2014 Damascus Bakery Half Marathon

Survived my first half marathon this morning! Official results are not yet posted but the clock at the finish line said 2:28:something. Time according to Zombies, Run! was 2:25:05. Time my sister received live from the chip-timing company was 2:24:30, which I expect will end up being my official recorded time – or at least awfully close. So, yeah. Clearly under 2:30:00 when I was hoping for 2:40:00ish but expecting 2:50:00ish. A pretty admirable effort, if I may say so.

The first five miles were pretty uneventful. I’ve been struggling with a recurring lower-neck/shoulder stitch on the right side during my longer runs lately. That decided to rear its ugly head just after the 5-mile mark, where I took my first short walk break hoping to work the stitch out. They were handing out gel packets at the 6 mile aid station, so I grabbed a couple without really thinking about whether or not I’d use them – especially since I’ve never even tasted one before.

The stitch returned around 7.5 miles, so I took a slightly longer walk break and decided to try one of the gels despite the “rule” I keep seeing around the interwebs of “Nothing new on race day!” The taste and texture where pretty off-putting, but “eating(?)” it forced me to slow down a little longer, which I think was helpful.

I was fine again until the one major hill on the course around the 9.5 mile point. Then the stitch came back with a vengeance and never truly went away for the rest of the race. I recall hitting the 10 mile mark and thinking, “Okay, just another 5k left. You can run a 5k! You do it all the time! Hell, that’s shorter than your ‘short’ runs are now!” I don’t remember much between that and finishing. My speed chart in RunKeeper shows I had many more very short walking breaks in those last three miles, though.

I do remember grabbing a couple of energy chews from one of the later aid stations. They tasted better than the gels initially, but had an odd aftertaste I did not care for. I’ve read somewhere that many runners like gummy bears. Maybe I’ll start carrying a small bag of those with me on long runs in the future.

Anyway, yes. I finished, and with a much better time than I had anticipated. Yes, I’m sure the course being almost entirely downhill helped with that. Though the small hills in miles 9-10 felt pretty brutal.

My splits according to RunKeeper:
1 mi 10:59
2 mi 10:20
3 mi 10:25
4 mi 10:01
5 mi 9:46
6 mi 10:53
7 mi 11:33
8 mi 10:49
9 mi 10:42
10 mi 11:20
11 mi 12:19
12 mi 11:55
13 mi 11:51
14 mi 11:52

It’s hard to believe it was just a year ago today that I ran my first 5K race and I’ve more than quadrupled that distance since then.

Was home by 10:40AM, which gave me plenty of time to shower and laze about a bit before going out for a well earned – if rather unhealthy – lunch. (Not pictured – jalapeño poppers. Because they were already in my belly. Which also explains the cottage cheese instead of a(nother) side of something fried.)

Now I plan to take it pretty easy for a week or two before starting to work on increasing my 5K time as a nice break from the distance-training. I’d really like to pull off a sub-30:00 5K. A bit later, I’ll start working toward a full marathon. (Goal: complete one before I hit 40 years old. I have juuuuuuuust over two years.)

In other news, while visiting my parents over Thanksgiving I received the results of my latest cholesterol test from my doctor. (Erm… yeah… just ignore the previous photo. And the bit about jalapeño poppers. Thanks.) For the first time since June 2013, my cholesterol ratio is finally within normal limits! Unfortunately, my triglycerides were pretty high despite having been well within the normal range for my previous two tests. I suspect it has something to do with the number of unhealthy choices I’ve made at and after all these shows I’ve been playing with the rock band in the weeks leading up to getting blood drawn. Guess I’ll have to be more careful about that, then. That said, I have an extension on the doctor’s orders to keep up with the diet and exercise instead of starting a statin prescription. Will check in with him again in a few months.

As always, thanks for reading.

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