Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Half-Marathon

WOOHOOO!!!! I ran the half-marathon on Sunday. For those not in the know, my mom and I (as well as a few of her friends) have been in the training for a half-marathon the last 6 months or so. The training has been brutal, but it's also paid off.

It was the Rock & Roll Half-Marathon, with live bands every mile. Of course, that really sweetened the idea of doing this run. I love rock, and what better way to run than while enjoying it?

I'll admit this right away: I didn't run the whole thing. Bummer, but I made it all the way to the 11th mile marker before having to stop for a walking break. Considering the furthest distance I had ran previous, without walking stops, was 3.2 miles, 11 miles is absolutely insane. In all, I ran about 12 of the 13.1 miles, with a time of 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 22 seconds. Yes, the seconds matter.

This is the course of the race, for reference:It wound through first the streets of downtown Chicago, and then along the water. At points, you could see the fastest runners on their way back from the loop, which was cool.

They had 21 delayed start corrals, each with about 1000 people in them. I was in corral 20, along with my mom and a few of her friends. By the 10K mark, I had passed a person we knew in the 17th corral, meaning I had moved forward 3,000 people. I started with a pace group of 3:15 (we would finish at three hours and 15 minutes). I ended with the 2:30 group, an incredible span of time to move ahead.

Actually, it was a really enjoyable run until the 10K mark. I had no trouble breathing, my legs didn't hurt, and I didn't get any cramps from lack of breathing. unfortunately, around that point, I started to have horrible stomach cramps, the kind many get when they run long distance. It was bearable, but made what could have been a fun run not so much fun.

I stopped for a walking break at mile 11 because my legs hurt incredibly bad. They had started aching around mile 8, but it was practically unbearable by that point. I walked for about half a mile, but the pain in my legs wouldn't go away. I started to run again, figuring I could make up for a bit of lost time. When my heart started feeling really funky, like it was missing a beat, I stopped again. Scary, huh? I walked another half mile or so, with a few little bursts of running here and there.

Finally, during the last half mile, I had a realization: my legs hurt just as bad whether I was running or walking. I figured running would just get me to the end, and end the pain a little, faster. I ran from that point on, but kept close watch on how my body felt, especially my heart.

When I got to the final stretch, surrounded by families of runners and people who had already finished, I was incredibly relieved. Despite that, the race wasn't over yet.

The P.A. system was blasting rock songs, tying in with the theme of the marathon. All of a sudden, the song "Pinball Wizard" by The Who came on. It's one of my favourite songs to run to, and it inspired me to use up that last little bit of energy I had to sprint the last 100 yards or so.

I finished, as mentioned, with a time of 2 hours and 33 minutes. Everyone who was with me kept telling me how amazing that was, and how amazing it is that I made it 11 miles without stopping. However, I'm not going to say it was amazing. I say it was an amazing tribute to the stupidity and stubbornness of a 14-year old boy. Only one of us could manage to do something so incredibly painful and dumb as this, without stopping and realizing that at some point.

Finishing was, well, an incredible relief. I was tired, in incredible pain, but I did it. My legs still hurt, three days later, and I move like a 70 year old man. But it was worth it.


Diane said...

i love the idea of the bands!

you got a pretty cool mom, you know that? she's got a cool son too!

you guys rock! CONGRATS! srsly, i admire you!!

CHASE said...

Congrats, most definitely!! I did my rock 'n' roll half marathon almost a year ago now, and they are seriously brutal, but so worth it to say you finished.

ALittleGuitar said...

Good work on the race! Your time was indeed very good for someone who'd never run farther than 5k at once. I used to run regularly (did a few marathons) and would really like to get back to it.