This past weekend, I decided to run the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon. Big mistake. First of all, I whole heartedly meant to train for this run, I really did. But, I have no idea where time went, and the next thing I knew, it was this weekend. Second of all, I didn’t have to run this thing at all. I had no monetary investments or anything of that sort to MAKE me run it. So, my point is that, if I didn’t think I was ready to run 13.1 miles, I didn’t have to (I think I was just too excited to finally do a run here in Kansas City and because I hadn’t ran a race since the Dallas Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving Day). But I did anyways, cause I am hard headed, and because I said I was gonna do it, and because I got all the way to the starting line undecided, and then the horn went off, and all of a sudden I was running, and so I had to finish it.
This is not a post on how to train for a half marathon, rather, it’s a post on if you are not prepared or not properly trained or have not at least done a few miles here and there a week or two prior to a race: DON’T DO IT, NO MATTER HOW CASUAL YOU MIGHT THINK IT IS. I know this is an obvious, “duh”, thing, but to reiterate this point, I’ll tell you what happened to me when I decided to do it anyways :) The last time I attempted 13.1 miles was the last half marathon that I ran, which was January of 2013. My longest run prior to this run was like 2 weeks before, a measly 2.5 miles. Though it didn’t end (too)bad for me, I finished, barely, but I finished, I did pay for it. It took me fifteen minutes longer than the first time I tried it, and I suffered for it after the race, and the day after, and the day after that. I was hurting everywhere, even my eyebrows and eyelashes were hurting, I think, I couldn’t tell.
This is how it went: The weather was awesome, the last half marathon I did, it was like a freezing 30-some degrees, with rain, sleet, and bad winds. This one was 80 and windy. PERFECT, I thought. The first 7 miles was a breeze, surprisingly, I hit all of the water station, no GU though, cause I had no idea what it was. I was on my usual pace for what I usually run a 10k. The bands and the music sounded great. Then mile 8 came. And my left knee decided so say, hell no! It kind of like refused to bend a little, so I favored my right knee and continued on. By mile 9, my whole left leg and right knee was like laughing at me and wouldn’t really work, so I brisk walked a little to rest.
This run was hard FOR ME because of all the damned hills. By mile 9/10 all I can muster was a light jog because all of my leg muscles have given up, like literally. It feels like this: you try to run, but you don’t go anywhere, for real. It felt like a magnet was pulling your leg down every time you try to lift it up. I was still kind of ok at mile 10, but then they want to put the biggest freaking hill at mile 11, and I’m like, I’m done, just get to the finish line, go home, and soak. Also, at mile 10, like right before the massive mile 11 hill or whatever mile it was, someone wants to yell out, “Come on!! You only have 5K to go!”, I thought I was going to lose it. FIVE-FREAKING-K!! I wanted to stop moving so bad, but for some crazy reason I kept jogging, and once I got over the massive mile 11 hill, I trotted to the finish line, and thanked the LORD that I didn’t pass the hell out. I kept walking around once I crossed the finish line because I was afraid I would collapse if I stopped moving. For real. Finally, I stopped and sat down, and it hurt so bad. It hurt to bend my knees, every step hurt, water and bananas didn’t do crap, and, I had to drive home. More importantly, I still had to walk to the car.
I’ll end there, but the pain lasted for about 2 days. When I got home, my left knee refused to bend. Every time I tried to walk, it said, nope! So I had to pick up my left leg when I went up the stairs or to get in the car for about a day or two. It’s about 4 days later and I have down graded to being just a little sore. It could have probably been worse, I’m glad it wasn’t. So, the moral of the story is train properly before you attempt any race, and don’t half do it, no matter how casual you think the race is, because it isn’t, especially 13.1 miles. The End.
PS: Do not let the smiling photo fool you, I was smiling through pain :)