So, that’s how I started my day!  I hope all the other father’s out there had an equally great day!

A half-marathon… 13.1 miles… I will admit to being a little bit sore today… especially in the hippal area… but no pain, no gain, right?  Let’s get right to the chart….

Heart chart

First things first, the first nine miles were pretty much cake… well, actually the first few miles are always tough, but they were actually better than usual as a fellow runner I was rabbiting caught me and told me to slow down and focus on my breathing.  He said the way I was pushing my breathing would end up in a DNF, and that I should not worry about time, just the running…  I have to admit, he was right… I was going wicked slow, but I was running for much longer periods.

But slow… going in, I figured I’d be thrilled with four hours, but wouldn’t be too upset as long as I finished within five… the slower pace was worrisome, but the course was open for six hours, so I figured I’d be fine.

Anyway, so I’m out on the course, running my own pace, and being encouraged cheered by all the strong (skinny) runners who are doing circles around me (literally, there was a loop on the course).  Especially encouraging was the full marathon runners out there leading the course who still wasted precious energy to cheer the fat guy on.

So cake… but then about mile 9 my hips were sore and I was feeling a bit peaked and then I hit… well… not the wall… the wall stops you dead in your tracks… I wasn’t stopped, but I couldn’t run worth a darn.  Check the chart above… I’m sure you can spot the wall… I walked mile 11-12… I just couldn’t run, but I drank fluids while I went, called Nefyou West on the phone to wish him a happy Father’s Day and waited for walking cramps to replace running cramps at which point, I ran through them…

…and at the end… that last .2 miles where you can see the finish, and there’s a corridor of people cheering you on… Iran!  I don’t know where the energy came from, but my strides went from short, stumbling steps to wicked long strides!  I felt strong, I felt powerful, I felt… victorious!

…and then I crossed the line and felt tired and every so slightly off-balance!  Whew!

So, did I make my 5 hour target?  Yep… my official time was 3:38:35!  I not only met my goal, I blew it a-freaking-way!

Now I know what you guys are saying… “But Dave, 3.5 hours is pretty awful for a half marathon… I could probably walk it in that.”  That may be true… in fact, the fastest time was half my time… but then I probably weigh 3 times what they do… pound for pound, I was probably the fastest guy out there! 😉  For once, I am unreservedly proud of my showing.  I set a goal, I managed to complete it and I crushed my expectations.

…and I’m a bit sore…

The damage was actually pretty minimal… 1 blister… on my big toe… which I got because I was wearing running shoes rather than toe shoes, but on the plus side, the knee came out fine.  A bit of sun burn as I, once again, forgot sunscreen.  The most important lesson, of course, was that I should have left the heart rate monitor at home.  It would have robbed you of the lovely chart, but that chest strap?  Oh Ye Goddes, does it chaf!  I didn’t actually notice that until I stepped into the shower and that… YEAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

But I’ll heal… I always heal…

So now I can tell you that I will be running in the Chicago Rock’N’Roll half marathon next month.  I was very worried about that one because the course is only open for 3.5 hours.  That leaves me  with five weeks to pick up 10 minutes.  Daunting, but I don’t think the key lies in speed.  I think endurance is the key.  Pushing that wall out past 13 miles, so that I can run through the entire course and not waste a mile on the phone.  That’s going to be my plan, anyway… that and continued work on my breathing.  Wish me luck, okay?  Any Chicagolanders can, of course, feel free to cheer me on… that’s always a nice thing.

Oh and new ticker… will post later as I really have to get some cat litter!