Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yes, I survived the Oak Brook Half-Marathon

I haven't talked about it here lately because, well, I wasn't so sure I'd succeed, but I finished The Oak Brook Half-Marathon. The first thing I want to say is, ouch. I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be, but I do not feel normal. My knees hurt, my hips hurt and my left ankle hurts. I don't know why only my left ankle hurts, but I also don't know why my legs aren't killing me. Though I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I didn't run all that fast.

I signed up for this race a long time ago thinking I'd have plenty of time to get ready. I did have plenty of time, but my aging body isn't as cooperative as my brain. I've run long races before, including one in a deluge of rain, but never a half-marathon. I decided to do it this year since my usual long race was moved up to August and we were going to be out of town. So when I was looking for a long race to do this one popped up. It's looked like a cool route and it was close. I wasn't so sure about doing a half-marathon, but Jenn talked me into it.

Let me saw this now. I am not good at running long races. I do them, but just so I have something to work for so I don't become a fat slob. I have terrible eating habits and this helps keep things in check, for the most part.

Anyway, for this race we planned to stay at the race location. The start was just off of the McDonald's campus (or Hamburger University), so we stayed at the Hyatt Lodge that is on the campus. Let me tell you, this is one of the nicest corporate campuses I've ever seen. I'm sure there are some nice ones out there in other states, but here in Illinois we don't have that many nice ones.

By staying on the campus we could sleep a little later since the race started at 7am, and, with the kids at the grandparent's house, we could go to bed early with out all the commotion. It worked out really well. Well, expect for Jenn waking up with a migraine and unable to run, and me leaving a little later than I wanted to and the race start a little farther away than I thought. It had to be close to a mile away (!) but I made it to the start before the gun went off.

I was happy to see the clouds in the sky, and little drops of rain. I was hoping they'd both stay around to keep me cool. The rain didn't but the clouds did.

The first 6 miles went really well. I wasn't too tired. My legs felt okay, but I was a little hungry. I met up with Jenn just before the six mile point and had some of my Sport Beans (made by Jelly Belly) and had some water and continued on.

Here was my first problem. Just after Jenn went off to meet me later on the course something went weird in my right knee. I don't know if I went down a hill at an odd angle (there were a LOT of hills) or what, but it felt like something was out of place. I kept trying to bend it more hoping it would go away. Luckily, after about a mile, it did. Phew. Crisis averted.

The next couple of miles I just kept trying to do the countdown. How many miles left? 6? No problem! I thought I might be getting in trouble when I was between mile 8 and 9. I couldn't remember what the last mile marker was. Did I pass 9? It felt like it. I looked at me GPS watch to see what it said: 3.66 miles?! Shit! I stopped at a port-a-potty and forgot to restart the damn thing. I was only wearing it to keep my pace in check and now, when I really needed it, I realized I screwed up. This was when I started thinking I might not finish this thing. I was so confident at 6 miles now at nearly 9 miles, not so much. It's amazing how much can change in 3 short miles.

Oh, before I go on, let it be known that I did take some walk breaks. Not long, and mostly at water stations, but I don't want it to look like I'm better at this than I really am.

Anyway, I made it past mile 9 and met up with Jenn again at mile 10. We walked together a bit again as I had some more Sport Beans, Gatorade and water. She kept telling me I only had a 5K to go, which was helpful, but I was spent. My legs felt like limp spaghetti noodles and I still felt a little hungry. I walked a little bit after Jenn ran off to meet me at the finish line and started to jog again after some high school runners came by us and cheered us on.

The last three miles were the longest I've run, but I somehow managed to do it. The last half mile was lined with people who had already finished, and their families, all cheering us on. I actually was able to speed up at the end, fueled by their nice words. I made it.

Here is a picture Jenn took of me coming through the finish. It's little hard to see me since I was running so fast (HA!) but here is proof that I made it.

Jenn tried to tell me I should try a a marathon after I finished. It was probably not the best time to get me to contemplate running a race twice the distance of the one that almost killed me. No, I'm not doing a marathon. Ever.

Overall, it was good and I'm glad I did it even if I did feel like my calves were being chewed off by squirrels after I was done. And, I got a nice medal to show off. I think I'll wear it to work next week.


Cookie said...

Woo Hoo!

You did great for an old guy, Mike. :p Maybe that right ankle is taking pity on you.

Mike said...

Cookie: Thanks! I feel better now. :)