Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon complications:
- Unknown illness: I have been fighting a sore throat and overall lack of physical energy for the last week and a half
- Unknown terrain: there were multiple steep hills as well as thick and deep mud (groundskeeper forgot to turn off the sprinkler)
- Hydration: this is my biggest trial in long-distance running because if I don’t hydrate myself enough my joints will ache, if I hydrate too much then I have to pee too soon
- Cramps: I got severe cramps in my legs and back
The race started bright and early at 7 in the morning. Luckily this was the first weekend in long time when the weather was pleasant. To treat complication number one I gorged myself on all sorts of protein, vitamin C, and energy drinks to help muster whatever fuel I had left in me.
We started the race with a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon bombing victims, I was surprised to not see heightened security equivalent to TSA before I entered the starting line. I guess they trust us… or they don’t think a half marathon is popular enough for security of that caliber.
The starting gunshot went off and we all had to walk until we had crossed the narrow blue mat under the starting line.
I started off with a great pace at about 8.5 minutes a mile, which I kept up for the first 10.3 miles of the 13.1 mile race. Then, complications 2, 3, and 4 hit me. I went down to a sluggish 10.45 minutes a mile. I walked about 3 of the miles. I got some laughs when I searched the golf course for a bathroom to relieve a sloshy bladder. I don’t know if you have ever had Gatorade before but the stuff immediately goes right through me. Because of the complications I had in training week 6, I made sure to hydrate myself at every station.
The overall race was beautiful. I got to see the sun come up, and the course took us through the entire Thanksgiving Point Park and attractions (that’s a great marketing scheme). My own personal criticisms about the course are that I hate multiple suddenly steep hills, and it had too many switchbacks.
My own personal goals for this race were:
- Don’t stop running
- Don’t be the last one to cross the finish line
- Don’t be so slow that they have already turned off the clock and shut down the spectacle at the finish line
- No matter what happens, finish the race
Because of complications I was not able to make the first goal, but I luckily made the rest. Out of 911 recorded runners, I came in at 556. They stopped the clock with the 836th runner just a few seconds short of 4 hours.
Included with my hefty race admission fee were two free all-day passes to everything Thanksgiving Point has to offer. We took my daughter to see the barn animals at the petting zoo, and then we went to enjoy the beauty of the Tulip Festival. A little after 12 o’clock at about an hour after the race had ended I heard cheering from one person as another runner came in to complete his race at the finish line as if it had still been there.
People have asked me if I will run any more races. We shall see after I have recovered from this one. At this point in time I don’t think I am ready for a full marathon. Like on the biggest loser I can walk and eventually complete a marathon 24 hours later but what’s the point in that? I love running but I hate being stuck to a strict running/training schedule. I will sit on this for a while and research more about training for long distance running before I attempt another half marathon. I still finished, and the cheers from the crowd as you cross the finish line is an indescribable feeling. I guess the glorious feeling of accomplishment outweighs the pain and exhaustion in the journey.