It’s been 2 years now since I started running. It really feels like yesterday that I went for the first run and thought I was going to die after 1 mile. I never thought the day would come that I’d run for fun. I sure as heck never thought I’d run 27 miles as a “fun” run on a Sunday morning. I set some goals for myself for 2014, break 2:10 for a half and run a full.
The first run of this year was the Hogeye Half, last year I ran it in 2:31, this year I ran it in 2:13. I felt really good during this race, I wanted to break 2:15 for this race since it is so hilly. I knew I’d comfortably get that, but wouldn’t break 2:10 so I cruised into the finish.
The next weekend was the Bentonville Half. I was really dreading this race, it was the first time I’d run back to back races, plus there is a ridiculous hill at mile 12. I’d trained on the hill and knew what I was getting into. I finished in 2:11:55, I had 2:10 within my grasp and lost it on the hill.
Just 2 weeks later was the Russvegas half. This one I got roped into running by my coworkers. We quickly formed a running club of our own called the Sloth Running Team. We trained at lunch together, it was pretty cool, since it was my 3rd half of the year I was feeling good. It was the first half for Dana and Brad. I was excited to see them finish so strong, it did hurt my ego a little bit when they both finished faster than my first half, but I got over it. I finished in 2:10:55, I had 2:10 the whole race and stayed with the pace group. It wasn’t until about 12.75 miles that I realized that our pacer was off by a minute. It did confirm to me that 2:10 is well within my grasp.
Here is the entire Sloth team, Heather decided to have her knee fixed so she couldn’t run.
Just a short 7 days later I decided to run the officially unofficial Square to Square Marathon. This is an untimed race with no medals, no time chips, no entry fee, and just for fun. Because, all runners go for a run through 6 cities that lasts 27 miles. I really didn’t do a full marathon training schedule for this race. I’ve had all of these halves stacked up together, I only managed to squeeze in one 22 mile run a few weeks ago. I knew this race would be tough, I just underestimated how tough it would be. It was the hottest day of the year, over 80 degrees when I finished, and there was a sustained headwind all race. I was doing great through 15 miles, then…. My IT band started acting up, I knew I needed new shoes, this just confirmed it for me. I limped the next 12 miles and finished 50 minutes slower than I wanted. I ended up at 5:50 including the 7 stops to refill my water, eat bananas for cramps, and restock the GU. I’m honestly embarrassed with that time, but I know that I’ll crush that time when I do the Rock N Roll Marathon St Louis in October. Here is a picture of the 140 people who took on this race, I’m not sure how many finished, but it was pretty awesome to run from Bentonville to Fayetteville. I’ve still not decided it I’ll get a 26.2 sticker for my car or not yet. I’m debating it since this was technically and unofficial race.
There’s no way I could have done any of these races this year if it wasn’t for some awesome people. First the team at Rush Running, they’ve put me in the right shoes, answered all of my questions no matter how stupid, and they’ve put on great speed sessions that have helped me take 21 minutes off of my half PR. Vaden, Kim, Dana, Brad, Heather, and Stephanie, they’ve trained with me either at 5 AM or at lunch and helped me keep honest to getting our runs in. My mom and Dad have made it to as many of these events as they could, they keep encouraging me and love getting up at 4AM to head to a race. Dana, Kim, and Greg for helping me finish the Square to Square, it’s a great feeling to make the final turn and see people there cheering you on. Finally Melonie, she’s been at every race, put up with me getting up so early and waking up the dogs when I leave. She’s let me spend a ton of money on races, shoes, GU(it gets really expensive buying a case at a time), and all of the miscellaneous running stuff I think I need. One day I hope Mel will finish a half and I’m able to be there to cheer her on as she crosses and gets her medal.
I know I’ll never be the fastest guy out there, I’ll never place, I’ll never set a world record, but I’ve finished a marathon, lost 80 lbs in the process, and I’ll admit I’m proud of what the hard work has done. I’m taking a few weeks, days, or day off to recover from the marathon, but you’ll see me soon running somewhere in NWA. My next race is the RNR Marathon in St. Louis October 19th.