Monday, October 5, 2009

Reflections On Tony's First Half Marathon

I'll admit it, I am sitting on my bed in my pajamas with my medal around my neck. I can't seem to stop staring at it. I absolutely cannot believe that I just ran a half marathon. I am definitely still on runner's high, comfortably lounging on clouds 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.1. My legs, knees, and thighs may be completely banged up, but my heart is yearning for more. Seriously, six months ago I thought I was having a heart attack. Right at this moment, I am experiencing a cardiac infarction of the euphoric kind. Has anyone invented Endorphins in a bottle yet? I should run out and get a patent on that. Life is pretty sweet right now.

A full day has passed since the big race, and I now have had time to reflect on the experience. I am glad that I wore my Garmin GPS watch because it allowed me to relive every lap of the 13.1 miles. I can now analyze what went well and what blew up in my face, and apply those things to my next race. You gotta love modern technology.

Lap 1, 8:05am - 8.22 per mile.
I learned from my rookie mistake at my first 5k when I jetted out the the gate, so I made sure that I kept a steady pace up front. I probably did take it a little too fast, but I managed to pace myself to a 8.22 per mile average for the first lap. The difference between my first 5k and this event is 10 miles! The last thing I wanted was to bonk at the 4 mile mark!

Lap 2, 8:13am - 8.57 per mile.
The first two miles are always the toughest for me, but I really kept my cool. I felt like Serena Williams at a Grand Slam event. She may not put 110% into the lower tiered events, but she'll step it up for Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Flushing Meadows, and Australia. I see this Rock & Roll Half as my major, so you better believe that I will put my all into it!

Lap 3, 8:22am - 9.32 per mile.
My legs were still holding up by mile three, but I do have to say that my mind began to wander. What kept replaying in my head was, "What the heck am I doing out here? I still have 10 miles to run!" I had to do everything I could to channel Endorphin Dude to save me from a mental melt down a la Jana Novotna at Wimbledon. My superhero alter ego told me to whip out my camera and take some pictures, just to take my mind off of the run. I did, and it worked!

Lap 4, 8:32am - 9.57 per mile.
I thought the San Jose Rock & Roll course was supposed to be flat! Halfway through the fourth mile, there was an incline! I remember having to run under an overpass and then up a mini hill! I have to say, though, all the spectators and cheerleaders on the sidelines really did help me to keep my focus.

Lap 5, 8:42am - 9.40 per mile.
Feeling good! I think this was when Endorphin Dude took over my body and I flew!

Lap 6, 8:51am - 9.55 per mile.
Miles 4, 5, and 6 felt good for me. With my music blasting and my legs holding up strong, I was able to keep my pace under 10 minutes.

Lap 7, 9:01 am - 9.52 per mile.
Still holding up, but I did begin to feel a little bit of fatigue start to kick in by mile 7.5.

Lap 8, 9:11 am - 10.23 per mile.
My legs...

Lap 9, 9:21 am - 10.37 per mile.
Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! Bonk! My biggest fear looked like it was going to happen, but something midway through mile 9 changed all that. I heard a familiar voice from the side lines. I looked to my left and saw a woman shout out my name. Because I didn't have my glasses on, I wasn't sure who it was, but I recognized the voice. The woman ran up to me with a "Way To Go, Tony!!!" poster and I immediately saw my big head on Peyton Manning's body. It was Darlene Weston from my fantasy football league! I couldn't believe it. I swear, I was about to hit the wall, but seeing Darlene helped me get through miles 9, 10, and 11.

Lap 10, 9:32 am - 10.27 per mile.
Thanks to Darlene Weston, I managed to pick up my pace in mile 10. I kept going and going and going.

Lap 11, 9:42 am - 10.51 per mile.
Almost there...

Lap 12, 9:53 am - 11.31 per mile.
By mile 12, I seriously thought my legs were going to collapse. I only had one mile left, so I seriously had to pull it together mentally. I kept telling myself, "run through the pain, run through the pain." I cranked up my music, and as cheesey as this may sound, "Rock Lobster" saved me. The B-52's pushed me to that finish line!

Lap 13 - The Finish Line.
With the final .1 miles, I sprinted my way to the finish line. I lifted my arms in victory and let out a huge "OH MY GOD!" I couldn't believe it. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 15 minutes at a 10:20 pace. The endorphins kicked in and pretty much followed me everywhere the rest of the day.

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