Continued from: Run a Half-Marathon – The Prep-Work
The week before a half-marathon race you are supposed to begin tapering off on your distances and taking it easy. My week was anything but relaxing. Five days before we were set to head down to Savannah, I learned the house we had paid to rent was no longer available for us. I will spare you the craziness unless you want all the details but the short story was, using a reputable and known rental site, I got conned along with at least 18 other groups for a house that was not available for rent (The lady was later arrested). I spent the week scrambling to find a house on race week for 15 people. It was no easy task. We ended up on Tybee Island, 30 minutes away, instead of within walking distance of the starting line like I had planned (the crazy thing was this con-woman actually met the person who ended up renting us the Tybee Island house and gave her the money for the house minus about $300 for the difference. The detective said he never figured out why she did this because we were the only group to recoup ANY money. Praise God).
With the new location, we finally made it down to Savannah even as last-minute details on where we were staying were being worked out on the drive down. I could finally relax before my run. On the Friday we woke up and drove in to the city to go to the expo and pick up our race packets. I was beyond excited. I was officially number 14722.
Wandering around the expo got me even more excited about my running goal. Vendors were peddling new running shoes and attire. There were all sorts of nutritional supplies, information on upcoming races, and my favorite, tons of freebies!
That night, with everyone finally arriving, we settled down to prepare for our early morning departure. Thanks to James-Michael, who actually grew up in the area, we were able to navigate from Tybee Island all the way to within two-blocks of our corrals. Even though it was Savannah, we were all still freezing. Thankfully we could dress warm, throw our layers in a bag right before the start and have them waiting for us at the end. I still ran with a base long sleeve shirt and gloves.
I decided to put a sign on my back to motivate me and others that read:
“This is my first half-marathon. Two year ago I could not run half of a mile! Let’s finish this!”
It was the best and worst idea I have ever had. Other runners loved it. They wanted to take pictures with me before the start of the race. During the race people kept patting me on the back and high-fiving me as the passed me and every time someone did, I got a little extra burst of energy. However, I was shooting for a 10:30 pace throughout the race. By mile five I matched my watch with the mileage and determined I had been running closer to a 9:30 pace which is just above my 5K pace! Ooops.
As the miles wore on, my time got slower and slower and slower. By mile 10 I was nearly exhausted. Miles 11, 12 and 13 were an absolute grind. But finally I saw the finish line, gathered up everything I had within me and pushed the final few yards. I did it! I completed a half-marathon!
I finished nine minutes slower than my goal and with a final pace time of 12:09 (told you I slowed down after “sprinting” those first five miles). But, I was done and could cross this goal off my list.
Since running I have been asked when I am going to run a marathon. My answer is that I want to get a few more half-marathons and maybe a sprint tri in before I even think about a marathon. But at this point I can no longer say I will never run anything again. And yes, I have a medal to show for it now.
When I created my 30 by 30 list I indicated I wanted to run a 10K. Even then I thought it would take a miracle to complete because at the time I couldn’t even run two miles. But sure enough, I fought through a lot of pain and with some hard work I completed my goal. The only problem was, I didn’t have a medal to show for my hard work. I started thinking to myself, where could I get a medal? Then it hit me! I could run a half-marathon!
In actuality, my decision to run a half-marathon went nothing like that. I am a goal oriented person but I am also prone to laziness. Now that I had completed a 10K, I knew the only way I was going to stick with running as a form of exercise would be to sign up for another race. So I signed up for a half-marathon and started training. The only problem was I would not stick to a mid-week running schedule and would only run my long runs on the weekend. That was fine when the long runs were 4-7 miles. But once the mileage got up there, it took its toll. On a 12-mile run I strained a hamstring, aggravated my IT band and entrapped a nerve in my foot. Yes, all on the same run. As such, I could barely walk and actually had to use crutches for a few days. I missed my half-marathon and could not run for another month and a half.
Determined to actually run a half-marathon, I added it to my 40 to do by 40 list and started my training again last summer. I signed up for the inaugural Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in November. I convinced a few friends to sign up as well and began running with a group to keep me accountable.
Training consisted of a few mid-week runs that were 3-5 miles long including a day of speed work. On Saturdays I would meet my running group and complete our long runs. It was beneficial because there were people to run with and talk with and water stations were set up for us every two miles. Along the way I had to buy new running shoes and new running shorts because I wore my existing ones down.
My last run before the half-marathon was my dreaded 12-miler. The same one I hurt myself on the year before. However, this time a better training plan paid off! Not only did I complete the run injury free, but I had also hit a great running pace and felt like I could easily knock out another few miles if I had to. Not wanting to push it before the race, I held off but was ready to take another crack at running a half-marathon.
Part 2: It’s Race Day! Run a Half-Marathon – Complete (coming tomorrow)
I am excited to finally post that all of the descriptions for my 40 to do by 40 list are written. You can access the main page here. You can also click on each individual goal to read the full description.
Please let me know if you would like to join me on ANY of these goals. When I was working on my 30 by 30 list, I had people join me for sky diving, building my desk, working on a Habitat house, donating blood, snowboarding, hunting, fly fishing, running my 10K, and others. All in all, I had someone participate in 14 of my completed goals. Review my 40 to do by 40 list and if you want to do it too, let me know in the comment section and I can let you know when I am working on it.
In the time it took my to actually complete the website, I have already completed Running a Half Marathon and am working on Going on Another International Mission Trip. I have a gun and am waiting on my Concealed Carry License to be sent to me. Those posts will be written shortly and added to the site.
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Thanks for checking out my new site 40 Things To Do By 40. To see all it all started, please check out my 3o Things By 30 Site. I am currently working on typing up the descriptions for each goal and hope to have them done soon.
In the meantime, you can check out the “About” section of this blog. I do hope you will join me over the next decade.