Half Full of Thanks

Posted by on May 16, 2013 at 10:32 pm :: No Comments

On New Year’s Eve, my brother Drew and his wife Simone decided to sign up for the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon in order to increase their chances of sticking to their resolution to get in shape. Honestly, when I heard that they’d registered for this event I was a little skeptical. It takes some determined training to get ready for a half marathon and I wasn’t sure if they had it in them. But any chance for them to chicken out clucked away with a click of our mouse. At the end of February, we, along with our friend Jeremy, added our own names to the registration list thus making it impossible for Drew and Simone to back out gracefully…and simultaneously impossible for us to retreat without disgrace.

We did most of our longer training runs with Andrew and Simone. The many miles go faster with some chatter.

We did most of our longer training runs with Andrew and Simone. The many miles go faster with some chatter.

While the largeness of our group convinced us that this race would be a winner, Jason and I had some apprehensions about finishing it as losers. Since the event was so early in the spring, we were a little concerned that the weather would inhibit our ability to prepare for it properly. Just train indoors you say? Are you aware that jogging 10 miles around a track would require roughly 70 laps and would likely be about as exciting as listening to an insurance policy manual on tape? I think I’ll pass but if you like extreme monotony by all means give that revolving tedium a whirl. As it turns out, for us, no worry over weather was warranted. Our outdoor workouts ended up working out. Sure, we had to dash in rain, snow and frost but we also got to sprint in some pretty darn perfect conditions. Jason and I stuck to our training regimen like filthy flies on fresh poop. We ran 4X a week with an extended session every Saturday. At the peak of our training, this totaled to 24 miles per week. Admittedly, it was a little tiring donning our tennis shoes for those distances but the main problem with our program was actually the time involved. Extra-long runs take an extra-long time. Our perseverance and sacrifice paid off though. We were ready and confident come race day.

No, my enthusiasm did not last but my legs did.

No, my enthusiasm did not last but my legs did.

This half marathon stays entirely on the Thanksgiving Point property. From paths around their tranquil gardens to trails on their swanky golf course, you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier run. However, being pretty has a price. Usually that drawback is narcissism or an expensive shopping habit but, in this case, it’s hills. The half marathon routes we’ve done before have primarily descended but this one makes you struggle up for every step it lets you ease down. Talk about an incline infestation!

Spring flowers created a landscape of color all around us runners.

Spring flowers created a landscape of color all around us runners.

This course may have its ups and downs but the weather while we scurried along it was solely an upper. The conditions were ideal! Unlike my last half marathon, which ended with dehydration followed by puking, I did not overheat. I wised up after that experience and carried a water bottle with me this time to encourage liquid uptake; the pleasant temperatures did the rest. Barf really doesn’t make the best trophy; sure it’s showy but it kind of stinks.

At the nine mile point, the path went up a giant hill. Ugh! I wasn't the only one that struggled up that incline; I noticed two vomit puddles on its slopes.

At the nine mile point, the path went up a giant hill. Ugh! I wasn’t the only one that struggled up that incline; I noticed two vomit puddles on its slope.

I completed the race after 2 hours and 25 minutes. This beat my former time of two and a half hours and met my goal. I was pleased with myself and very proud of all the other runners in our group. Jason crossed the finish line at 1 hour and 47 minutes. His objective was to finish in less than 2 hours and he definitely succeeded. Drew and Jeremy came in only 6 seconds apart right around 2 hours and 13 minutes. And Simone was about 10 minutes behind me. Way to go everyone!

Jason's exuberant thumb reflected the quickness of his run.

Jason’s exuberant thumb reflected the quickness of his run.

From these pictures it's apparent that I was zoned out through most of the race. Hey, when you have over 13 miles to conquer Rachel Land ain't a bad place to be.

From these pictures it’s apparent that I was zoned out through most of the race. Hey, when you have over 13 miles to conquer Rachel Land ain’t a bad place to be.

I don’t know if it was the race’s many hilly miles or just my body’s many years of miles but the rest of the day, following the event, my hips and knees were pretty sore. It hurt to sit and it hurt not to sit so my options for avoiding pain were pretty limited. Jason fared no better. In fact, he suffered like a fussy baby without a binky and almost cried as much. My thigh muscles may have been grumpy about going down stairs for a few days but Jason’s calves reportedly felt like they were going to rip in half. I guess, considering his finishing time, he earned the right to be a little whiney. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, my calves are much tougher than his.)

Jason leaped like a gazelle as he neared the finish line. I don't know how he had bounds of energy left.

Jason leaped like a gazelle as he neared the finish line. I don’t know how he had bounds of energy left.

My finish was much less dramatic than Jason's...and considerably slower.

My finish was much less dramatic than Jason’s…and considerably slower.

My ankle, as my physical therapist predicted, handled this whole affair, including the prep workouts, pretty well. It would hurt after my lengthier runs and swell a little but it didn’t declare all-out war; I was satisfied with that precarious truce. Yeah for ankles that tolerate and can be tolerated!

I was proud of everyone in our group. Their diligence paid off.

I was proud of everyone in our group. Their diligence paid off.

The Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon was a great experience. I’m glad Drew and Simone initiated our participation with their hasty resolution. The race was lovely, though horizontally challenged, and our training for it went according to plan. Our large troupe provided added motivation and entertaining running buddies. Yup, misery really does like company even if that company is prone to dispense harassment. Peer pressure and persistence got us across the finish line with our dignity intact. It’s nice to be barely at the brink of summer and already in such great shape. Now we’ll just have to continue hitting the pavement in order to keep that shape from sagging into the recognizable silhouette of a bowl of Jell-O.

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