On October 6th, 2013 I completed my first Half-Marathon at Hampton Beach, NH. I finished in 2 hours 10 minutes and 12 seconds.
I had been training all summer. running as much as 10 miles, once. I was pretty sure that if I could complete 10 miles on a muggy, hot day, I could do 13 miles in October.
I got a ride out to the course with my friends, Scott and Lorraine. Lorraine was attempting her first full marathon. The morning was cold, windy, and the rain sputtered on and off. Scott was kind enough to grab our jackets at the starting line, allowing us maximum warmth until the start of the race.
Almost immediately, within the first few miles, I saw several people collapse or leave the race obviously ill. I am pleased to say the medical personnel were very quick (I mean withing seconds) of attending to anyone who needed attention. There were a number of other events I could recall here, but let us just say that “What happens on the course, STAYS on the course“.
Once running, despite a few grumps from my right knee which suffered from ‘Runner’s Knee’, I felt quite good. I ran with Lorraine and we kept good conversational company until the 11th mile, where the marathoners and half-marathoners split. If you want to know what I talked about, just ask Lorraine how much I love hills! (NOT!)
The course was relatively flat… the encouragement from the neighbors along the way was amazing! Some blasted the theme from Rocky via stereos in windows, some set up tents and played bluegrass music. Many had signs letting us all know that there was a well-deserved beer with our name on it in our near future.
As the course turned inland, the winds died and the rain subsided. But as I drew again near the seacost, the winds returned and this time brought a steady rainfall. My last three miles were going to be wet and cold.
As I realized the end was only a few miles away, I picked up my pace, for I planned to give this effort everything I could! With each passing mile, I went faster and faster. By the time I saw the finish line, I was nearly at a sprint, passing other runners by the dozens. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a relief that words could not describe. I was done! I had hurled my burly body 13.1 miles in about 2 hours’ time. I had done, for me, the inconceivable. I hearkened back to the days when I was quite certain I could never run more than a mile. How far I have come.
The feeling of accomplishment was great, but as my body rapidly cooled and the windy rain persisted, I was very soon shivering. My legs were cramping up terribly. Fortunately, they were handing out those silver Mylar blankets. I grabbed one and held tight. I kept moving to keep from freezing and cramping.
In the end, I got my medal and the deep satisfaction of accomplishment. Will I run a full marathon next year?
They say that running a half marathon is only half crazy!