My Thanksgiving morning began like it has for the past several years — early alarm and a drive over to Mandarin from the beach. The morning regiment included Advil, coffee, 16 ozs of water and powder vitamin supplements. I felt pretty good but worried about the impending thirteen miles of running. Training for our marathon in February ‘08 has been progressing but I’m still not as strong as I would like to be. Morning weather was cool with a light drizzle blanketing the First Coast. Running in rain is not always a bad thing but it can hamper efforts on a long distance trek. My goal was to finish in 1:38. Setting goals and accomplishing them is part of the process — I had no idea (or confidence) that I could post a sub 1:40 time.
Reaching the start line and sharing Thanksgiving morning with fellow runners is very special. Approximately 3500 individuals packed the six lanes of San Jose Blvd. — everyone with their own goal (or interest). Chris, Phil, Brad, Jonathan and Tim were part of the small group that would help set my pace. Unfortunately, when the start gun sounded we split up — I was going to run without my group. If you have never run a half marathon it’s hard to explain managing pace and distance but your body dictates a large portion of the effort and your mind has to be willing to ignore the obvious challenges in order to accomplish the task. Running alone was not what my mind had intended but my body was “set” and the race went well for the first seven miles.
I think the vitamin powder and coffee was a bad mix and my stomach began rebelling during mile eight. Stopping to deal with an upset stomach became an unexpected factor in my goal to complete a decent run. I walked three times over the final six miles in hopes of calming my gut. Legs and breathing were good but the mid section was tight.
Fortunately I started with a faster pace than the average pace time I set for myself.
With 1.5 miles left I was struggling but felt my time was still inside the projected goal.
Imagine the shock when I rounded the last corner to see the finish clock at 1:37:35 with over 200 feet to go! I had to sprint. The clock hit 1:38 exactly as I ran across the finish pad. Wow, that was unexpected and my stomach reaction was even MORE unexpected.
I dropped to the ground and spent the next couple minutes with dry heaves and stomach cramps so severe I was uncertain what physical reaction would come next.
Thankfully it only took a couple minutes to recover. It wasn’t a pretty run or a memorable finish but I have to admit a small amount of satisfaction in the accomplishment.
Thanksgiving was spent early with running friends, later with an old friend and in the afternoon with family. I spent the day in an endorphin filled zone relaxing with people that are close and eating like a king. Not bad when you think about it.