I was way back in Wave 6 at the start of the race, which was a mistake. However, since this was my first half marathon, I didn't know how to rate my expected time, so I said 2:30. I was passing people right off the bat, which really made me feel good! But I really should have started in a different wave.
Anyway, I started out fairly strong, gaging my legs, breathing, and stride for the first mile while working through the crowd. One of my running friends from church had a goal of a 2:15 or better time, so she (Michelle) said goodbye to me and her husband (Chris) and sped off. Since I didn't think I could possibly do that time, I just tried to find a pace I liked and go with it. That first mile was a 10:39. I remember turning to Chris, my running parter, and saying, "That was way too slow." He took that as a sign to pace me at a faster split and we started passing even more people. Our second mile was 9:14. That was maybe a tad fast, but I needed it to make up for the first mile. My third mile was 9:28, almost exactly where I wanted it! At the end of that mile, Chris said, "Now we're settling in."
I only have a 10 lap memory on this watch, so I started combining miles. My 4th and 5th miles equaled 18:34, so right on time if not just a tad quick. I finally took my first water at 4 miles. Until then, I had passed the stations, using them to get in front of other runners who were slowing down. If I were naturally faster, this would be a good strategy, but since I'm not all that fast, it just helped me clear out of the crowd.
Miles 6-7 were run in 18:49. I remember mile 6 was a 9:09, so that means a 9:40 for mile 7. You have no idea how happy I was to be running under 10 minutes this part of the race! I was making great time even with a few hills! And destroying my goals! By the way, the official time at the 6.6 mile mark, which is the half way point, was 1:03:42, so I was doing quite well.
I ran what equaled 29:25 for miles 8-10, so roughly a 10 minute mile pace for each of those. I was taking a GU gel at this time, taking off my long-sleeved undershirt (yes, that means I was bare-belly until I got my race shirt back on!), and looking for Alicia, who I saw just after mile 8. It was so awesome to see Alicia! Oh, it was so wonderful! And one of the great things that happened then was that Chris ran off to the side and told Alicia something before rejoining me. I didn't know what he told her until after the race. He said, "He's doing really well." That blessed me so much!
19:58 was my time for miles 11-12. Again, I was pleased. Right on time! I was watching my time and thinking, "Wow! I'm going to make it! I'm going to do this!"
Mile 13, the final full mile, was a 9:31 split. I couldn't believe I could turn this performance in this late in the race. I felt so awesome! Towards the end of mile 13, I saw Alicia again and she was cheering for me so loudly!
I can't explain what happened inside of me at that moment. I was just over 150-200 yards from finishing the race, my knees hurt, and I was just elated that I was going to do it. But it wasn't enough. There was my wonderful wife cheering me on, and I just took off. I had to run all the way outside of everyone to get around them, but I did it. I caught up to Michelle (Chris' wife) and ran passed the finish line with her. The official time showed us running across at the exact same time. It was truly only because of Alicia that I got the time I did.
Here was my reward:
Here are my official stats:
Total time: 2:06:33
Ave mile: 9:40
I placed 2887 out of 7105 overall.
I placed 1574 out of 2711 men.
I placed 292 out of 453 the 30-34 men.
And for the final remarks, I want to let everyone know that I ran this race for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I ran wearing a shirt that showed I was part of the CF Striders!
All told, I raised $325 for CF research. It's not much, but it will buy an hour or so of research, I hope! It's just one of many forms of fundraising we do, as you can see from the other posts on this blog.
I have definitely been bitten by the bug, and I fully expect to run again soon! La Jolla Half Marathon is the next up on my list. It's in April, so that will allow me time to work on my speed and weight issues. Anyway, thanks to everyone who gave me their support, especially Chris and Michelle, who supported me by running with me for the last 4-5 Saturdays, and for those who gave toward my fundraising. Thank you!