Want to take a journey with me on my shortest Half Marathon? It’s quite an experience, I promise.
Here is a some very brief context: last Saturday, July 16, was the Davis Moo-nlight Half Marathon. I was rocking a super-fresh hot pink shirt in honor of wifey being pregnant with our daughter… and GO!
10 mins. after leaving the house: Should I bring my sunglasses? Nah, it’s a night race, why would I need sunglasses?
10 mins. after arriving at the race: I should have brought my sunglasses. The race starts at 7 pm and the sun goes down around 8:40. Everyone else is rockin’ shades and I can smell sun-screen on some people.
Mile 1 — 9:52: Pretty crowded at the start, lots of congestion and jockeying for position going on. I take it easy knowing more miles to follow. Oh, an incline.
Mile 2 – 9:07: Crowd starts to stretch out a bit along a straightaway. I throw on my headphones and get ready to test out my new “fast” playlist
Mile 3 – 9:32: Another incline, woo-hoo! Who said Davis was flat? Well, these are freeway overpasses, so at least we get a cool view.
Mile 4 – 9:27: Easing into my comfortable pace and hitting my plan of 9:30 miles for the first 10k.
Mile 5 – 9:28: Running through some nice neighborhoods and well shaded areas. Maybe I actually didnt need my sunglasses.
Mile 6 – 8:55: Why did I just pass a sign that says mile 7? I remove my headphones and hear other runner’s saying they also have 6 on their watches. I decide to pick up the pace a mile early and move into phase 2 of my PR plan.
Mile 7 – 8:57: Pace feels really good. If I can keep my pace at just under 9 min. miles, I’ll be putting myself in position for a sub 2-hour finish.
Mile 8 – 8:41: Took a shorter walk break knowing that if I can bank a few extra seconds, my sprint to the finish wont have to be so “run for your life” pace.
Mile 9 – 9:09: This is a new part of the course (the half consisted of 2 loops), maybe this is where we will pick up the extra distance. Maybe the signs were just places a mile early…
Mile 10 – 8:54: Sun is setting and sky is turning into some very pretty shades of pink… like my shirt. Run faster for your baby girl, ignore the fact that your legs are starting to feel fatigued. Oh, a glow stick. Cool. Thanks water stop volunteers!
Mile 11 – 9:04: It’s getting close to crunch time, if I can run these last 3 miles in under 24 mins., I have a shot at a PR. That glow stick sure is bouncing a lot on my back (it was a lanyard that I placed backwards around my neck and is bouncing as I run, I ignore it.)
Mile 12 – 9:19: I am way to close to the finish line… is the course actually short a whole mile? It’s getting really dark, glad I’m not having to carry those sunglasses. I can see the finish line with no indication of a hidden out and back mile to make it 13.1… I slow my pace a bit, knowing there is no need for a sprint to the finish.
Mile 12.2:…and race is over. I debated running the extra mile, but I’m tired, it’s dark and the extra mile wouldn’t give me an official PR anyway.
So, I rock my super-cool cow medal, drink some water and chat with my running friends. We all seem to have had a fun time and aren’t really too concerned about the missing mile. Luckily, we are race veterans and this wasn’t our first, nor our last, half-marathon race.
In all honesty, I am probably the most disappointed out of our group because I felt like I had a chance at a PR. Although, at the same point, I had no right to be on pace for a PR. The last time I ran 13 miles was in March in Oakland and I was dressed as the Hulk having a good time fist-bumping fellow runners and fans. My training for this race essentially took place in one month, building each week with a further long run: 5, 7, 10, 12, race.
It would have been the perfect tale: Runner is inspired and energized racing at night in hot-pink future-daughter-inspired shirt. My mantra was: “Run faster for your daughter, you can be tired tomorrow.”
I slowed around 11.5 miles, knowing the course was off and I crossed the line at 1:51 and change. If I had kept my pace through mile 11 and into 12, my last mile would have had to have been closer to 8 mins., which is doable when facing the possibility of a PR and a sprint to the finish. I have a 4:29 marathon time to support how fast you can pick up the pace the last 2 miles if a PR is on the line. LOL.
I guess I’m left with a super-cool glow-in-the-dark cow medal, a super-cool glow-in-the-dark cow shirt and a giant “what if?” 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.