Well this is likely the best result of the race- getting the hefty medal at the finish line. Wow did that feel good! I’m not sure what I do with it, but it was great to wear for the post-race hooplah.
Sometime Sunday night the results were posted online and I will have a few more photos to publish when I develop the disposable camera I had carried:
My half-marathon numbers
Okay, so I finished in 2:23 and I did have an unsaid goal/hope for better that 2:30. My pace was a shade under 11 minutes per mile, with a 10k split two minutes slower than running the New Times 10k.
I do think I could have done better, maybe 2:15, and I remember about 1/3 the way in thinking, “Do I push hard or do I just finish and say that is enough?” and I more or less chose the latter.
The night before was fairly routine… well not, I’ve never prepared for a half-marathon before, There was getting my gear ready, trying to drink lots of water, getting the timing chip ready on the shoe, trying to drink lots of water, deciding what to carry, trying to drink lots of water.
Getting ready the night before
With 2 alarms sent, I woke up and got going on time as planned to get down to the parking area at ASU, but underestimated the company. Traffic inched south of Rural Road, and it soon closed west of Rio Salado Parkway. I was able to nudge east and got into the lot east of Sun Angel stadium, and ended up pretty darn close to the finish area. But by the time I boarded a bus it the line of others waiting was wrapping the end of the lot (note to self, arrive half an our earlier next year).
People were lauered up in heavy tops and rain gear, but I know how quickly it warms, and that our local weatyher forecasters are pair liars, so I was down to a tank top and shorts (better to start a little colder).
We arrived to the start area around 7:20 AM, missing the Team-D group photo by a few minutes. With all the extra hybdration, I needed a restroom pretty badly, and I had company! I took the advice I heard the day previously at the Expo, and got back in line, and by the time that was done, I left my gear bag at the dropoff, and it was time to get to the starting area.
Runners are grouped by “Corrals”, roped off areas on Jefferson Street for 1000 runners based on estimated start time. Our Team-D group has all closen a 2:30 time so we’d start together, and we had a rowdy group of matbe 25 among the crowd. The corrals are released in waves (it does not matter exactly when you start as the tiniug chips attached to our shoes record our personal start and finish). It was 8:30, and the first corral was released, but looked like it would be 15 minutes before our start. There was time for one more needed and necessary porta potty break (the lines were much smaller, and that worked well).
By 8:50 we were inching forward walking, and then we were below the start line among the yellow balloons. And just like that we were off! Slow and easy, slow end easy, was the plan. And so the crowd moved, east o Jefferson, north on 7th Avenue. People were dropping their gloves and layers quickly as the sun made it very warm very quickly. We passed maybe 2 bands before heading east on McDowell. The first few miles felt good, at about a 10:30 minute per mile pace. The only thing wrong with my pace was it seemed I got to most of the first few bands as they were finishing a song!
It seemed to get very very quickly! It felt the hottes of any running I had done, and took advantage of most water stops. The crowd pertty much was the same desnity of tunners (a lot), and you needed to weave quite a bit (saw one nasty runner collision, but both were okay and got off the ground). The people along the way were great, hand slapping, cheerleaders, yelling encouragement to strangers.
Right around mile 7.5, I was fortunate to be greeted by my wife, who got some good photos of me crusing by just south of McDowell. Why am I smiling so damn much? It looks like I am enjoying myself.
Why is the person who “hates” running smiling?
It was sometime after all the smiles, I felt a bit lagging, and slowed down knowing of the long gentle hill climbing east on Van Buren. You could see just a sea of runners snaking up the roaf ahead. And what a sight it was to crest the hill, to see Tempe, and know there was just 2 miles to cruise in to the end.
The crowd and adrenaline at the finish was awesome, though my “kick” was sputtering. The lane seemed to keep curving back and around behind Sun Devil Stadium.
And the crows and group energy of accomplishment was tremendous. There must have been (actually I have no idea) 60,000 friends, family, runners, support staff there. I completely forgot to look at my watch to guess the time (I knew it was less than 2:30). We got our heavy metals, turned in timing chips, picked up fruit and munchies.
I was pretty drained, grabbed my free beer, and headed home, knowing the traffic would be tricky, and knew I was too tired to hang around for the 8:00 PM concert (I hope Collective Soul put on a great show!).
And like that it was over. My legs were not too stiff, and the most achy parts were the bottoms of my feet. I am proud of doing this, with a tinge of regret I did not finish a little stronger. But maybe next time….
And thus, I find I could do a half marathon. Plots in my head unfolde to a year from now abiout perhaps doubling the distance, and changing this site to “I May Not Hate Running” (not ready for full on love).