Yesterday (Sunday Oct. 29), I ran my very first 1/2 marathon at the Grand Rapids Marathon. I successfuly completed the course which was beautiful.
My wife and I run w/ the Mars Hill Running Group and we started the intermediate training schedule. However, my wife started having joints problems and we took some time off the schedule to get her better. Her joints though did not allow her to finish training, so she helped out at Aid station #6.
My long run of my training was 8 miles, in fact I had never ran further then 10, and that was back in high school over 10 years ago when I was running cross country.
Sunday was a great day for a race, perhaps a little too much wind in some areas but other then that a very enjoyable time. The race course is great, a beautiful fall run w/ lots of color, trees and even a river to run next to. There were two parts of the course where the wind was extremly strong, the first being Millennium Park and the second being just before the finish line on Winter Street.
My knee hurt throughout the entire race so I walked a lot more then I wanted to and in fact when I saw my wife at the 8.5 mile mark I really thought about quitting but fought my way through it. Another crisis occured around the 10.5 mile mark as my calves were cramping and forced me to shuffle for a while.
This race has great group of volunteers and staff. The aid stations are great and provide lots of support and plenty of Gatorade. However one disappointment was that oragne slices were only provided to the full marathon people and not the half-marathon runners. Also if you ever work at a large race, don’t ever tell a runner: “looking great, you’re almost there” Even if it is mile 11 out of 13. You don’t know how that person is feeling and 2 miles can seem like a lifetime.
Trying to finish was hard due to the wind. You rounded the corner by the downtown Grand Valley campus and were installatly hit by a wall of wind. In fact I felt like I was going backwards the wind was so strong.
However I did finish w/ a time of 2:43:18 and last in my age group. But I finished and that is what is important. Maybe next year I’ll be able to train and run w/ my wife