This morning the inaugural Team Nashville Half Marathon was run in unseasonably warm temperatures and under overcast skies. I knew though that I really was unprepared for the race regardless of what the weather might prove to be. I even confided to my good friend Dave Minnigan (who is running through the fall and into the spring to raise support for his family's upcoming summer mission trip to Ecuador) that I was probably just going to run the first half of the race and use it as a training run.
I did go so far as to pick up my bib number. Somehow, I got #2 (very cool). I also picked up the goodie bag which had a great long sleeve tech-tee, a very serviceable water bottle, and assorted other fiddly-bits in a nifty mesh tote bag. But I just left my timing chip in the tray. Why even get a chip if I was sure that I would only go half the distance?
The first three miles wound through a delightful park with a few gently rolling hills along a sandy footpath. I went out very, very conservatively--just under 10 minute miles. I was feeling far better than I'd expected given my dismal training regimen leading up to the race. Even after we left the park and took to surrounding roads, I was surprised that I was still keeping a fairly decent, albeit slow, pace in the middle of the pack. At the five-mile marker, I was beginning to flag but I still thought that I probably had enough in me to shoot for my goal: the halfway point.
But then, I got to the six-mile marker and I was really only hurting a little here and there. And amazingly, I had still only slowed a bit--just over 10 minute pace. So, I decided that I might just press on a little further. It was just after that fateful decision that it all hit me like a load of bricks. My legs just died out on me. I started to have shooting pains from my left knee down to my ankle and from my right hip up into my lower back. It was not a pretty sight.
I started to look for a good place to stop--but then I realized that had no idea where I was in relation to the welcome center where my truck was parked. I wound up limping along to the ten-mile marker at which point I pretty much just fell apart.
Dave on the other hand, did great. He finished with a sizzling 2:03.53 keeping his pace below 9:30 for the entire 13.1 miles. And this was just a training run! He didn't even decide to do it until earlier this week! Awesome! Way to go, Dave!
In the face of his success, my only consolation in my own rather wimpy performance is that I was not the only one who did not finish--and, I wasn't even slowest or last! Besides, there is always tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that.