I DID IT, I REALLY DID IT!! I ran my first ever half marathon this morning in the Stampede Road Race half marathon here in Calgary. After a very busy but very dedicated 6 weeks of training from a 10km (6.2 mile) run to a 13.1 mile (21.1KM) run I completed it.
Now first off when I’ve run 5km/3.1 mile runs and 10km/6.2 mile runs I’m not one for walking any of the course unless of course I begin to develop immense pain in my knee which has had 6 operations on it, and still can be a bit of a gamble as to whether or not it’ll hold up. Also I’m not really one for stopping at the aid stations along the course largely due to the congestion that normally occurs around them. However during my training period I came to on my own and was also encouraged by more seasoned runners than I that making the jump from 6.2-13.1 miles even with all the training I was doing was gonna likely necessitate me to allow myself to walk a bit of the course, and to accept my body’s need to stop at the aid stations. Well I did end up doing one of those: I did stop briefly at each of the six aid stations along the course for water as it was desperately needed as it was 70 farenheit or 20 celsius at 7:30am when the race started not to mention sunny with not a cloud to be found. Also stopping to eat two packages along the race route of Honey Stinger gummies (www.honeystinger.com).
I did however manage to keep myself running the entire 13.1 miles much to my happiness and surprise. It wasn’t always an overly fast pace in fact there were a couple of points where I slowed so much that I was running/jogging at a pace just barely above that of a speed walk. Now there were certainly points where I thought about walking a couple hundred yards and even kinda wanted to just to try to make things just a little bit easier on myself, but the stubborn, always push yourself further and harder, and I can do anything side of me one over the somewhat possibly more logical side of me and said “No you won’t walk, you want this, you believe in yourself, now stick with it and finish this run running.” and as it turned out that is just what I did. This course today was anything but easy as it was filled with rolling hills, winds in the road, and for the latter half very little to no shade to provide any sort of relief from the warmth and the sun. These though were not my only challenges I was faced with. I also was faced with the challenge of my knee brace coming loose and re-positioning itself not once but twice thus leaving me to have to stop briefly both times to re adjust it, as well as having a slight shoe malfunction where my left shoe came completely undone at one point resulting in yet another un-scheduled stop for me, luckily my asthma inhaler can be taken on the run, or who knows how many stops I would have had to make.
Coming into the last 3/4 of a mile I ran past my uncle who had come down to watch me finish and cheer me and other runners on for that final big push to the finish line, and then with just over 100 meters to go to the finish line I had “Mama Eating, Living, Running” and “Step Dad Eating Living Running” not only cheering me on from the sidelines but also running the last 100 meters along side me from the sidelines just giving me that extra push and support to finish the race. Coming into this race I had set 2 hours 30 minutes as my time goal.However the time on my Garmin GPS watch did not read 2:30 it read 2:25:07. I beat my goal and not only did I beat the goal I had set for my first ever half marathon, but I beat it by 4 minutes and 53 seconds, Woo-Hoo!!
Upon crossing that heavenly finish line I received my half marathon finishers medal, I really did it, I am now a “Half Marathoner”!!
After all that was done I got to spend sometime thanking my family: uncle, “Papa Eating, Living, Running” “Step Dad Eating, Living, Running” and of course “Mama Eating, Living, Running” with whom I shared a joyful, but tearful hug with. Having my family there to see me start and finish my first half marathon was indescribable and beyond touching that they all came to support me like they did. The only thing missing from this accomplishment was having my absolutely amazingly loving and supportive wife Ashley there but know she’ll be back from Mexico tonight is almost as good and she’ll get to hear all about this mornings run upon here arrival.
Mama ELR and I after our joyful but tearful reunion post race.
This race this morning is without question my greatest fitness accomplishment to date especially given that after 6 knee operations to repair torn ligaments odds have often been stacked against me ever being able to run a race of this length, but hey I did it and I feel I rocked it, I really don’t think I could be happier with my run today. What this has left me with is a renewed belief, no scratch that, knowledge that if you want something bad enough, and you’re willing to put forth the time and effort, and you believe in yourself and are surrounded by friends and family who believe in and support you, you can achieve anything, fitness or other. Also running this mornings half marathon and doing in my mind so well has left me with a strong desire to try to do at least one more half marathon this year, and hopefully maybe do my first ever full marathon next year, but only time will tell I guess.
Finally I would just like to thank all of you for reading this post and caring enough about me and what I accomplished, and to all of you who over the past 6 weeks have been nothing shy of the best friends and support anyone could dream of. I would have mentioned you all but there are so many and you all know who you are friends, family, and readers, so thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!
I hope you all had a great weekend, I know I did and it’s just gonna get better with picking Ashley and her mom up at the airport in a couple of hours as they arrive home from Mexico.
I’d love to hear about the highlight of your weekend, or the biggest fitness accomplishment you’ve ever achieved, if you feel like sharing with me.