The 5 am pool crowd is a collection of endurance athletes. The ones who linger for a little conversation after a swim and invite you on long runs, yeah… they’re the iron man crowd.
After I get done with a work out, I almost always end up chatting with them. It’s a great group of guys who work really hard to go the distance.
Here’s the problem. After spending any time with them at all, I’ve really began thinking that iron man triathlons, marathons, 100 mile bike rides, or 1/2 of any of those distances not just as achievable but as normal. When everyone in a group save 1 or 2 have done an iron man, and you find yourself chatting away, you get swept up in the idea.
But I can’t really blame them for giving me the endurance bug. I already wanted to do the channel and the swim around key west and so on with all sorts of long distance swims. When I took up running I told myself I’d see how a 5 k felt and then try further if I wanted too. Then I ended up at the 10 k distance and started to really enjoy it. Sickness attacked and 5 k became the norm again, but I loved the trail runs and places you could go for just that little extra distance.
About two months ago, I settled on a training program for a half marathon on May 11th in Amarillo – the Hope for Healing Half. I hadn’t made it to any long runs, but a month back I did a 10 mile broken up run. So, last week, I decided to do the Chilly Hilly Half Marathon. Then I tried a little taper over the last week to get ready to go.
This morning was the race, and boy was it a race!
The 5 k had more elevation climb than any reasonable person would want to do for a race. And it was not by far the hardest segment of the race.
But I survived the up and down and plodded on. After the 10 mile point I had to walk a little on some of the steep up and down hill portions, but for the most part, I slogged it out. My legs hurt, but I hope this will be good preparation for the May 11th race.
My time? 2 hours 14 minutes 10 seconds – the little mapmyrun app claimed a distance of 13.27 miles and an average pace of 10:08 a mile.
19 months ago, I was struggling to run 1/3 of a mile. I couldn’t imagine running in this beautiful calm day in north west Amarillo then, and I still feel amazed that I made it afterwards. Now, I’m going to press onwards and train harder to get myself down below the 2 hour mark. I’ll work to see if I can get my time down below 1.5 hours and then maybe a marathon. From there? Who knows.