Team Boomer at the La Jolla Half Marathon

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I don't know if I am the first person this year to run with the Team Boomer logo, but I definitely had a great opportunity to start spreading the word at the La Jolla Half Marathon this past Sunday. I will say this about the La Jolla Half...IT WAS BRUTAL!!!

Never in my life have I been in so much pain the day after a race. I mean serious pain. However, considering the fact that I was cleared to run only two weeks ago (recovering from tendinitis in my left hip/buttocks) and swimming was all I've been able to do for training until then, I think my results on Sunday were great!

In a race where two people nearly died and five others suffered significant injury, Team Boomer finished with a final time of 2:12:38, just six minutes off of my best time at the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

La Jolla was a very crowded course. It took about three miles or so to get spread out enough to start really running. As you can see from the picture below, many people are still milling around even after the race has started because it was so crowded (the line of people behind the ambulance are runners already off on the race):
Miles one and two were an average of 10:23, although I know mile one took me almost 11 minutes becuase of the crowd and my self-diagnostics. I just wanted to make sure that I was healed sufficiently from the injury. My running partners were also battling back from injury, so we were all pretty happy to just work through our paces.

My watch wasn't exactly cooperating with me for this race, so I couldn't get exact splits, but for the next four miles, I ran an average of 10:21. Clearly, it was going to be a slow day. Around mile three, I realized I didn't have any pain, yet I was just so slow from a lack of training.

I remember being after mile six, having just climbed a brutal hill up from the beach to Torry Pines Park (0ft-420ft in less than a mile), and deciding that I wanted to really run this thing. I wasn't going to just sit back and watch the miles tick by. So I started reeling folks in, one after another. It wasn't easy because we kept going up smaller hills even after the killer hill, but I was doing it! I hit a 9:50 mile for mile seven. It still wasn't good enough, but I was trying to loosen up my already beat up body. Mile 8 was a horrible 11:24, but that was simply because I went up another hill and walked through a water station.

Then I hit 9:28 on mile nine...things would start clicking now. It was too late to do anything major, but it was a start. At least I could still hit those times! Mile ten was 9:43...a little off of what I needed and wanted, but still doing great considering I was hitting a negative split.

I started going down a steep hill on mile 11. My body was so weak by now that I wasn't even able to slow myself down. I knew I would pay for it the next day, but I just couldn't stop. I ran an 8:48 on that mile. It was horrible, but what a great time!

Then I saw the ambulance... As I passed, I saw a guy lying down on the side of the road. I had seen that a few times before with people cramping up or throwing up, but this one was different. This guy have wires running all over him and he had been hooked up to the ventilator thing. The thing that freaked me out the most was the paramedics starting CPR.

Up until that moment, I had been thinking about running even harder to try and beat my time at Carlsbad. The thought that immediately flashed through my mind as I saw those paramedics trying to bring that man back from the doorstep of death was "I AM MORTAL!" I know that is a weird thought to have while running a half marathon, but I slowed down. "It isn't worth it Dan," I told myself. I still managed a 9:39 for mile 12.

The last mile was all heart. I ran another self-diagnostic after seeing that guy almost die, and realized that I had no energy left. I had taken three gu gels, lots of water (almost every water station), and still I was shot. But I knew I could finish well if I just kept going, so I kept going. It was a slow mile, but it was a great one. As I came down the last hill, I just kept whispering "Kick!" "Kick!" It was all I could do to keep moving! Final for that one was 11:28, and that includes the .1 mile at the end.
That was such a welcome site to see! I finished the race at 2:12:38, which will need to get much better before the New York City Marathon, but it is good for now. I'm so happy with that race. I know I have the ability to keep moving, so I just need more training.

One of the coolest things about this race was that people were calling out for me! My name wasn't on my shirt, so they couldn't say "Go Dan!". Instead, I kept hearing, "Go Team Boomer!" That rocked! Most importantly, I hope that maybe a few of those folks that saw me run went home to look up Team Boomer and find out what we're fighting for.

Bring on the NYC Marathon! Ok, not yet. I need more training.


Christi said...
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Demara said...

Go Team Boomer AND Dan! Awesome job!