I’m back! I’ll post an update about what’s been going on the past few months, but first, let me do a race report about the Tom King 5K and Half Marathon I ran back in March. That’s right, I said AND. I ran them both… on the same day. It seemed like a good idea when I signed up.

The first thing that was bad was that I hadn’t trained for over a month before running these races. Also, I had put on some weight. These are not really a good combination before going out to run the longest distance you’ve ever run… in case you were wondering. Nevertheless, I had paid my money and wanted to get my run on, so I went out and did it.

The 5K was first (and thank goodness because I wouldn’t have run it AFTER the half marathon). I got there early and picked up my chips and swag and headed back to the car to listen to music and eat an energy bar. I didn’t feel too nervous, but I was a little anxious considering my lack of training. Goals ran through my brain and I considered each carefully. My first thought was just to finish both races with dignity, but as the 5K start time approached, I decided I’d go out hard and see what happened.

TK races start with bagpipes followed by the sharp crack of the gun. I had taken up position towards the front, but was quickly passed by some better runners before settling into a group running about my speed. After picking off the slow runners who started too far forward in the first 200 yards, I pretty much had the rest of the race to myself. I passed a few people here and there and a few passed me, but for the most part the crowd was thin at around the 9:00 pace I was running. My whole body began to hurt at mile 1, especially my chest which wasn’t used to the deep breaths I was taking. Around mile two I was laboring pretty hard, but still hanging in there. At about mile 2.5 I was considering backing off a bit so I’d have something left for the half marathon, but I kept going. As I approached the Stadium (where the finish line was), I decided to just go for it and ran as hard as I could for the last quarter mile. As I rounded the final corner at the back of the end zone, I raced another man to the finish with a time of 27:50, a new PR by 41 seconds!

I was exhausted at that point and seriously considered not running the half marathon which was a mere 30 minutes away. I went back to my car and got my chip and number ready for the next race and polished off another energy bar. I went to the start and saw a few friends who where also there to just run the half. I decided that I’d try to stick with Gail who was going for a 2:30:00 finish time.

Once again the bagpipes played and the gun sounded and I was off. This time I was moving much slower and was towards the back of the pack. I immediately lost track of Gail, but I knew her pace and I was going to just run that pace in 2:1 intervals (2 minutes running, one minute walking). After about a mile, the crowd thinned a bit and I found Gail. I didn’t really do much talking. I wanted to let her run her race and I was too tired to talk anyway.

Things went pretty well for a while. I felt okay and the walk intervals were helping a lot. However, it started getting harder and harder to maintain pace and at mile 7 things started to go bad. I finally let Gail run off without me and I took a couple extra minutes for a walk break. I started back on my intervals, but I was quickly running out of energy. I took a 5 minute walk break and let my friend Emily catch up with me. We ran together for a while, but I didn’t want to hold her up, so I walked some more. I actually maintained distance with Emily for a while and started feeling better, but then the cramps set in. At first it was just one leg, but around mile 10.5 both legs started cramping. I was out of juice and at this point I was just running until I cramped, then walking until I uncramped and repeating. In the 11th mile I cramped up big time and had to walk most of it. At about mile 12 I was back to running then walking in intervals. As I approached mile 13 I started to feel like I could finish it out running. I took off, doing the best I could running down the ramp and into the stadium. I picked off a few people on the grass and was about to make a great finish, but then 10 feet from the finish my ENTIRE body locked up. I almost fell down and managed to barely walk across the finish line. I received my medal from the Titan’s Cheerleader (something i’d been looking forward to), but I didn’t get to enjoy it because I was in so much pain. I fell to the ground and laid there for quite a while. Luckily Gail and Emily were there waiting on Emily’s S.O. to finish, so I had some company. My finish time was 2:43:48 which is not my worst effort at the half marathon although it was about 27 minutes off my PR.

Despite not being able to walk for about 5 days after the races, I’m proud of what I did that day. I got another PR in the 5K distance, and I finished (with almost no dignity) the half marathon. Despite my experience, I might make this a regular thing and double this each year. The key for next year will be training, training, and more training.