Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well, that was easy enough. 2008. Year of the dragon.

I may not be the most dilligent blogger (four posts in two years) but I never miss a race report. So here goes, my 2008 Lehigh Valley half marathon report.

The line.
The ups: It's just the bestest race ever. I always say this, but it's so well-organized, the weather all three times I've done it has been perfect (50s, crisp). I woke up at 7 a.m. for an 8:10 a.m start and walked out the door at 7:50 a.m. Seven blocks later I'm stretching and at the starting line. I get there as the star-spangled banner is playing. Excellent.

The downs: Somehow, my long run of five miles a month ago wasn't enough training. Seems running twice a week three and four miles isn't enough. By mile 10 my right knee hurt so bad I was stopping every 20 yards, stretching and praying. Did first 10 miles at a 10-minute mile pace. The final 3.1 miles took me 40 minutes. Final time: 2:19 Pace: 10:41. My slowest race time ever. And 30 MINUTES off my PR.

The long report:
Ate half a banana, half a Cliff bar, half a cupa coffee, an orange, quarter bagel. Washed it down with some water. Thankfully did not feel the beers I had the night before. Bless Light beers.

My black shorts still fit. I wear em every race so that's good. I've gained some inches around the midsection. (See above beer reference).

Off I went.

Arrived to a chilly, crowded field. Everyone was in great spirits. I couldnt wait to feel that energy rush that comes from the excitement of a race day.

Hmm, a mile in I realize I have not gotten that energy thrill I usually get. I'm fatigued and tired. Hmm, something isn't right.

Around mile 4 I see my baby (aka Bad Man. Only now he's not Bad Man. He's My Man. Yes, life is funny)! The race goes right by his apartment complex. It's his first one. On the loop up I toss him my jacket. On the way back he nearly misses me he's so busy cheering everyone on. He's made some friends and he's chilling with them. He's so adorable. I yell his name. He yells "Go baby go! Go baby!" I'm like glowing because I'm a cornball and ridiculously in love.

Well, that glow didnt last. My knee starts to hurt something awful. Mercifully, we get to the Parkway, which is gravel. The difference was immediately noticable. I honestly think were it not for this 4-mile reprieve I would not have finished the race.

Back to the concrete/asphault for the final 3.1. I can barely move. People are passing me left and right. I experiment with running keeping my right leg straight. That doesn't work.

People continue passing me.

Man I hate being passed.

It's the final sprint into the stadium. Well, sprint for others. I'm hobbling. I dont even try to pass anyone since I am focused on walking and not crawling.

One of the highlights of the Lehigh Valley's race is the stadium finish and they call your name as you get close to the finish line. For the second straight year he misses me DESPITE running with no one else around. I'm mad.

I'm still mad.

I cross. There is Kim, my partner from the beginning. Ah, what a welcome sight! We head to brunch. BUt first, I have to walk five blocks UPHILL to my truck. I barely make it. By the time I arrive to the restaurant (we drove separately) she has ordered me a bloody Mary and is most of the way through her soda. I apologize for making her wait.

The bloody Mary needs more vodka.

So since Sunday everyone's like, that's so great you finished, good for you, I could never run 13.1 miles. And for the first time in my life, I believe em. So I'm 30 minutes off my PR, so I finished at the slowest pace of my entire life. But you know, it felt so good being out there. The way my body felt after the race also felt awesome. Pushing yourself like that, there's nothing like it.

But you know that.