|Sat, Apr 18, 2009|
|Race: ||Salt Lake City Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) 01:36:28, Place overall: 187, Place in age division: 24|
This was one of the best experiences of my life. And for those of you who have gotten to know me and my accomplishments then you will know how much that means.
I had a plan, from the time I woke up until the time I crossed the finish line. I am pleased to say that I fulfilled that plan to the letter (except for 1 thing) right from the time I woke up, which was 4:15am. I got down to the Gateway Center at 4:55am and found a parking space right near the finish line. I was one of three cars in the parking lot. It goes without saying that I was concerned that I might be too early.
I caught TRAX up to the start line, getting there at 5:30am, exactly as planned. I wandered around for a half hour to stay warm. I didn't know anyone there and as people began to show up more and more I felt more and more alone. But even with that I couldn't help but get caught up in the electricity of moment. I watched the bike tour leave and then the early marathon starters. By 6:30am I had my gear bag checked and was stretched and warming up. I was lined up, relatively close to the front by 6:40am and ready to go. I was very excited.
As the cannon went off, as usual, it is a malay random paced runners that I had to weave in and out for almost the first mile. By then I had settled into a pace quite a bit quicker than I had planned. Not that I was caught up in the moment or had too much energy, but simply that so much of the course is downhill, you don't have an option but to go fast.
I had planned to not grab a drink until mile 6 or 7 - check. Just after mile 6 I realized that I had set a new 10k PR by over a minute. I then set a new 8 mile PR by 6 minutes and a 10 mile PR by almost 20 minutes. I knew by mile 6 that I would achieve my goal of 1:40:00 (yes, this is an adjusted goal from 1:35:00 because I've only run twice in the last two weeks) if I could simply stay on pace.
Some place after mile 11 I was sitting at 1:30:00 and I just told myself "10 minutes left to run a mile and a half, you can do it". What I didn't know was that I was much closer to the finish than I had expected. I had missed the 12 mile marker and even the 13 mile marker. It wasn't until I was making the turn into the Gateway that I realized that I was going to beat my goal time by almost 4 minutes. The electricity of the cheering crowd hit me as I turned north toward the finish line and I finished the last 200 m at nearly a full sprint. I was happy to be done, but slightly saddened by the fact that my wife couldn't be there to see me finish. 50 feet after the finish line I did look to my left and there was my mom, beaming with pride. I gave her a big hug and just took in the moment.
I know that for most marathoners this would be just another long weekend run. Even for me it isn't even close to my longest distance. But this has been a goal of mine for a while now. And knowing that just 4 months ago I was only running 3 - 4 miles, three days a week, and now have finished a half marathon race, I am just over-joyed. I didn't think this would mean as much to me as it does, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment.Ave Pace - 7:22/mile