Saturday, April 30, 2005

01:53:00 - (avg. 7 mph) Quite an Experience

As some of you know I signed up to run on the Music City Half Marathon.
I am proud to say that "I Completed it". I am also proud so say that I have ran faster than I thought I could. Here is how it happened:
On Friday I was starting to feel the excitement of the event. I went to get my tag and my "ChampionChip" timing device (which is nothing more than a well designed small RFID tag that they use to link your individual race number to) and other stuff such as T-Shirt, Race Number (to put on your shirt), some advertisement, etc. It was well organized and the volunteer did a great job to guide the crowds in and out relatively smooth. After getting all my stuff I started wondering around. There were a lot of running stuff but they were all expensive so I did not even bother looking at it. Then I saw a stand where they were selling the previous years' shirts for 2 for $5. I could not resist and bought 2. I mean you can't get a decent shirt at Walmart for that price. That was pretty much it for that event. At night I felt more and more excited and then went to bed relatively early. In the morning I went to the event start and many people were just runing or walking from their apartments. When I came close to the start line I saw thousands of people that filled up the 4-5 lane street. I was amazed by the size of the crowd. Then I found my pace setter guy. Poor guy had to hold a sign saying that he is going to try to set a steady pace of 2 hours. I positioned myself pretty close to him and waited for the start time. They sent us in corals and we were in coral 7 so after the race start it took us a few minutes before we started. Start was pretty rough. So many people, so little space. I can't really complain because that was the good portion of my warm-up.. Then I hooked up with a guy from South Carolina whom was also trying to set a 2hr race pace (~9 min mile). We started chatting and race actually seemed more comfortable that way. We were already at 3 mile marker (~ 28 minutes) and I didn't even feel it. That continued for 3 more miles and I started feeling a little fatigue around 6 mile marker. I wasn't really tired but I did not feel as strong as I was feeling when I started. A little after that my running partner had to take a bathroom break. Told me that he would catch up with me. I continued, then we started hitting some hills and I started passing people. I have to admit it felt pretty good. Then I must have picked up my pace because I started passing a lot more people.. My time at 10K (6.2 miles) mark was around 55 minutes (I will update times when I get the official results). I finished the first 10 miles at 87 minutes. Then I had to reset my watch because my watch only count up to 100 minutes and then stops (stupid design). For my last 3.1 miles (5K) I was running faster and faster and balancing my energy accordingly. I wasn't really tired at this point but I was breating heavily. I spent the next 2 miles that way and than for my last mile I sped up even more but my diaphram started hurting. I did some arm swinging and it went away. I guess it needed some streching. Then the moment that I have been waiting for, the Collesium was in sight!! That was a great motivation. I kept my pace until the last .1 mile and for that .1 mile I sprinted (I was the only one). My unofficial total time is around 1 hour 53 minutes (8:37 minute mile). They had a lot of food and water at the finish line. they even gave us a medal, which was pretty good. They took our picture and then I started looking for my ride. For some reason I could not find the "Family Reunion" area. Nobody seemed to know where it was either. I did find it and found my ride after 20 minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The cheering crowd was a great help. A partner seems like a pretty good idea too. I think I am going to join more events, whether it may be another 1/2 Marathon or a Marathon (?), or a more challenging but less impact event, Triathlon.. I first need to get some rest and plan it well but I definitely enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone even if you only walk the distance..
One other note that I cannot pass without mentioning is that your family is always there for you. Even when they are deprived of sleep, tired, sick they share your important moments. Sometimes it is ONLY your family that does that (maybe that's why they call the pick up area "Family Reuinion"...


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