Half-Marathon 13.1 Miles; Week 16 DONE!!!

Officially, I finished the Pasadena Half-Marathon in 2:34:06. But officially–I’m just happy I FINISHED.

The day was such a perfect day for running. You truly couldn’t ask for a better day! It wasn’t sunny at all, which was a good thing. The day remained gray and slightly drizzly and remained that way throughout the race.

I arrived at about 6:30 at about a block and a half from the race course, after my mistake of thinking that I had found a shortcut through the back-ways. My dad was very patient in my impatience. He dropped me off about a block and a half from the start line. I didn’t have much time to prepare or warm-up, so I jogged the rest of the way there. I found my friends Duane, Mike, Ang, and the rest of our group waiting near the lake at PCC. Excitement was definitely high!

The first 6 or 7 miles were definitely easier than I anticipated. We breezed past the 5K line we ran to last year. I remember saying to myself, “This is where it all started.” I had gotten used to running long runs without a headset, so I didn’t use one throughout the race. I found myself concentrating on my breathing and rhythm. I was never terribly exhausted, but I didn’t find myself taking a shot of GU after mile 7. I kept running the entire race, not stopping to walk except at water stops and to stretch. After mile 9, I started cramping. First, in my right calf, then my left, and after alternating between the two. I stopped to stretch for fear of pulling something or injuring myself, then tried to relax as I finished the last miles. I drank more water and the cramps receded a bit; they were more like annoying pulses surging at inappropriate times. At about a half-mile to the finish line I started to increase speed. That’s when the cramps really started to flare between my right and left calves. It didn’t matter. I had to finish.

Around the last turn and straight away to the finish line, I turned to my buddy Duane, who’d run by me the entire time; gave each other a pound, and said, “Sir, it’s been a pleasure!” We crossed the finish line with arms raised to the sky, a smile from ear to ear. We were the second pair of our group to finish, and as the rest of us crossed it was apparent that the day was a good one.

Right now, I’m nursing a sore arch and heel on my left foot, but other than that, I’m pretty injury free. Even my right knee, that had been given me trouble in earlier weeks, hasn’t flared up much. I did tape it up for race day, so that definitely helped. No blisters; some slight irritation with the nips after the race, but than swelled down in a day and a half; some soreness, but nothing serious.

I thought I’d have some profound thing to say about myself at the end of this, like I had some sort of lesson to be learned. But I think I’ve explained away enough of the things I learned to appreciate about myself in the process of this unfolding.

Ultimately, the training itself has been the profound lesson. I can see how everything I learned during this process can be applied to my life. I’m very thankful that this is out of the way, and I’m sure I’ll be running more races in the future; perhaps even a full marathon someday. I think this is the best shape that I’ve ever been in–both physically and mentally. I’m so very glad that I discovered this appreciation of running, and I hope I discover more of what life has to offer!

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