Earlier today I ran the ARC Half Marathon. I wasn’t planning on having a fantastic run, as my training has been pretty hit or miss lately, and I’ve got a knee that’s a touch sore from that wreck last week.
Things started off well enough; quite well, in fact. Splits for miles 1 and 2 were in the 6:30s. Knew things would be all down hill from there on. As continued the rolling hills on Rt. 370, I got an all too familiar stitch in my right side. Not sure why, but the ARC is the only race that I’ve ever had cramp issues, in the 100 or so races that I’ve run over the years.
I tried to grit my way through it, but my guts just weren’t on board. After turning onto Hayes Road, I had to walk for a bit, maybe a quarter mile. The pain seemed to be mostly gone, so I started jogging again. I got about another third of a mile or so and the intense pain came roaring back. What the crap?
So, I walked a little more, all the time people sailing by and telling me to stick with it. Geez, its been a long time since I was on the receiving end of one of those.
I started jogging really slowly again and tried to concentrate on my breathing. Thankfully, the pain seemed to pass. I chugged along for a few miles at the slower than normal pace. I stretching things out a bit, and sped up. I think I lasted about a mile or so and then I started getting the crazy stitch on my left side.
As I approached the turn off to the trails on the south side of the lake, I was really thinking about just walking off the course. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna have a crummy time, so what’s the use? Well, a slow finish is still better than a DNF, so I’ll just grunt my way through the last 4 miles.
It always feels like you’re hitting the home stretch when you make that turn back into the trails, but then you realize, that 4 miles, is still a ways to go. Even though I’ve done this course a handful of times, I can’t seem to get my brain to remember how far it is out to the file turn around. It always seems to be just around the next bend, and of course, its not.
Kinda depressing, but, I’m seeing some of the people that I started off with (and thought that I’d be leaving in the dust) already on their way back in, probably 10 or more minutes ahead of me. Ouch.
In the final stretch, I was able to get myself up to a reasonable pace. I was happy my cut up knee and elbow were burning a bit but otherwise not troublesome; however, I was feeling a lot more tired than I remember lately. I really wanted to take a nap in the grassy area just beyond the finish line. I passed a person or two in the last hundred yards.
105:09. That’s pretty crappy versus the PR effort earlier this year, but in the grand scheme, pretty good, considering I probably walked at least half a mile. After being blessed with so many ‘on’ days for races, I’m pretty satisfied with my efforts on an ‘off’ day.
Congratulations to Kevin Collins (my former coach) for taking the overall win and to all the 1st Marathon runners that I saw during the race. Also many thanks to my unofficial teammates, Larry and Brian, who shame and humble me into keeping up with them.