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.