Wake up. 4:45am EST. Sunday morning. Went to sleep about three-hours earlier. Somehow thought it was a good idea to attend a liver-intolerant neighborhood Christmas party, succumb to peer pressured Fireball shots, and run a half marathon the next morning. Get gear together. Stretch a bit. Beautiful morning in Tampa. Cloudy. Misting rain. Not too hot but not too cold. Have this going for me at least. Jog three-miles in liver-intolerant neighborhood to get blood flowing while needing to get sixteen-miles in for the day. Ultra-marathon training is no joke. Meet PC at 6am to drive to race site. This is PC’s first half marathon. Remember my first half marathon. Pure agony. Making today all about PC. Very cool accomplishment signing-up for your first half and following through. Glad to be a part of it.
Arrive at race site. Small race. Cool people. Laid back. Not crowded. Have ran Chicago, Marine Corps in DC, Cincinnati Flying Pig, etc. The crowds can be enveloping. Register for race. Receive cool long-sleeved tech shirt. Stretch with PC. Was not even sure of the official race start time. Completely winging-it today. Not sure how many runners are in this. Perhaps a few hundred. Have nothing prepared two-minutes before the gun. Pop in gum, get Nike app up and running, ask PC if he is ready for this madness. PC says he is. His longest run ever is nine miles. His longest training run was four for this race. We shall see buddy. Gun pops. Start running. Tell PC this is his race…I am just tagging along. PC sets consistent 10:15 – 10:25 pace. And maintains it. Mile three. All systems still go. Have never really ran a race with someone the whole time. Talk about stuff. PC has interesting stories. Nice being in-shape and being able to talk while running. We have a few hours to kill, so why not? Mile six. The race participants have really thinned-out. Such a small race they have not completely closed the roads. Running on shoulder and a car flies by out of nowhere. Holy F. Felt the wind on that one. Move farther over on shoulder and eventually sidewalk for a bit. Crazy. PC maintaining consistent pace still. Coach PC on breathing, cadence, etc. PC is a beast. Mile eight, and the race doubles-back. We see the leaders. And everyone behind them. Humbling. But we are making consistent progress. Eventually, we are the ones doubling-back and see everyone behind us. This is the good part of the race. PC picks up steam.
Mile ten, ask PC how he feels. PC advises he feels good. Push the pace just a bit. PC’s goal was to finish in 2:25 or under. On 2:20 pace. Push PC to 2:15 finish pace. PC digs-in. As with most races, there is a hill at mile twelve or later. Because race planners are evidently generally sadistic in nature. Coach PC up the hill. Lean into it, do not look up, etc. Running at 9:00 pace. PC is a beast. Look over at PC. Sweat pouring profusely off PC’s visor. Coach PC downhill. Lean back. Let the hill do the work. Still 9’ish pace. Half mile from finish line. Wall meet PC. PC meet wall. PC stops and walks. I walk next to PC. Advise PC he has twenty-five paces or less to get his stuff together…we are not walking across this freakin’ finish line. PC is a beast…we start running. Fastest pace yet. Wheels come off again within 200 yards of finish. Tell PC to put his arm under mine and I will drag him across finish. We are not walking. PC finishes strong. 2:15. Proud of that guy. Post-race. Pictures. PC’s wife is there at finish. Free beer. Food. Music. Awards. Lots of beer and food. Being from a liver-intolerant neighborhood, we, of course, overdo things. Promised PC I would not divulge what happens next. Welcome to racing buddy.
Wake up. Monday. Decide to take 5K jog. 5K jog becomes five-mile run at pace. Should have probably taken the day off and not over-train, but feel good. Basically do the same thing Tuesday morning. Set out for 10K run to stretch the legs. 10K becomes ten-miles. Ten-miles become 13.1. Thirty-four miles in three days. Dumb. The thought of the 50K/31-miles in six-weeks still terrifies me.
More to come