The Wild Half Marathon & 8K – 8/26

September 24, 2012

Wow… what a learning experience.  That’s about the best I can say about this run.  Let’s get the details out of the way first, and then I’ll explain a bit further.

NAME:  The Wild Half
LOCATION:  Wildwood, NJ
DATE: 8/26/12
TIME: 3:03:50
PACE: 14:02/ mile
There was a real nice group turn out for this run… Jennifer came down with me and ran the 8K, Nancy & Martin were there as well, while my best friend Joe ran his FIRST EVER half-marathon, along with Nancy’s cousin Ann Marie!  Nice turnout for the race and, after some skepticism regarding the weather (We woke up to thunder & lightning at 5a to start getting ready for race), it turned out to be a nice, sunny… hot… and humid… day.
Hot and humid.  This is not a formula for success for me, as past runs have dictated.  Regardless, I’m positive I’m going to knock several minutes off my time from my first half marathon and spend the rest of the day relaxing and basking in my success.
Also, this is my first half in my Five Fingers – as well as the longest distance I’ve ever run in barefoot shoes – and I’m actually REALLY excited about it!
Race starts, and we’re all cruising together for about a half mile… Nancy & Ann Marie separate from Joe and I, while Martin is slightly behind us.  We’re apart, but together, for the first few miles.  The pace is fast for me… Joe’s in much better shape than I, but I keep up with him and Ann Marie for over 5.5 miles.  Nancy and Martin are behind us, but not by too much.
Mistake #1 – I am my own runner… I can not run at the same pace others can, only my own.
We decide to walk for a bit, and when we restart I immediately can not keep up with him.  I send him away and Ann Marie and I are running together deciding if we should wait for Team Mancy or not.  Ann Marie decides to push her pace a little, and I wait for the dynamic duo because, at this point, I can barely run.
Turns out Nancy and I are kinda in the same boat… she needed a breather just as much as I did so, with Martin kicking back up his pace, Nancy and I walk for a bit and try to remind ourselves that we actually LIKE doing this and need to keep going!
Now, for the first time EVER running (regardless of length), I feel what I think was ‘cramping’.  I could feel my calves start to tighten up a little… but this is where it gets weird – when I would stop to stretch them out, I could feel them actually start to tighten up!  I could feel it climb up my calf.  I stopped stretching, it slid down.  I have NO idea what caused this… but it def made me keep my feet closer to the ground and not run on the balls of my feet.
Few miles later Martin is waiting for us, and the 3 of us run… wait, let me rephrase… the 3 of us stay together because Nancy and Martin wait with me because, at this point, I literally cant stay hydrated.  I’m soaked head to toe clothing-wise, but dry as as bone physically.  I’m walk/ running at this point, not sure I’m even going to finish.  My feet are barely coming up off the ground and, when I ‘run’ it’s at most a half-mile before I need to stop.
Mistake #2 – I need to get a lot more educated on my hydration issues… I’m drying up WAY too quickly and it could lead to serious issues.
At Mile 11, however, I get a little extra motivation:
There’s Jennifer… 8K medal around her neck, ready to get her jog on w/ me and help me get these last few miles.  I’m way back in the pack so there’s not a lot of people around me, so Jennifer starts to run w/ me a little and what do I see?  All alone, on the other side of the road, are my Mom and Dad… Mom cheering like I’m gonna win Olympic Gold, and Dad snapping photos left and right.
Between Jennifer, Mom and Dad I finally knew I was gonna finish.  Took almost 12 miles for me to realize it, but this was the moment I knew.
Mistake #3 – Races of this length are as much mental as they are physical… my negative thoughts made this MUCH more difficult than it probably should have been.

So… 3 hours and 3 minutes later, I was done.  10 minutes slower than my first one.  My legs were literally shaking when I finally sat down. I couldn’t speak.  I was a HOT MESS.  
This was a tough one for me.  I need to take a step back and really figure out some things about me, how I run, how my body reacts to running, how I can mentally prepare better, etc. I like what I’m doing, but I don’t like how I felt after that.  It was scary… uneasy… humbling.  For the first time since I started this quest I feel like I have a limit… at least for the short-term.
Gotta change some things for sure – and when I do y’all will be the first to know!
As for the good – I finished my 2nd half-marathon of 2012… that’s pretty freakin’ amazing.  I also did my 1st half-marathon in Five Fingers – no small feat whatsoever.  
Here’s a video of the race… and there might be someone you recognize high-fiving his Mom around the :24 second mark 🙂

Perspective, people.  Perspective.  It’s amazing to think that 10 months ago I was 350 pounds and now I’m complaining about my time in my 2nd half-marathon.
For now, I have a bunch more races left in 2011 that I need to prep for.  My last race of 2012 will be on Thanksgiving day and then I take a well-earned rest from organized running – until New Year’s Day 2013 that is! 🙂

(PS – Thank you to Nancy for the great photos!)

One comment

  1. […] for me but between a mid-race ‘nature break’ :), less than stellar training as well as bad, bad memories from the last time I did this race, I definitely can’t complain about my performance. I felt great when I was done (the […]

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