Read HERE to understand how we got to this point of walk/running a Half Marathon with no training. Not saying we were smart, but this was our why.
As the race begins, everyone is strolling to the start line, I’m thinking – yes, I can do this. As we go over the start line people kind of trot in mass…. We make our way to the right as Mr. Moe is saying – keep it slow. And I’m feeling good – but we’re .1 into this thing – only 13 miles to go. We went in with the idea that any hill we would walk, which would give us breaks, and make us look forward to the hills while all the other runners were dreading them – so smart! We’re patting ourselves on the back about our brilliance and we move on.
First three miles are behind us, we’re doing a walk/run probably about half and half pace, and after about two I feel Mr. Moe is warmed up and seems to be finding his stride which is a lot faster than mine. He slows WAY down to make sure the pooper scooper/sag wagon doesn’t come get his wife before this thing has even really begun. I start to walk at EVERY tiny incline (not hills even) every gentle incline now counts, and this course is very hilly; it really seem that this race has way more up than down hills. I use the gravity to propel my body downhills, and plod like a tortoise uphills. I look forward to every even minor incline since this deal was struck with the Mr. Moe who has been quietly monitoring the time and prodding me along. At mile four I have a pack of Gu, which takes about ten minutes to feel the effect, but I seem to get a little more pep in my step for the next 30ish minutes.
Half way through, thoughts of despair seep in – with the realization that I still have half of this half to go. At this point, I just want to endure this. I’ve already told too many people I’m doing this, and coming back without the medal would be far too shameful (especially with the number of naysayers). It needs to be completed no matter the cost, but deep regret starts to settle in my spirit. I ask Mr. Moe when I can have my next Gu. He says mile eight, this gives me a goal to look forward to.
Nine miles in, a woman that is approximately 80 passes us on the right. She’s shuffling with a shirt that says “looks like walking, feels like running”. This shuffling old lady has passed us by mile ten and I never see her again. I feel absolutely no shame about this. Only a mild chastising to myself that this is just deserts for not training. In the distance (we made a loop) we see the pooper scoopers picking up the mile eight signs and the DJ wrapping up his Mile 8 broadcast. I start to get scared we aren’t going to make this.
Ten miles in, Mr. Moe encouragingly says – “just a 5K left”! I’m not feeling as positive as he at this point. A man that is significantly overweight (with knees that are taped up) is getting shamed by his running companions to continue to push on. Shame is the stick these women are using to push him through, and he looks and sounds miserable. I think kind thoughts about my husband who has to deal with my grousing with nary a complaint and send sympathy vibes to this man. By mile eleven they pass, and I never see him again. I hope he made it over the finish line (and that he found a more supportive running group).
Eleven miles in, there is a massive hill and the kiddos from Milton Hershey school are passing out chocolate. I eat two. I regret it almost immediately. Decide I want to be done and probably just go hide and wait for the sag wagon, but press on with insistence from Mr. Moe that we are “nearly there”. I am shuffling to a walk/run with more walks than runs (thankfully, I’ve trained via Jeff Galloway for past races and the walk/run intervals have saved me). Hips are hurting now.
At nearly 13 miles I do not see the finish line, and think I should probably sit down. Mr. Moe hears none of this and presses me on. At this point he stays about three paces ahead of me (out of arms reach so I can’t pull him down). We turn a corner, still see nothing, and a second corner and a rather anti-climactic rumble strip with a clock is awaiting us. At this point, I still cannot muster up even a trot to get me to the line. The clock indicates I have a whole two minutes before the sag wagon comes for me, and I’m taking it. Hubs eases up and walks alongside me, because he sees that the finish line has offered no final sprint of energy for me. I’m done.
Ultimately we ran/walked the half with a 2:58, which isn’t great. However, I’m a very slow runner and proud that we did this. The next week, I’m nursing every muscle in my body (some that I didn’t know had anything to DO with running).
Final Verdict: Would I do this again, yes. In fact, we’re shopping for our next half marathon now, but next time we train, and train well.