Where do I even begin with this post. I guess I will start from the beginning. Friday- departure day. My girlfriend Jasmine, and myself had planned on taking our puppy to PetSmart for the weekend for boarding. We made the appointment to drop him off at 4pm. At 2:55pm, while I was working, they call me and inform me that we were one vaccination shy of him being able to be boarded there. Our fault. Completely. Where they failed was the apology for not calling yesterday, Thursday (which leads me to believe they could have). They waited an hour before we dropped him off and 2 hours before we left for MCI to tell us we had to find new arrangements. Luckily, based on a recommendation from a friend, we found a kennel for the weekend. I had 25 minutes to take a 30 minute drive before the family had a soccer game. I made it. Barely. Plus we saved $17 per day… hurray!
Jasmine and I were then on our way to the airport. We had to get off the highway due to a semi flip and added about 10 minutes to the trip. After making it to the airport, we checked our car in, got through security EASILY. We were about to be on our way to Denver, then San Francisco. That is… until we found out the flight to Denver was late coming in by and hour which meant we were missing our connecting flight. After a short and stressful scramble, with the help of my father, we booked a hotel in Denver for the evening and rebooked to fly to Oakland in the morning. Upon our arrival in Denver, we settled into the hotel for a short night of sleep. The rest of the trip went as close to perfect as possible, so I won’t bore you anymore. I felt the “Murphey’s Law” Day was an important part of our trip though.
When we arrived we got to pick up our runner packets which included a technical tee shirt and a Buster Posey bobble head. As an avid Giants fan, I was very excited. The park itself was open to walk around so I got to take some good shots in the process! Lots of vendors handing out food and information as well which was a great addition.
The race itself was Sunday morning at 7am. Jasmine and I took Uber to the race and I got a little time to warmup but did my stretching at home. The nerves were probably the highest I have ever had since running competitively in high school. What made this race ultra special, besides it being my first half marathon, was getting the opportunity to finish in the outfield of AT&T Park. The opportunity was greater than the distance itself. I was with my pace group of about 2 hours when the gun went off, and there I was, in the middle of my first half marathon.
There is something you should know about this. I hardly trained. It was a poor idea, but I wasn’t going to pass this up. My goal was to finish… and not die… and a truly horrific event would have had to take place for me to not cross the finish line. The course itself was beautiful. We ran along the pier line and hit a couple of hills as we made our way to Golden Gate Park. Along the way we passed the Bay Bridge, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, all right along the water. The sight lines were amazing. As we made our way to Golden Gate Park, it was more isolated. The coordinators did a good job of spacing out aid stations and having cheerleaders and marching bands along the way to give us support. This was about the time I realized I was in trouble. It was about Mile 5 and my calf was tightening up. My pace dropped slightly and I realized I was in for a grueling race. At the halfway point, I throated down a Blackberry Gu pack. That about saved me from further destruction. My whole body was tightening up around Mile 8. I was truly miserable. By the time I hit Mile 10, I couldn’t run for more than 45 seconds before I had to stop. One thing you should know about me, is I hate quitting and I am very prideful. This took a big hit on me emotionally and mentally. When Jasmine called me at Mile 10 to check what time I would make it back to the park, I was in tears. I was emotionally distraught. But I bucked up and told myself I would crawl my way back before I quit. After multiple stops to stretch and walking breaks, I was a mile out. My emotional drain was gone, and I was excited and motivated. I still couldn’t run for more than a minute. But dammit… I was almost home. I made the turn into the outfield tunnel and decided I wouldn’t stop. The crowd was going wild and I saw the finish line. I limped… but ran… but limped hard until I cross the finish line, and I had an energy dump. I had given it my all. I did it. 13.1 done. My final time was roughly 2:30:19. Not too great, but gives me ample room for improvement. Below are some great pictures I was able to get from my on field experience. I will never forget this race, not only because it was my first race greater than a 5K… but because it gave me a chance to be on my field of dreams. I am already planning my cross training as I recover, and am already looking for the next race to run. It won’t be a half quite yet, but I want to run smaller races as I prepare for my next big distance race.
I am not quite sure what my training program will be per say. Probably just get out there and put in miles as I continue to regain my fitness level and muscular endurance. If you have any races in the Kansas City area that you have enjoyed in the past and would like to pass on to me, I would love to hear it! Give me a follow on twitter and tweet me! @RevivedRunner
“Run when you want to, walk if you have to, crawl if you must… just never give up” Dean Karnazes