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My First Half-Marathon

I am still hurting all over the day after — very badly. It was pure torture to say the least. I could barely walk up stairs today, the day after doing my first Half Marathon. To tell the truth, I could not even bring myself to step up a 3″ curb on the sidewalk today. But it was great fun.

The day started early. Suanne drove me to UBC just in the nick of time. I had barely 3 minutes before the race start after having lined up for 10 minutes at the port-a-loos. Seems like everyone is waiting to make a final pee before the start.

I tried to get to near the start of the line because I figured I’ll be one of the slowest runner and I better have a head start or else I will be quite lonely towards the end.

It started off OK. I was telling myself to run at my pace. My goal was to consistently stay within the 8:00 minute/km pace and I will make it well within my goals. The starting pace was 5:30 which was good and I felt strong.

At about the 13km mark, I begin to feel slight pain developing near the ball of my feet. It was my plantar fasciitis acting up and it was acting way too soon. I knew it was a starting sign of trouble and so I eased up hoping that it will go away. At that point I could begin to see Stanley Park in the far distance across the bay.

My longest run was 17K done two weeks prior. At the 17K mark, I looked at my watch and I am still ahead of my last 17K time. I was encouraged but knew it was still 4K to go. Then things went worse at the 18K mark. That’s when I get twitches which developed into cramps on both my thigh muscles. At some point it was so bad that my thigh muscles were as hard as rock. An ambulance rolled by and checked if I needed help but I ignored that. A runner asked if I am in pain. You bet I am … but I just waved them away saying I am OK.

I had to ease off more and started to walk. At that point, I knew that 2 hrs 45 minutes is outside my reach. But am determined to finish it before the 3 hr mark.

I did it at the nick of time, with just 2 minutes to spare! (that’s right … that’s me at the finishing line). It felt great but when I stopped I could barely move at all. Suanne and the boys were there at the finishing line to cheer me and I was so glad to see them. He he he … I think the boys think really highly of their dad despite the lousy time he did it in — I can see it in their eyes. Suanne told me that they were worried that I will not make it in 3 hrs and was saying repeatedly “uh oh, dad is not going to make it”.

After the race, both of them declared they wanted to do the half-marathon too … and that, to me, was priceless.

Well, I did not finish last. I finished second to last in my age group. LOL! But it does not matter to me, really. What really matters to me is that I had a goal, set my mind to it and achieve it … and I want my boys to learn that too.

So, what did Mr Chowtimes eat during the run? Suanne bought me the GU Energy Gel from The Running Room. It was about $2 per pack and each one of them packs a 100 calories. I had two packs during the run. Frankly, I did not like these espresso types … too thick for me. It’s like eating mushed up coffee beans. I like the orange flavoured ones they gave us on the route better.

So, after all the pain, almost 70 hours of running, hundreds of miles of running, I got the medal above just for finishing the Half. I realize now how difficult it is to run the full Marathon and how much more I need to prepare for it. I am going to take a break from running the next month or so and switch to cycling.

Will I continue to run? You bet I will. But I’ll just do another Half Marathon this year before deciding if I should go for the Full Marathon next year.

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Getting Ready for My First Half Marathon

Alrighty … this blog posting today is not about food but about something that is sort of consuming my life.

I must admit … for some reason, I am just so obsessed with running for the past few months. Some of you know that earlier this year, I had started a blog (http://26miler.com) which I had hoped to chronicle my personal attempt to do the Marathon. Well, I stopped maintaining that site because I simply had no time to maintain it. But … I did not stop running. No siree.

However, my goals had changed. I had since realized that aiming for the Marathon will take significantly longer time that I had anticipated. I also realized how far a 42km Marathon really is … not to mention, how painful it could be!

Since then I had first completed the 8km Harry Rosen Spring Run Off and also the 10K Vancouver Sun Run. Coming up next will be the Scotia Bank Half Marathon in two weeks time. I am all excited over it and had been thinking of it all day long despite having to deal with some major crisis at work too.

Last weekend, I ran the longest I had ever ran before in my life. I did the 17km circuit around the Richmond Dykes … starting from near where the new 2010 Olympics Skating Oval is right up to No 3 Rd and Steveston.

The above is the route I took. I downloaded the route from my GPS watch to Google Earth.

The 17K run was the longest before the actual Half Marathon (21km). I must say up front that I had never consider myself a natural athlete, not at all. The 17K run was described in one word … painful. The last 1.5 km was pure torture. I was so tempted to just walk the last 10% of the distance. Once I stopped at the 17km mark, I could hardly walk and practically spent the whole day in bed recovering from the pain.

Since I last blogged on 26miler.com, I had since gotten myself custom othortics which helped a lot. The pain in the knee is now history but am still dealing with the painful plantar fasciitis problem. I am still able to manage it thru stretching and Tylenol.

My time was terrible by many counts. Many runners would laugh at my 2 hrs 15 minutes time over that distance but I did it without stopping at all. I had targeted to complete this in 2hr 15min but exceed it by 45 seconds. I think I am on track for the Half Marathon in 2hr 45min.

Oh, I really liked the Garmin Forerunner 305 I bought a few months back. I got this GPS watch from eBay which is much cheaper than getting it from the local Canadian stores. It’s awesome and does almost everything you would ever want for training. Without this watch, all my distances were just guestimates.

My primary goal is to complete the Half Marathon within 3 hrs, i.e. before they shut down the course and order the slow pokes to get on the sidewalks! My secondary goal is to complete it in 2hr 45min. I’ll share with you how I did.

Back to blogging about food tomorrow.

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