Of course LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” was on my training playlist

[Sorry if you are looking for a new exercising-in-denim picture today. I need a place to talk about my first half marathon.]

Short version of my race recap:

My ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon today (my first) in 2:09:40. I gave it everything I had in me. It was awesome. Of course I didn’t wear jeans, Silly.

Long version of my race recap:

I’m a weight lifter. Serious running along with serious weight lifting, in principle, are counter-intuitive. I’ve said it before: even though I run, I don’t consider myself a runner. I run because I know it is good for me. I don’t love it. I have no burning passion for it. I don’t identify with it. I’m not fast. My form is terrible. My face turns tomato red. I feel all sorts of terrible when I’m doing it. And I’m sure I do serious damage to my lung tissue with all the coughing that occurs (I have asthma).

But there is something about turning 40 that makes you want to punch that “4” and that “0” right in its old-lady, sun-spotted, fine-lined-and-wrinkled face. So I signed up for my first half marathon, trained for four months,* and then today…

…I caught 40 square in the jaw with a right hook, landed a spinning back kick, and then submitted that bitch with a rear-naked choke. It wasn’t the fastest “win” by any means – I did it in a shocking (for me) 2:09:40 – but a win is a win, right?

RandyCouture

Notable things on race day:

  • I cried twice. Neither tear-fest occurred at the finish line or because of pain. At one point, early in the race, I was overwhelmed with how blessed I am – that I am able and healthy enough to run 13.1 miles. The second time I cried was when I saw all the military service men, in full gear, on the railings of one of the bridges cheering us on. Runners were yelling “thanks” back at them, drowning out their cheers for us. It was moving in a way that I can’t put into words. And the tears? Full on sobs.
  • My performance. I followed all the advice from my running friends (and sister) and, if it was possible to re-do today’s race, I would not do one thing differently. I had a negative split and gave it EVERYTHING I had in me – 100% was left on that course. I remember thinking when I hit the 13 mile marker that I DID NOT have another tenth of a mile in me, but somehow I was able to focus on the spectators’ cheers and that was enough to carry me across the finish line.
  • The concerned volunteer. A lady, when I crossed the finish line, asked me, “Medic?” as she grabbed my arm and nodded her head up and down. I must have REALLY looked bad. I was, and am, fine.
  • Spectators. I’ve written before that I could not have trained for this race without the support of my running group, Steel City Road Runners Club; their support and company has been vital in the success of my training runs. Today, the spectators were my support. The cheering, the positive energy, the cowbells, the bands, the signs were out in full force! I beamed with Pittsburgh Pride the entire race.
  • The weather. Beautiful. Perfect.
  • Miscellaneous. 1) The kid drummer for the band Chess Club and a Chick that was playing on the North Side. He was awesome. 2) The people handing out gummy worms on Carson Street. I so needed them right at the moment they appeared before me. 3) I didn’t see anyone running in jeans. 😦

Start

And the weekend as a whole:

  • Meeting and hanging out with bloggers Charla (Running Haiku) and Tracey/Andrew (Stride and Joy) made for a memorable weekend that surpassed all expectations. Our time together was fun and comfortable and will be cherished forever. I’m looking forward to when I can get together again with my new friends.
  • I have an old man stalker. The full story is almost unbelievable (in a very fun way). For another time…

NewFriends

* I came up with a training plan on my own and it consisted of one day of running each week [yep, that is all the running I did – 128.5 training miles to be exact]. I’m still deciding on the title of the book that will bring in royalties matching Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway:

BookTitles

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