Can you believe that it’s already February? It really puts in to perspective that time flies
when you’re having fun whether you like it or not. January had a lot of high points, along with a lot of low points. But I’m not going to get in to that right now. The important thing is that I’m back on the upswing and I’m making slow progress on a lot of levels.
And with that, let’s talk about this epic weekend.
The last time I had ran before the Half on Sunday was Jan. 4th. Almost 30 days. I had done a lot of cross training, but not a solid run. So needless to say I was pretty nervous about this race because I knew I could have easily A) injured myself B) not finish or C) Both…because I had spontaneously combusted. I had every intention of running, but I didn’t make the time for it like I should have.
MEETING BART YASSO
That leads us into Saturday, the day of the race expo. Even though I had been to the race expo last year, I felt incredibly insecure like I didn’t belong. Fun fact: sometimes fit people terrify me. Since I’ve gained this extra weight, I have felt incredibly uneasy at times and it’s been frustrating. All I knew was that one of my running heroes, Runner’s World’s Bart Yasso, was going to speak at the expo. A while back, I read his book My Life on the Run and it was incredibly inspiring to see the life-changing impact the sport of running had made on his life. It was oddly relatable to me because even before I started trying to lose weight, I loved running. My true journey really began on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness in Abilene, Texas. I remember going for an hour on it at a solid 3.5 mph while watching the Texas Rangers on the TV. It was hard, but I kept at it. Soon, I started running outside and then eventually, my first 5k. You see, your transformation doesn’t always start when you think it does. Sure I got my eating in order on 9/18/10, but I had already started to build a foundation of fitness about a year prior. For Bart, it was the transition from being addicted to drugs and alcohol to becoming a runner whose new drug was marathons and evangelizing for the sport of running across the globe.
Anyway, Bart got up and started his talk with three consistencies of the successful runners he knows/works with. They slow down on their long runs, go easy (surprisingly easy) on their easy runs, and they avoid injury at all costs (which I know some a unavoidable like tripping and running into parked cars, but you get the idea) which really all of those make a lot of sense. He went on to talk about some of the crazy races he’s ran like a marathon in Antarctica, a naked run in Spokane, Washington, and even the insanly baller Badwater Ultra in Death Valley that actually finishes on the top of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Lower 48. He finished his talk with “never limit where running can take you” which is absolutely true. It was amazing just to hear him talk while staying incredibly humble about it all. It was truly inspiring. After his talk, I went up to him, asked him to sign my book, and took a photo with him. Pretty awesome guy. He actually ran the Half too and I shook his hand again after the race. Pretty awesome guy.
HALF MARATHON RECAP
So like I said earlier, I was pretty worried about this race. My game plan was to just go out there, set a reasonable pace, and let instincts do the rest. I knew that a PR was lofty so I was going to just enjoy the run.
The morning was foggy, but cool. In Florida, foggy usually means an incredibly humid day, which meant this race could really suck. Luckily, my buddy Brian was also running the race so we ran together. I’ve kind of been a lone wolf when it comes to running, so it was nice to have some company! The race started promptly at 7:30 am and we were off. Last year, I started off waaaaaay too fast. My first mile last year was a blitzing 8:39. This year: 10:03…and it definitely played in to my favor. We kept a really solid pace for the first 4 miles together. We kind of did our own thing from then on. I saw a lot of work friends and friends from church along the course which was really encouraging. Around mile 10, I felt awesome, but I did the math in my head and figured that I probably wasn’t going to PR. So, I just enjoyed the last couple of miles. It turned out to be a beautiful morning on one of my favorite trails. That all came to a halt in the last half mile around campus. My legs started to feel like lead and each step was harder than the last. I finally reached the last .1 that went around the track where the finish line was. That is when my calves started to cramp up a little, which was awesome because last year they started cramping around mile 9.
I finished at 2:20:59 which is still a pretty awesome time. I felt waaaaaay better at the finish line compared to last year. I actually enjoyed this half. Why, because I paced myself a lot better this time. I kept thinking about that scene in Home Improvement when Tim and Bob Vila raced their muscle cars. Tim had the opportunity to beat Bob if he had pushed his car a little harder, but he know that if he did, the car that he had been working on for years would blow up. Instead, he held off to race another day. I thought a lot about how I essentially stopped running until October last year after burning myself out on such a brutal half. After a much needed rest day today, I could definitely run a few miles tomorrow and be okay. I’ve learned a lot from this half and I’m ready to start training for another one soon!
Here are a few more photos from the weekend. Enjoy!