I felt like it was kind of obligatory that I write something about my half-marathon race last Sunday. I did pretty well in that I essentially met my goal pace, 10:00 min/mile. I finished at a 9:57 min/mile pace with a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 4 seconds, 56 seconds faster than my target time. On the one hand, it’s kind of cool that I could be so consistent to know my capabilities. On the other hand, I had it in the back of my mind, based on my training paces, that I was going to be faster than my base goal. My phone GPS even indicated that I was going faster, but I didn’t take into account all the extra distance added by course-swerving over the entire length.
Overall, I am pleased. It got a little taxing around mile 11, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Probably the biggest obstacle was a Clif bar that I ate around mile 9. I had trained eating Clif bars, but my mouth was so dry that I couldn’t swallow it. Then, once it went down, my stomach wanted to send it right back up. It made it difficult to want to drink water which could have started a bad cycle. Luckily, I was near the end, but if it had been a full marathon, I probably would have been in trouble.
Speaking of marathons, I’m looking into finding a nearby fall marathon to train for. I’ve caught the bug, and I don’t think half-marathons are going to scratch that itch. It was a good experience, but it just didn’t feel like enough of a challenge to go through all that fuss. It almost felt false to have all those people cheering us (me) on, saying things like “you can do it!” and “you are awesome!” when really, 13 miles is not that big a deal. Perhaps they were talking to the marathoners. I know 13 miles is a big deal to some (most?) people, but it just isn’t to me anymore.
I guess I just really want to experience the pushing of the envelope. I want to feel like I’ve reached the real edge of my body’s limits. Yes, if I haven’t been training for a half-marathon, it is beyond my limit, but I am talking about the absolute limits of my body. I can only train so much. My pace is such that running past 20 miles hits that magical mark where the leg muscles actually start to endure real trauma and damage. I’ve read that it is somewhere around 3 1/2 hours. As a result, I’ll never even get close to running that full 26.2 miles until race day which will be a nice frontier exploring experience.
My ultimate goal is to one day run an ultra-marathon. An ultra-marathon is defined as anything longer than a marathon, and they typically run in 50K (around 31 miles), 50 miles and 100K. I’m thinking a 50K would be a good life goal to achieve, and I really believe I can do it. The training time required might mean that it won’t be until kids are a little older, but I’ll get there. I have faith in my legs, and I love the way running makes me feel.