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.