I did it!
On September 4, 2011, I ran the 13.1 miles of the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half-Marathon!
I came in at about 2 hours, 27 minutes for an average of 11:16 per mile.
More on that in a moment, but I thought I'd mention that one driver for me to do this particular race was because the first time I recorded a run on my iPhone was September 7th, 2010. Here it was...
1.6 miles! And a year later here I am at 13.1. I'm admittedly pleased with how that has worked out!
In truth, though, I had been doing some running earlier in August 2010 using my Garmin GPS "watch", which I actually still use as a double-check with the iPhone. I was amused to see courtesy of Facebook's new "On This Day in 2010" feature this juxtaposition:
It's been quite a journey... and amazing to see what happens when you just keep on doing something day after day after day.
Now, as to this past weekend's half-marathon, it turned out to be quite a humid morning. We've had spectacular weather in recent weeks, with beautiful sunny days, temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit and with almost no humidity.
Sunday was not one of those days.
I made the classic mistake of starting out WAY too fast! Caught up in the pack of people, I was running up about 8 minutes/mile, which is faster than even the fastest 5K I'd run! Not sustainable... and I dropped it back a bit... but not far enough... and the pace graphic below shows how that hit me in the last few miles:
Indeed, that red part in the upper right of the image is where I walked from the 12 mile aid station until about 12.25 miles or so when I willed myself to get back underway to finish the final mile.
The race itself was quite beautiful to run. It started off going through a covered bridge and then onto about 2 miles of trail running along an old railroad bed that's now a trail. When the course returned to the road it took us through parts of Swanzey I'd never known about and through three more covered bridges. It was admittedly fun to run through those purely because I'd never done so before.
After laughing at someone pulling out their phone and taking a picture of the first bridge, I did have to do the same for the next three:
The race had a good bit of roads through wooded areas and all in all was quite beautiful to run. There were "aid stations" set up every 2 miles or so with water and/or Gatorade and while I ran with a belt with water bottles, I also drank from all of the aid stations. They were much appreciated and some of the folks staffing the stations had fun costumes, music, etc., which was enjoyable to see.
When the race was over, I was definitely tired... and I didn't do a whole lot of walking the remainder of the day. But the next day I was back out walking a 5K with the family and have felt pretty decent since that time.
Would I do it again? Definitely. Do I have any interest in going further and running a full marathon? Not right now... although I won't rule that out. That just seems like a huge time commitment... and hard to practice for with small kids in one's life.
But I'll do another half... ;-)
P.S. Thanks go to my wife for taking these photos of me coming in to the finish area.
UPDATE: The race results are up on CoolRunning.com and it turns out that I was 171st out of the the 203 runners - and 24th of the 26 runners in my age range (male 40s).