The run started shortly after 6 PM. It was 80 in the shade without a cloud in site. I was sweating after the first half-mile. I was evening noticing my legs being tired after only a mile or so. My legs probably hadn’t recovered from Sunday nights run yet.
Though it was hot and my legs were tired it felt great to be running. I started at a nice slow pace which helped me keep my breathing very comfortable even through the heat and the sun. What surprised me was how quickly my legs were tiring.
There’s remarkably little shade along the Rowe Half. I was craving each tiny little patch of shade that I saw approaching. Half the time they didn’t offer much comfort because the shade never hit my face (due to the angle of the sun).
There isn’t much shade but there is a lot of roadkill. Last night I saw a dead frog, a dead snail , a couple of dead racoons, and a dead squirrel. Even though I couldn’t see them I think I passed one or two dead deer because the odor was horrific. The odor from the dairy farm along the way was much more pleasant than the invisible road-kill.
Around mile 5 or 6 is “the long steep hill.” When I approached it I badly wanted to walk. My legs were on fire and really wanted a rest. Since I had run so far without walking I decided to not walk until I arrived at the half-way point. “The long steep hill” was tough but I made it over it (slowly I’m sure).
When I arrived at the half-way point I was greeted by my wife and my fan club (my Mom and Dad are my fan club). They gave me water and a gel pack. I’d never had a gel pack before. Last night was an experiment to see if it would not sit well with my system. A note to manufacturers of the packaging for these gel packs. You need to make them easier to open. It’s very hard to tear the package with sweaty hands. The gel tasted like yogurt. I washed it down with a lot of water and walked for a minute or two with Mary. I was debating if I should keep going because my legs were so tired. I decided to go on. After a quick kiss from Mary I was off. My 6.5 mile time was 1:02:30. Considering the heat I was extremely pleased. I didn’t look at my watch at all until I hit the split button for the half-way marker.
The second half was easer and also harder than the first half. The temperature was dropping and the sun was getting lower in the sky. The lower temperaturse and the frequent shade really helped. My legs were a different story. My legs ached. They were tired after a few miles and I was punishing them with 6.5 more miles!
The way back had its share of notable events. I passed a very attractive young jogger and more road kill. At about mile 10 or so there is a train track. As I rounded the bend I saw that a train was running. This was most disappointing to me as I had only walked at the 6.5 mile mark while drinking water and eating the gel. My goal had become to make it home with out walking. Luckily for me the train finished just before I arrived at the tracks. I actually rasied my arms in triumph even though no one was there to see me do it.
During the last mile I was struck with a great business idea – marathon mixes. It would be a set of inspriational music to help you make it through your race. The idea is that it would be customizable to your expected race time. The songs wouldn’t have to be about running; just anything that you could interpret as being about running. Everyone does this anyhow. They take one phrase out of a song and search for meaning. It’s the same thing people do when being read by so-called psychics. I’m not immune to this. This whole idea came to me because I could barely run anymore when the phrase “Move along, move along, just to make it through” played over my earphones. I picked up my pace because I had less than a half mile to go.
I was very happy to see my house when I rounded the corner onto our street. My legs were absolutely killing me. None the less I did my best to sprint to the mailbox. Mary was waiting with water and chocolate for me. I arrived after running 2:09:21. My second half was slower than the first but I was still extremely pleased at my time considering how difficult the run was for me.
I’m glad I chose to finish the 13 miles instead of stopping at 6.5. It was incredibly difficult but that’s good practice for running an actual marathon.