I’m scheduled to run a half-marathon in Vancouver on August 11. That’s 25 days from now. Yep, 25 days …
My preparations for this run have been what some might call “erratic” and others might term “crap.” I had good intentions, but an unscheduled trip home to Australia knocked me off course and I haven’t quite managed to get back on. So I decided to just “train” at my own speed rather than sweat the fact I’m not doing pickups every Monday and hill repeats every Thursday. I won’t be fast when I finally run my half, but I’ll finish it eventually. Maybe. Probably.
When the Mad Marathon and Mad Half in the Mad River Valley, Vt., announced a walkers division (genius!), we thought it would be a good experiment. If I can walk a half-marathon, then my running time should be faster. Right? (This statement may fall under the category of “famous last words.”)
No running allowed
I was looking forward to not having the pressure of running hanging over my head at the Mad event. On this day, I was among a select group of people who had chosen dignity over beet-face. We weren’t allowed to so much as think about running or we’d be unceremoniously deposited among the speedy folk and left to fend for ourselves. I was going to be at the back of the pack, but it was by design, so I was down with it.
Mile 1: It was weird to see all the runners pull away so fast. But at the same time it was nice to know it wasn’t because I was pathetic. I was using the Walk Tracker Pro app (free from Starbucks!) because a certain someone had borrowed my watch. It told me I was doing 15-minute miles. Yikes. I needed to get a move on if I was going to meet my goal, which incidentally was 3.15-3.30. I saw an older woman in pink shorts ahead of me who was walking and going much faster. Had to catch up with her.
Mile 2: Crap. Giant hill. Giant forbidding, butt-busting hill. Thank goodness I was FORBIDDEN from running it. I picked up my pace and was going like stink (as much as you can go like stink when you’re walking). Pink lady still ahead of me.
Mile 3-4: Wheeeeeeee, downhill. Wait, ouch. OUCH. What the heck? Turns out, walking downhill fast hurts like a… OK, it just hurts. Gained on pink lady though.
Mile 5: Finally caught up with pink lady! We exchanged a few pleasantries and then I left her in my dust. Oops. Walk Tracker Pro was feeding me wildly different (and might I say inaccurate) paces. At one point I was allegedly doing a 9.30-minute mile. Uh, right.
Mile 6: I was rather enjoying the scenery but my feet were starting to hurt. This was no average stroll. I noticed there was another uber-fast walker ahead of me. Made it my life’s mission to catch up with her.
Mile 7: My wobbly legs started to rebel. I was hitting the wall. It was a very pretty wall. I tried to eat the Shot Blok I had stashed in my pocket, but couldn’t get the dang packet open. Had to scarf down Jelly Belly sports beans instead. Sweet relief. Uber-fast woman still in my sights but pulling away.
Mile 8-9.5: Another giant hill. Thank goodness I was still FORBIDDEN from running it. I noticed that the marathoners had rejoined us. So, that’s why I was among runners again. And here I thought I was catching up with lots and lots of halfie slowpokes. Moment of superiority fleeting.
Mile 9.5-12: The marathoners went left, I went right and all of a sudden I was alone. Crap, did I go the wrong way? The road started to descend sharply and I really wanted to run. No one would know. My big toes, which had been slamming up against the wall of my shoe for the past two hours, were in agony. Every step was torture. Normally I’d be embracing the downhill, but this was not one of those times. OUCH. Still, despite the toe hell, I didn’t feel too bad. Uber-walker had disappeared though. Life’s mission unfulfilled.
Mile 12-13.1: I lost my will. The last mile was rough. I was overtaken by the lead marathoner at about 12.5. Pretty humbling. The uphill finish was the icing on the cake. The heat definitely got the better of me.
Still, I skipped merrily* across the cute covered bridge finish line and even managed a smile as Hubby whipped out his phone to capture the moment.
As soon as I stopped, my toes let out a giant yelp (I swear, I could hear them) and I knew I had done some damage. I’m still trying to figure out just how much.
But despite the pain and the heat and the insane hills, this was the most fun I’d had at a race. (Is it telling that my most enjoyable race was the one in which there was no running involved?) It was a brilliant event all around.
Oh, and I came third overall in the walkers division. (It was a small group, but there were more than three, in case you were wondering.) I figure the fact that I didn’t completely suck made this eligible for my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge.
And somehow a photographer snapped me along the course looking like this:
Hubby’s time: 1.44.51 (pace: 8.00; second in his age group!)
The cause: There was no charity, so we gave $25 to Camp Harbor View (awesome 5K; sadly we missed the cut-off this year)
The T-shirt: Orange tech tee
The aftermath: Bagels, chips, bananas, amazing apple cider
* May not have involved actual skipping.