Yesterday I ran the World Wide Festival of Races half marathon. This is my 5th time to “run” the half marathon distance in this event. In a nutshell, the WWFoR is a series of races from the 5K to the half marathon where the participants run in their local area, but with the idea that we are running as a group. Thus the tagline, “Think global, run local.” Your event can be an organized official race, or just a run around your neighborhood all by yourself. With the exception of 2008, I have always run these events alone on a course I marked out myself.
I have not been getting in the long miles that I needed for a 13.1 mile run. Previous to last week (a 9.5 mile run) my long runs had been 6.5 miles or less. And those that were “long” were many weeks apart. Because of that I considered running the 10K, or even the 5K version of the race this year. But I have run the half the previous 4 years and I did not want to break my streak.
Previous Half Marathon Finishes
In 2006, the inaugural event, I ran around the neighborhood. This was actually my second half marathon distance. I ran that one in 2:39:24. I did not completely stick to my plan and therefore was a bit disappointed with the result.
In 2007 I ran it in 2:16:28. That year everything seemed to fall right in place. I had a goal time that I trained for and finished the race 32 seconds faster than my goal. It was a good run.
The 2008 race was the first half of my marathon. I ran that half in 2:11:16. My focus was on the marathon distance and did not give much thought to the half other than I noted my time so that I could report it later.
A week after the 2008 run I was surprised by severe pain in my right foot. I never had it x-rayed, but felt like I was probably dealing with a stress fracture. I let it rest for several weeks and then trained for a half marathon which I ran in just under 1:58:55. A week later I was dealing with the same pain in my left foot.
The next year, 2009, I was training for another marathon and got another stress fracture in the left foot. This was just a few weeks before the WWFoR. I ran the first 7 miles and walked the last 6. It was a tough day, but I could not bring myself to not finish the distance. The final time was 3:18:04.
2010 WWFoR Half Marathon
That brings me to this year. Though I wasn’t as well trained as I had been in years past, I felt obligated to myself to do the run. I planned to do it as entertainment, not as a race. The goal was to alternate running a mile and walking a minute. Since I didn’t actually plan out my mile markers, I just ran 10 minutes and walked 1 until the distance was covered.
About 4.5 miles into the run I got a bit lost. I dropped into a butcher’s shop and asked for directions to get me on the right track. I told him the road I wanted to be on and asked if he could help get me there. He said that it was not hard to get there, but that road was all mud and I would never be able to drive to it. I told him I was running so the mud didn’t matter to me. His reply then was, “in that case, where you want to go is way too far away. You will never get there running.” Little did he know by the time I got to where he was directing me I would only be half way through my run.
I got back on track and continued my run. At mile 7 I realized that I had not been wearing my sun glasses. I knew I picked them up before leaving the house, but where were they now? I had put them up above the bill of my cap until I got outside the house. Since it was overcast throughout the run, I never did put them on.
At mile 9 I stopped at a little corner store and bought an apple and a Gatorade to refill my CamelBak. When I took off from the store I wanted to make up a little of the time lost (not that I was in any hurry) so I buzzed out of there quickly. From the sudden burst of speed I was out of breath about the time I took a big bite of the apple. That made it much harder to breath. Lesson learned. Small bites for the rest of the run.
Because I did not know where the mile splits were, I did not know what my pace was either. But I guessed that the time I spent lost had added a bit of distance to the run based on my time. I decided that it was safe to take a chance and drop out 2 of the blocks from the end of the run. The final distance was 13.72 miles.
I took the average pace for the total distance (11:55 per mile) and calculated what 13.1 miles would be. I guess my official time should be 2:36:07 for the 5th annual WWFoR. Out of 5 runnings I have run it faster 2 times and slower 2 times. Not too bad with absolutely no preparation.
I am going to use the last 2 weeks as the springboard I need to start building my mileage again. I have slipped into a comfortable 10 miles per week routine. A couple of years ago I was running twice that much. After my 2009 injuries I have never even put forth the effort to build my miles again. Now is the time to start. Now I am 2 weeks into working on a weekly long run. Time to keep the momentum going.