somehow into pace mode again. i did some fast math and figured with a strong finish i could still get my best ever.
so i picked it up and ground out the last mile.
and did get my new personal best time. 2:23 on my watch, 2:24 on the chip, not sure the difference - i think i screwed up the start with the interview and got my watch started a minute late. so 2:25 was my personal best. now its 2:24. :-)
a really bad weather day, about 30 degrees colder than normal and sleet.
we went to the pool to recover and started hydrating and eating like a crazy. i felt really strong in my legs for running a 13 mile race. my knees hurt but not badly. no other race issues.
i was ready for the Marathon.
heh. 1/3 done.