This past weekend, Saturday, November 28, 2009 to be exact, I ran in (and completed!) the Kaiser Realty Coastal 1/2 Marathon. This was one of the major landmarks in my #1 New Year’s Resolution of 2009 and I am extremely satisfied to have made the goal.
It was a very early morning; we got the kids up and in the van and headed over to Orange Beach, AL around 5:30 AM arriving at the sport complex around 6:45 AM. The weather was perfect; partly cloudy and in the 50’s (Farenheit). The event was very well organized so it was easy checking in and getting everything I needed (time chip, racing bib, schwag packet [promotion stuff… NOT marijuana], etc). Of course there were only just over 300 entrants pre-registered and I believe the total ended up being around four hundred and change, so it wasn’t extremely crowded. There were actual bathrooms to be used instead of porta-potties; that was a plus.
The run overall was a really nice one. Most of it was on paved nature trails and provided a really beautiful backdrop to distract from the grind of running over 13 miles. There was also a portion run along the coast that offered a change. The run went about as usual for an average person; I passed some people and some people passed me. There were some groups that kept together and held conversations and then there were some loners. There were the quiet types and then there were the very encouraging, vocal types. Everyone was friendly.
I did really well during the run and felt great. The part that was really difficult was just after the ten mile marker. That’s when I really started to work. After the eleven mile marker my legs and arms went all numb and tingley… that’s probably not a good sign. Finally, seeing the Finish line ahead and hearing the cheers of the crowd waiting I dragged it in ready to pass out from exhaustion. It was the longest run I’ve ever done and I really had to work for it at the end.
I finished the half marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes and 56 seconds according to the official results. I was actually aiming for at least 2 hours and 10 minutes so I beat my target time by 5 minutes! So for a half marathon (13.1 miles) that would make my average pace about 9 minutes and 37 seconds per mile. That’s great for me, though I know it’s not all that fast.
But here is some news! I received a “Thanks for Running” email from the organizers and they said that they accidentally misplaced one of the turnaround markers between mile 10 and mile 11 and we actually ran about 13.5 miles. WHAT!? Well, that changes things a little. That would actually make my average pace about 9 minutes and 20 seconds per mile. Yeah, yeah… I know it’s not a big difference but it means a lot to me.
My in-laws came out to support me and so after the awards ceremony we all headed out to eat. We ended up at Cosmos in Orange Beach for some very well cooked seafood. I was feeling pretty miserable at that point so I probably didn’t make for great lunch conversation, but I was very glad for the company of my family. It meant a lot for them to have traveled out over an hour to watch me run, especially since my father in-law is still recovering from a shoulder surgery this past week. My wife drove home… and I slept. It was a good day.