I woke up at 4:30am the day of and got down to Indy. It had snowed Friday night and Saturday morning was not warm. I tried to warm up by jogging around, but my knee was sore the whole time and I could barely eek out a jog.
How am I gonna run a half-marathon with this?
I hate drugs, but I downed a few [more] ibuprofen to try and dull the pain in my knee and kept stretching as we waited for the starting line to start to fill up. I wasn’t seeded so I squeezed in where I could by the 9 and 10 mile pacers. As the race started, it took a few minutes to get to the starting line, but once I did, I set off. Immediately, my leg starting hurting. Every time my left foot hit the ground, I felt a pain shoot up through my knee. Not good. About a quarter-mile in I tried to convince myself that the pain wouldn’t last that long. After realizing that 13 x (however many steps are in a mile) is a much more discouraging number than I thought, I gave up my math efforts.
My knee kept hurting the entire time, but I tried my best to stop focusing on the pain and just focus on the mileage. It helped that I had some distractions. For the first 10 miles, I was literally asked about my shoe, at least once a mile. As people ran up next to me to ask, I riddled off the canned responses:
- Yes, I wear Vibrams
- Yes, it takes time to get used to them
- Yes, I like them [or why else would I be running a half-marathon in them?]
I’m usually more gracious when people ask me about Vibrams. I get that people are intrigued and want to ask questions, but I was so focused on not dying during the race, that I was probably not the best conversationalist. If you saw me during the race and asked questions and I was jerk, I’m sorry. Next time ask me when I’m not in the mood for amputation my own leg.
As we passed, the 10 mile marker, the questions stopped. I think everybody started to focus more on running than spotting the the latest fashion trends from their fellow runners. I tried to convince myself that I only had a 5k left. Simple. The mile markers seems to get farther apart [a direct result of my pace slowing], but I kept going.
As I passed the 13 mile marker, I began to round the corner of the block for the last 1/10th mile. As I did, I noticed the crowd started to roar:
Wow these people are really encouraging.
My time was slower than most and I was pushing the 2 hour mark. I know people are awesome, but I was really becoming impressed that people were cheering so loudly for someone so far back in the pack. As I began to enjoy the roar of the crowd, I started to look around. As I glanced to my right I notice a Kenyan [Leonard Muchero] sprinting past me with an vehicle escort. It was then I realized the crowd was cheering for the first finisher of the full marathon, and not me.
I tried to kick a little more so I could finish up before him, but he was moving way too fast. He finished to a round of cheers and I finished a few seconds behind him.
I still “beat him” since I started a few minutes after he did:
My Time: 2:14:18.2
His Time: 2:17:58.4
You can see the full results here. Feel free to disregard the fact that he ran a full 13.1 miles farther than me =)
Overall, The race wasn’t “hard’ in the typical sense. My slower pace allowed me to run all 13 without getting overtly tired, but my knee hurt a lot more than I expected. Bum knees and extremely fast Kenyans aside, I’m very happy with the race. I ran it for me. Even though I didn’t train for this half marathon like I should have, I still was able to do it, bum knee and all. I wasn’t FAST, and my time isn’t a PR I want to keep for a long time, but I’m happy with it. There were lots of times I wanted to just stop running, give up and go home, but I kept going.
A Short Video
Thank you guys for your encouragement. I got lots of messages and emails about the race and I really appreciate all of them so I shot a video right after the race for you guys. Sorry if I sound a little incoherent, I was a little tired.
A Small Milestone
This weekend, last year, I ran my first race ever. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been an athlete, but I’ve never have been a runner. If you’re a non-athlete, that might sound odd, but it’s very possible. I played basketball for 10 years and the majority of our running was spent doing suicide sprints. Even when I competed in Track & Field in College, I purposely threw javelin in order to avoid running events.
So November 1st last year, was my first race ever. A friend asked me to do it, so I signed up. It was a simple 5k and the first time I ever ran farther than 2 miles. This weekend I ran 13. There have been faster progressions, no doubt, but last year I would have never imagined being able to run 13 miles in a month…much less consecutively.
Sometimes, it’s amazing how your perspective can change in a year…Where are you going to be in a year?