Greetings Fellow Runners
So, I ran my FIRST EVER half marathon on Sunday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, me and the family went up to the Ocala Hilton and picked up my packet with my bib and timing chip. While there, we checked out the SMALL expo that was set up. There really was not a lot to it. I did however pick up another pack of Sport Beans and purchased a pair of Lock Laces. I will say these are nice as now I no longer need to worry about my laces comming undone (which was a major issue with my Asics 2130's - I love these shoes but the laces are horrible!)
I started my morning on Sunday waking up around 5 and with getting ready and driving there, I arrived to the race around 6:30am. I met Grant there who was registered for the 5K that morning. It was cold as could be there (for FL standards anways) as it was only 30 degrees! The Full Marathon was to start at 7, the half at 7:15, and the 5K at 7:30. This is a small town still as there were like 80 people running the full, 225 running the half, and something like 150 or so running the 5K.
The race started pretty much right on time and I was off and running. I finished mile 1 in 8:49, which was to fast of a pace. At about 1.8 miles in (according to my Garmin) I was passing a lady who was listening to her iPod and singing along to it. Actually, it was more like she was belting it out then singing it - it must be nice to have that kind of lung capacity! As i got up to her she was singing Whitney as I heard her singing "I believe the children are the future........" I kept on going and tried to not laugh as I did not want to use extra energy. After having passed her and was a good tenth of a mile beyond her I could STILL HEAR HER singing "....YOU CAN'T TAKE AWAY MY DIGNITY!" I reached the 5K mark in about 28 minutes and was feeling great! I was feeling great still, even though the ENTIRE 4th mile was completely UPHILL! Despite the hill, I kept going at a steady pace and reached the 10k mark in around 57 minutes. At this point I had to go to the bathroom. I will leave out any details for your benefit, and just state that going to the bathroom when you are cold is not a very pleasent thing.
About 8 miles in or so, my stomach started feeling "not so good" Finally around the 10 mile mark, I stopped and attempted to go to the bathroom and "remove" the problem. However I did not want to sit long and nothing felt like it was moving. So, I decided to forget about it and keep going and just deal with the unpleasent feeling. This however was the point where my run went downhill. From this point on I completed every remaining mile in a good 11 minutes or worse. At around the 11.5 mile mark I added a pain in my right hip to my already ailing stomach. I ended up reaching the 12 mile mark pretty much right at 2 hours, which was my goal upon starting the race. This was demoralizing as I had done better than this in preparation. I ended up finishing my 13.1 mile course in a time of 2:14:43 and finished in 173rd out of 225 runners. Not at all as good as I wanted to do, but I could not complain as it was my first ever half marathon, it was not to far off of the goal I had set for myself of somewhere between 2:00 and 2:10, and all the problems that I encountered on the way.
I will say that this was a gorgeous course, especially for anyone not familliar with the area. The course was filled with nice hills and horse farm after horse farm where there were even horses out galloping in the farms. I will say it was a great feeling finishing the race and getting presented with my finishers medal. I will definitely do this run again, and hopefully I can get Grant to stick to his guns and run it with me next year like he said he might do.
So to any runners out there that want to compete in a small, yet very well organized course, with super volunteers (they were even giving out Twizzlers!), and a beautiful surroundings, I recommend you try out the Ocala Marathon or Half Marathon.
Til Next Time