About six months ago, I participated in and completed the indoor triathlon at the North Rutherford YMCA. After placing second in my group, I decided I want to look ahead and find another, different kind of physical fitness challenge for myself.
After some pondering, I decided to take on the Murfreesboro Half Marathon.
So, I signed up for. And as I was registering and parting with my registration fee, I though--man, I hope I don't have bad luck and hurt my foot so I can't take part.
Then, the next day I got a stress fracture in my toe.
Which threw off my training schedule a bit. Because it's a bit hard to run in a walking boot.
But after two months of no running, I got back out there with about two months left to train and decided I'd go after my goal--to complete the whole 13.1 miles without hurting myself and in under three hours. So, I began training..and I will admit it took a week or two to feel like I was getting back to a point where I felt confident about trying to run the race.
Thankfully, I had a lot of encouragement from a lot of people who helped me not to give up on myself.
But headed into the last few weeks, I was starting to get a bit nervous. It hit a high pitch the past couple of days because I'd told more than a few people I was going to do run in the event Saturday. It didn't help that I watched "Run Fatboy Run" a couple of months ago and while it's funny, scenes of what Simon Pegg went through kept coming to mind. I also had these crazy visions because of the requirements of the race-they wanted everyone to do at least a 15 minute mile or else you'd be disqualified. I kept seeing myself running my heart out as everyone else in the event was way, way out in front..and my not completing my goal of finishing.
Anyway, the day finally arrived and I nervously headed out very early this morning to take part. I felt as ready as I was going to get, after spending a lot of time wondering how I should layer up for the cooler morning and what playlist I wanted on my iPod to help distract me during the run.
So, all of these crucial decisions made and wearing my new, expensive pair of running shoes I'd picked up after the fractured toe, I went out and joined the 2000 people taking part in the event. As a person who likes to people watch, I'll admit that it was fascinating to watch the various participants as we all stood around waiting for the race to start. Some people were in groups, all running together for some event, cause or person. Others were stretching nervously, some weren't making eye contact, others were drinking lots of water. There were intense looks, nervous looks, smiles, confident looks and "holy cow, what have I got myself into?" looks.
And then...we were off.
Well, maybe. We had a false start and after being penalized five yards (did you really expect a post this time of year without some kind of football reference), we were off. I'd sort of slid into the middle of the back, not wanting to be overconfident, but not wanting to be last. And, so it began.
Now, let me just say that it was great weather today for the event. And early on, I felt good, shedding my long-sleeved t-shirt I'd worn for early warmth in the first mile. (They were collected to give to Goodwill). For the first half, I felt pretty good, cruising along at a comfortable pace and enjoying a couple of segments I'd missed of yesterday's Rick and Bubba show as a I went. (Bless the Extreme Club!) I'll admit that once I got past four miles and it was all single digits between me and the end of the race, that there was no turning back. I was determined at this point to make it but not going to push it. Standing in line to use the men's room before the half marathon, I'd been regaled with horror stories of guys cramping up during the Music City Half Marathon. Not exactly adding to the confidence, but I kept reminding myself that this half marathon was less hilly than the Music City half...
Plus my goal was to finish--not to set any world record. Believe me, I saw the serious racers up front at one point when the course doubled back on itself. It looked like they were working too much to me...I was there to have fun.
And I'll admit I did. I got to run/jog through Murfreesboro, see the sights and work up a really big appetite. I had originally planned to walk some of the race, but tried it at a water station after the midway point and found that wouldn't work for me. My legs were in a rhythm, so I decided to keep going and not ruin it (again visions of cramping up kept coming to my mind...)
So, all of that is to say--I did it. Officially, I ran/jogged 13.1 miles in 2:30.36 which averages out to 11:30 per mile. And I finished the race, which was my overall goal. No cramping, no having to drop out, none of that. I have to admit I am pretty proud of that and happy I can cross that off my bucket list of things to do before I go to the great Neyland Stadium in the sky. I ended up 1056 out of 2000 people. (Full results HERE
So, I did it. I'm happy and proud. And now, I am going to go and find one of those 13.1 stickers and proudly display in on my car....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/03/2009 03:20:00 PM