This morning I embarked on a new journey. A couple of weeks ago I signed up to run the Secret City half marathon in Oak Ridge. I had intentions of running before hand, but do to various different things, I did not make it out on a run a single time between the Marine Corps marathon and the Secret City half marathon. Not only did I not run since the marathon, but I did nothing to prepare for this half marathon — I did not hydrate adequately yesterday, sleep well, or eat appropriately. This was going to be a moment of truth — how hard was a half marathon going to be for me with no preparation.
This was also the first race that I did all by myself, there was no one I knew with me at the start line. There was also no one there at the finish line. I was in this by myself and had to find my own inner strength for it.
I left my apartment around 7:30 after a breakfast of toast, sunflower butter, a banana, and a cup of coffee. I arrived around 7:50 leaving just enough time to get myself to the start line and not have to stand around for long. The race gun went off at 8:10. The weather was a nice 55 degrees with a slight cloud cover. I actually ran in capris and a short sleeve shirt, only feeling chilly at the start line and when I my body cooled down after the race. A much warmer day then yesterday.
I thought I had looked at the race course, but obviously did not read the description as I did not realize it was a two loop course. I am personally not a fan of having to do the same course twice… it has to do with passing my car which makes me want to be done. I did great for the first half of the marathon. At mile 5 I was running at 58 minutes, which is great in my opinion! I continued to do well as I passed the start line again and through mile 8. Somewhere around mile 8 I lost heart in the race. Honestly my legs felt fine, but I lost the desire to run. I ended up doing a fair bit of walking in the last 5 miles and saw my time getting slower. At that point I was just ready to finish, but seemed to lack the heart to run. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 41 minutes. Not a stellar time, but another half marathon in the books.
The race had 800 or so runners, with some being marathon relays (two runners who split the half marathon – each doing a loop). They required a 3 hour finish time, so I think that deterred several runners from running. I was proud that the race winner and the next 4 runners were the only ones that lapped me on this two loop course. I was almost at mile 6 when the race leader came by, he was booking it and the second place guy was several minutes behind him. I guess that was one perk of the two loops, I got to actually see the race leader.
With the smaller race, that also meant there were a lot fewer spectators, so the energy as great. All in all though, it was not a bad race. I learned that much more about myself and what my body can do. I now know that if I just keep running smaller distances with an occasional longer run, I can do half marathons when they come up. I also know that I prefer the larger races with more runners and more spectators. While it was not my favorite race, I would consider doing it again — there were very few hills, which is always a good thing in my book.
Plus I got another medallion to add to the collection.
What do you do to prepare for a race?