I guess I will start with the adressing the great quote above from one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump.
There are of course many others from the movie, but this past Friday a business associate called me to go over some things and at then end of the conversation he said “hey; do you want to run the half marathon on Sunday? I’m one of the sponsors you know? ” My Forrest Gump brain took over and I answered “yeah sure, that sounds like fun” , (stupid is as stupid does). Great he said, I will sign you up and I will see you Sunday morning at 6 am. Race starts at 7. I hung up the phone and said to myself “cool, I’m running a half marathon.” My next thought was, are you freakin crazy?!!! You haven’t ran a mile since the 5k December 12th. and youv’e never run more than 5 miles at a time. The more the day went on, the more I rationalized my decision. I was just going to do this. (thoughts on “random-ness” coming later in another post)
What’s better than a little adventure? I think putting yourself on the line every now and then is important, it makes you feel alive!
I woke up early Sunday morning got dressed and when I got outisde it was a little breezy and raining. Thank goodness the local cold temps had left and it was a balmy 62. My car started this time when I left, and
I got there right at 6. I was immediately blown away by how many people there were, it was just ELECTRIC. So much positive energy and excitement in the air, don’t know about others, but I could sure feel it. My adrenaline started coursing…….
I found out after the race that this is a very popular half marathon and draws about 2000 people. That’s a lot for our sleepy town. Lots of people from other parts of the country. \Nice way to take a little trip I’m guessing.
I meet up with the rest of the gang, and the conversations around, started talking about training runs, last years half marathon, split times,…….you know “runners talk”. It was at this point that a little bit of self doubt crept into my dumb head, but like I said, the adrenaline was al ready coursing. At one point a gentlemen that I had met for the first time, said to me “when did you run your last long training run? I ran my 13 miles days ago and have been tapering down, so I’m ready today.” I really must have looked like Forrest Gump at that point as I just stammered “uhhhh uhhhh uhh”. I then made the mistake of telling the small crowd that I have never really run more then 5 miles. As much as I like being the center of attention 😉 , I didn’t enjoy it right at that moment!!! Everyone looked at me like I had 3 heads. I told them I had no expectations and that I was running real slow today.
At 6:50 am all 2000 people were waiting at the starting line. The organiszers were playing some great music and just before 7 the star spangled banner came on…..although I’m not sure…I was so caught up in the excitement of the moment, that it could have been America the beautiful, or even something else, but I was just really enjoying it.
I decided to take it nice and slow, well, there was no chioce really, you had to because of the crowd.
At mile 1, my time (thanks to a guy with a watch next to me) was a 10 minute and 30 second pace.
There was a lot of nice conversation to be had with other runners and I picked 2 ladies from Wisconsin to pace me. They were running 10 minute miles. The gentlemen I had met earlier, was also running with us at that 10 minute pace.
At mile 3, I smiled to myself, because neither of my calfs had cramped and I took that to be a good omen.
At mile 4, I was surprised how fresh I was feeling. The course took us through Old Naples and a block from the beach. The setting was spectacular. When I saw the mile 5 marker, I got happy and said to myself “new personal record” and decided to listen to my ipod shuffle for a bit. My “pacers” seemed to be doing fine, but I was ready to start picking up the pace a tiny bit. So I left them and ventured on my own……into the unknown 😉
I found a real nice stride and coupled with some great music I just enjoyed my little adventure. Around mile 9, I started looking at runners ahead and setting my sights on someone I thought I could catch up to. Once I did, I would look ahead again for the next one.
I did not run this race in my VFF’s. I ran it in my Nike Free’s
The reason I decided on my Nike’s was two fold.
1. I never ran a really long distance in my VFF before
2. Don’t laugh……I knew I would be the only person there in VFF. I was worried that if I didn’t finish the race, or collapsed somewhere, people would say, “You know, that guy that collapsed with the funny shoes….”
At mile 8 and 9 my feet felt very very warm. It was really the only discomfort I felt all race. When I hit mile 11, I got very very excited. I felt like I had made it. But then…..that mile got tough. I turned up my music louder and started singing along. Might have not sounded great for others, but it fired me up and before I knew it, mile 12 was in sight. I ran the last mile trying to pick of as many runners as I had the energy for.
I made it through the finish line at 2:10 and 35 seconds.
I felt fantastic and I took my shoes off as fast as I could. Some observations and thoughts: I wasn’t surprised but yet I was grateful that I never felt winded. Hey, I sang out loud at mile 11. Short burst intense work outs do really work. The runners “high” really does exist, I felt it around mile 6. I KNOW most runners I talked too had been eating pasta for a few days prior. “carb loading” they called it. I dont have to tell you what I ate : ) In the morning around 6:30 I had a banana, I dont eat those too often, but I was hungry and there were only bagels and bananas. I also will share this with you, around mile 5, the volunteers handed out water and orange gatorade in cups. I had one of those little paper cups filled with orange gatorade. It just looked sooooo inviting. It tasted even better. I tried to “feel” my body actively after ingesting it……….but I noticed nothing. Not even my saliva thickening….which I can feel if I eat sugar now. After the race I was amused that taking steps felt strange. I mean running for 2 hours and then taking normal steps is a sensation you dont feel often. I started getting a bit sore about 3 hours later. The nap in the afternoon felt FANTASTIC. The only sore part this morning are my knees. Interesting because I don’t remember my knees ever hurting. Not from soccer, tennis tournaments or heavy sessions of box jumps. All in all I was really happy I did it. Like I said, it was like an adventure. I won’t be running anytime soon………..I will give you my thoughts on that in my next post about “random-ness”
I got the best comment on Friday. Rusty from Fitnessblackbook , left me a comment that said “you’re famous buddy” When I followed the link I saw
When I saw what Rusty wrote about my little blog, I was so humbled. I can’t thank him enough. I mean sometimes just getting affirmation that what you do is appreciated is so encouraging! And what he said is true, I really like connecting and sharing with all of you. It’s what life is about isn’t it?
Rusty, THANK YOU!!!! I look forward to the day when you visit Naples and I can show you around and we can have a beer on the beach together.
Follow your dreams, put yourself on the line every now and again, and remember that you can do anything you set your mind on.