10-20-13 DQW GR Half Bib
Dave’s Bib from the 10-20-13 GR 1/2 Marathon

With total awareness that, based on the number of FB posts I’ve made over the last 48 hours about this subject, I’m approaching the moment where I become Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory (see Season 6’s The Holographic Excitation to get the reference).  I still have some thoughts about running my first 1/2 Marathon that I need to get out of my head.  So, in no particular order:

#1 – 13.1 Miles is a long frickin’ way to run!
I frankly am amazed that I was able to do it at all, considering I had taken so much time off from my training thanks to a bad case of “Runners’ Knee” (see previous post about that).  The only way that I could make it through the whole thing was to go with the “Galloway” method of run/walking intervals.

The Start of the 10-20-13 Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon
The Start of the 10-20-13 Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon

#2 – You have to run slower than you think you should.
I kept telling myself that a pace of about 11:00 min/mile would be good to stick to in order to complete the race and not burn myself out.  For the first 5k, I did that.  But something funny happened around mile 4 (just as you cross the 6th Street Bridge in Grand Rapids) … this Huey Lewis song came up on the playlist:

And as soon as that happened, my legs decided that a pace of 9:30 would be better.  I didn’t realize this until I hit the 5 mile mark cause I was feeling really good (hitting repeat over and over again).  Who knew that Huey Lewis could get you moving.  Thanks to that, I did my first 7 miles in 1:17.23.5 (11:03/mile pace)

#3 – The new iOS7 update kills battery power when using Runkeeper.
Everything was going well, my phone pumping the jams and the Runkeeper voice cueing me on the 4 min runs/1 min walks followed by 4 mins runs/30 sec walks.  Still feeling good, just minor pain in the bad knee.  Then I got to 9.11 miles (go figure) when all of a sudden the phone stops.  I looked at it and it said the battery needed charging.  T
he thing was, I had charged it and it was at 80% when the gun went off!

I was pissed and let out some form of primal scream that drew the attention of a couple of runners who decided they needed to speed up … quickly.

Once I calmed down, I had to figure out in my head how to keep track of my intervals.  I could live without the music, but I needed the Runkeeper cues to tell me when to run and when to walk.  I was screwed.  The best that I could do was to ask the occasional person what time it was and hope they would/could tell me.  Most couldn’t because they had their own intervals going on.

Fortunately, I had slowed up enough so that the 2:29 pace team caught up with me and I could follow them for a ways.  Was even willing enough to ignore the fact that they were the “Al Gore Pacers” with all of the cheers that go along with that (“Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Al Gore’s got 4 to go!”)

In my head I thought “There’s goes my chance at a PR!” and I could feel my pace slowing badly.  I struggled to get to Miles 12 and 13 and that’s when I saw something that would get me to the end.

Cristiana & Emma Baranowski waiting for runners to come through!
Cristiana & Emma Baranowski waiting for runners to come through!

Seeing Niki, Cristiana, Emma, and Shawn was an awesome feeling! At that point I knew I could make it and whatever time it was going to be would be my PR (Duh, that’s what happens with your 1st Half Marathon … it’s an automatic PR).

I could also hand off my dead phone so I could stop worrying about dropping it somewhere.

Dave hitting Mile 13 and dropping off his phone with the gang!
Dave hitting Mile 13 and dropping off his phone with the gang!

#4 – I love Culver’s Frozen Custard!
They sponsored the race and provided the last snack at the end of the food chute.  I love it so much, you might be able to find a video of me limping around eating it on WoodTv.com

#5 – Medals are cool!  Take a gander at mine!

My 1st 1/2 Marathon Medal!!!
My 1st 1/2 Marathon Medal!!!

#6 – Having Friends and Family supporting you is cooler, especially for the post race selfie!

Dave and Cristiana after the race!
Dave and Cristiana after the race!
Dave and Angela Clock - Post Race Selfie Tradition
Dave and Angela Clock – Post Race Selfie Tradition
Dave, Niki, & Cristiana After the Race
Dave, Niki, & Cristiana After the Race

#7 – I can’t believe I did it!
18 months ago I used to joke that anything over 2 miles was driving distance.  I hated running.  I hated the side stitches I would get. I hated being out of breath after 1/4 mile.  I hated the thought that after running for a mile, I’d have to come back and run a mile to get home.

But then people like Angela Clock, Shawn Brueshaber, Jamie Helsen, Kari Kidrowski, Dusty Fancher and other starting posting about running.  They challenged me to get off my lazy ass and to give it a try.  They showed me that anything is possible if you allow your mind and heart to focus on a goal.  It wasn’t talk anymore.  It wasn’t inspirational speeches to others … it was something for me.

18 months later, with a cholesterol level that is going down (and so is my weight), on a chilly yet comfortable morning in Grand Rapids, I did this:

10-20-13 GR Half - Official Time
Dave’s Official GR Half Marathon Time

I ran my first 1/2 Marathon! I did it in 2:28:32.41.  That’s a PR!

#8 – THANK YOU!!

I’ve already signed up for my next 1/2 … the Portage Winter Blast in March, 2014.  If all goes according to my plan, I’ll do the Bayshore 1/2, the Lighthouse 1/2, and the Turtle 1/2 next year … and if I’m really crazy, maybe I’ll do GR again (but this time I’ll bring a portable battery to keep my phone alive as I come back down Butterworth)!

I can’t say it enough, but thank you all for your support of this adventure.  Peace and love to you all!