Today I did my first running race. The Royal Victoria Marathon has differing lengths (a full marathon, a half marathon, an 8km race, and a 1 km kids race). Since I was too old for the kids race, I entered the 8km.
I signed up with no intentions of grandeur. Even now I am not sure why I entered, but I thought I would try a running race at least. I have been running lately, but nothing great. I am not sure, but I don’t think I have even run 8 km straight.
Jump forward to this morning. An early rise, for an early starting race. “She” was doing the half, and since that started at 7:45, we had to be downtown around 7:15, and we left home late. We did get there on time for the half marathon start, but for a little while, some of the people in our party were a little stressed.
It was a chilly morning, but the sky was clear and cloudless. As the sun rose, my anticipation grew. After I made my way to the 8km starting chute I found myself at the front of the pack. Learning from my mistakes in cross country mountain bike racing I let theose people who wanted to be in front of me move past.
Soon enough my group was off, and all I could think about was holw cold I was. I quickly realized that I was pushing myself too hard, and that if I kept that pace I would blow up before I could finish my race. I backed off, and settled into a comfortable pace while dozens of people streamed past me.
Running into the sun was a great feeling. It warmed my core. The downside is that I was unable to see any of the cheering crowd.
Throughout the whole race I never felt great. I had woke up tired, felt a little sick, and never really felt like running. As I progressed throught the race, I slowly started to feel a little better, but not great.
As I entered the designated cheering section, the crowd making all the noise caused me to run just a little harder, something I did not want to do. As soon as I exited the section, I realized what I was doing, and slowed down.
The run took us along Dallas road up towards Beacon Hill park, into the park to the turnaround point, and back along the same route.
Just before I got to the turn into Beacon Hill park I heard some of my friends cheer for me. I had been told by many people that my cheering had been a great boost to them in theor races. Well, I got to experience that first hand. It truly was a boost. For a few moments I felt great. Then I entered Beacon Hill Park.
I knew the tirnaround was up ahead, and I kept wanting to check my watch to see how my time was doing. I decided I wouldn’t look until I finished. As I ran through the park, I saw Spiderman. Someone was running the half marathon in a full Spiderman costume! It was quite a sight to see. The turnaround eventually came, and I marked the time in my watch, and merged into the half marathoners.
The stream of people heading back to the start line was amazing. I was almost shoulder to shoulder with other runners, and only a few feet off other runners. It was almost claustrophobic feeling.
I had to pickup my pace to keep up with the mob. I soon developed a really bad stitch, and I knew I either had to start walking, or change my pace. My main goal was to run the entire distance, so I opted to slow down and to change my breathing. The stitch got worse and worse, but I kept the slow pace and shallow breathing. Eventually it subsided.
I exited the park, and began the downhill back along Dallas road. I passed the cheering section, and heard them again. I knew that I was over half way, so I plodded along. I couldn’t get over the feeling of slowness. Maybe it was the lack of coffee, maybe it was the air temperature, or maybe it was the early time of day. I am still not sure.
As I got closer to the water station my mouth was extremely dry. I decided to not get anything though because I didn’t want my stitch top return. I decided to run through the station, which proved to be a little difficult as most people stopped to get a drink. I dodged my way through, and kept running.
When I got to Fishermans Wharf I decided to pick up my pace. I extended my leg stroke, but within 5 strides I knew I had to return to my previous pace or I wouldn’t be able to complete the run to the finish line. After slowing again I felt better.
Before I knew it I crossed the finish line, and my race was over. Or was it? I quickly discovered I couldn’t just stop running. I had to do a cool down walk so I got my timing chip clipped, then proceeded to walk around for a bit. After a 10 minute walk I had cooled down enough, and felt much better.
I returned to my truck, put on some dry clothes, then made my way back to the finish line to watch her finish.
My finishing time was 46 minutes 49 seconds, but I am not sure what my official time is. My time to the turnaround was 22 minutes 42 seconds, and my time from the turnaround was 24 minutes 07 seconds.