So I mentioned in my previous post that my first half marathon occurred February 2009. This was the Surf City Half Marathon.
I can say I didn't train for it in the conventional sense. Keep in mind I made the decision about 6 weeks before the race, so I didn't benefit from what we would later use: a training schedule. Once I did make up my mind to do it, there was very little doubt that, whether walking or running, I would finish the race.
Why? I guess I had already changed my mind over discounting what I couldn't do to what can I not do? Let me explain. When I would run with my wife around the Lafayette Reservoir, I would be pushing my kids on the jogging stroller. This means that I was pushing over 100 pounds around the lake. I did this first walking, then jogging parts of the lake, to the full lake. Then we moved to doing the same thing on another local trail, the Iron Horse. Combine this with bicycling an average of 40 miles a week for great cross training, I felt I was prepared.
Being the analyst that I am, I also read a lot. I read what kind of nutrition you would need on the course. I got my first running shoes after going to Road Runner Sports for a gait analysis. I had this confirmed with at Sports Basement and settled on a pair of yellow Brooks Adrenaline 9's. Great shoes. I have since tried a pair of Asics Kayano 15's that were on sale; however, I do not think I will change brands.
So about four weeks before the race I started to feeling a pain on the outside of my right knee. Slightly concerned, I went on-line and determined that it was actually a common problem due to over training: IT Band Syndrome. So I read up and watched YouTube videos on this and learned what stretches to do to release the tendon. It did definitely help; however, I would see it return with a vengeance at mile 8 of the race.
What I am describing above is not what to do when you do your first half marathon. What you should do is, definitely do your research; however find a good training schedule. Two I recommend are found at marathonrookie.com or halhigdon.com. These two sites have training schedules for all types of races, so do it smart.
So race day weekend came. The night before I had the traditional pasta dinner to carb load. I did this more because this is what I read I needed to do instead of thinking about how this might effect me the next day. It was great and I got very little sleep that night (digesting dinner). That morning we got to the course early; however, parking for the Surf City races are the State Beach parking. What this means that if you do not get their early, you are parking further and further down the beach. We ended parking near Brookhurst St which meant that we had about a 2 mile trek to the starting line, so we had to hurry. We put the kids in the jogger and ran. So basically I ran 15 miles that day.
Once we got to the starting line, my wave was about to take off, so I hit the bathroom and off I went. Still very excited, but not realizing what I was about to do.
Another pointer. Race waves are set up with your anticipated finish times. However, don't worry about getting in a later one if you have a D-tag. You will do fine.
The first three miles was great. I heard Beach Boy songs, I heard Wipeout, and other bands. I attacked the first hill no problem. The problem was that I wasn't pacing myself, the benefit from following a training program. I also was running with Jelly Bellies, so I sounded as a candy machine as I ran.
I couldn't believe how much support the runners had from their families. Everyone showed up, from the oldest to youngest. I couldn't believe how much encouragement they were for them and wished other members of my family were there to support me in this accomplishment. It was just a month prior on a visit with them that I was told I looked sick for not being overweight. I mean being a normal weight. I now weighed what I did when I graduated High School. I was just happy that my wife and children were there. And you know what? These same folks that were cheering their family members were cheering me also!! It meant SO much.
About mile 7 I started loosing steam. Mile 8 I felt the familiar pain hit. At mile 9 I walked for the first time. I rationalized that it would be a short time. However, once I started back up I couldn't get back up to my pace. Then became the mental part of running. My brain started rationalizing why was I doing this? I could walk the rest of the way, but then the familiar Beach music kicked in and the cheering kept me going.
Running any distance, especially in a race is more mental than physical. In fact, why does everyone develop the excuse that they have \"bad knees\" when you mention that you run? More on that in some future post.
At mile 11 I could see the Huntington Beach Pier in the distance. I knew that meant that I was getting closer to the finish. This gave me the extra I needed to pick up the pace. I was in a lot of pain by then due to my IT band. But I was going to finish!!!
I did it in 2:23 minutes. Boy I was exhausted. But I couldn't believe I did this. I was emotionally drained. But I was so happy that I did it. After recovering a bit, we did the two mile walk back to the car and then the six hour drive back to the Bay Area.
So the Surf City Marathon and Half were part of the California Dreaming series. If I were to complete either a half or full marathon at the Long Beach Marathon or San Francisco Marathon within 2 years I would get I nice California State medal as well as a nice racing jacket. This race gave me the running bug so began looking forward to Long Beach to do the full!!! More on those races in the future.
So that is how I become a serious runner as well as why I use running and half and full marathons as a way to be healthy and stay in a healthy weight. Oh, and by the way, I just ran the Surf City Half Marathon this year, and my time is now 1:51. The benefit of training
Original article and pictures take http://from262to26.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html site