Thursday, September 22, 2011

My 1 Year Run-iversary

In the Spring of 2010 I made a decision to run a race.  A pack was made with a buddy to run the Akron Half Marathon in September of 2010.  Unfortunately, due to a bought with tendinitis.  I was left to prepare and race on my on my own.  Yes, I skipped running a 5Ks and made a half marathon my first race.

Thankfully,  a fellow runner and friend, Angie to gave me advise on how to prepare.  I remember not really knowing what to expect that morning and kind of chuckle every time I think about that day.  I grew up in Akron and was always aware of the "blue-line" that marks the course.  My only real experience with the marathon was seeing a Kenyan in first place by 20 minutes a few times while I was sitting in traffic.  I never considered running in the race as I was never a real fan of running.  I think sometimes its the result of playing team sports while growing up.  As running was routinely used as a punishment and I never associated it with fun.

As I arrived that morning.  I was in awe at how many people were there.  Not only running, but spectators along that route.  The next thing I learned was your bladder shrinks to the size of a pea before you run a race.  I also learned to always look at the flavor before you take a free GU at the aid station.  I grabbed one and slammed it as I thought this was the "right" thing to do.  It was very warm and chocolate.  It tasted like hot chocolate sludge and I darn near threw it up all over the route.

I also remember breaking off from the marathoners at mile 11 and thinking they were absolutely crazy as there was not any way I could run another mile.  I made my way back to the finish, which is located inside Akron Aero stadium.  It was unreal finishing in front of so many people.  This is when I learned what finisher's bling was.  A volunteer tried to give me a medal and I told her I did not run the marathon.  She replied "No silly, half marathoners get one too!"  I spent the rest of the day wearing it proudly everywhere I went.  That afternoon, I was sore.  My ankle was killing me and I vowed never to do that again.  I had done something I had never thought I would do and was quite satisfied.  My time was 2:10:08.  This race was the most fun race I had ever ran and the only one where I had no expectations and didn't even listen to one song while running.   Thankfully, my good friend Angie ran with me and helped me through my first race.

So this year I will be returning a year later much more prepared than I was a year ago and excited to run my first repeat race hoping to improve over last year.  I'm trying to focus on this goal as I had planned on running the full marathon this year, but unfortunately could not get prepared in time.  So, I am trying not to get down about that and remain focused on the positives.  I will be targeting a better time than 2:10:08 and who knows.  Maybe if they run gods are kind, I'll make a run at my PR time of 1:56:03.

Yeah!!! Beer and bling!!!!!

As you all know this was not my last race.  Over the past 12 months I have ran 6 other half marathons.  I went to bed that evening never wanting to run again and awoke the next morning thinking.  Wouldn't it be cool to run a marathon?  I think we all know how that turned out.



Heather said...

Awesome post! My favorite is that you were going to turn down the medal - that's the best part!!!!! Lol.
Good luck this weekend - I'm sure you'll kill it.

annarunning said...

Great post! I'm excited to run this race that is so highly talked about by many runners. See you along the blue line!

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

love this post. it's awesome to see what you can accomplish in a year. and what a great day for anniversaries (it's my wedding anniversary as well!)

Matty O said...

Loved this. Good recap man, captured the feelings you went through last year.

Hey, if we meet up tomorrow, not sure what Heather's plan is, but I could run it with you, your target time is right about where I want mine to be... just a thought. If not, no worries, hopefully we can meet up pre-race!

Have fun tomorrow if I don't see you!
(I will have my bright blue brooks hat on and probably my yellow brooks jersey too)

mojamala2 said...

Happy runnerversary! So glad that you are sticking with it!

Hungry In Cleveland said...

Way to go Beal!! It is great to look back on when and why you started and see how far you have come! We will rock half of the Blue Line tomorrow #DirtyRunner style :)

big-daddy-diesel said...

Happy runnerversary

Caratunk Girl said...

That is awesome!! I love it. Happy runnerversary. You know it is funny, when you look back on what you thought was hard then compared to what you think is hard see how much you have grown as an athlete. Love the beer celebration!