Remember that harebrained idea I had about running one half marathon per month for a year? At first, it didn't seem real. I worried I would laze out of it. Then I registered for the first six...and I still worried I would laze out of it. I told myself I couldn't. I've already spent too much money to be lazy, right?
Well, today it's real. Today I finished the Charleston half marathon. Sunny morning, quite cold (for Charleston, SC), but a nice flat course. MY only regret is that they had shrimp and grits and beer at the end, and I just couldn't bring myself to eat any (appetite comes and goes when you're running for two hours, and when you pick up the pace at the end...well it goes). I had a giant coffee instead.
At some point in the race you start to wonder what it's all for. My point for this is usually around mile 11. Up to mile 10 I have the novelty of the race, the place, the people (good crowd support, Charleston!), contemplating when to take my gel (mile 9 in this case), the weird feeling that maybe I'm losing a big toenail? (Nope, still there!) I feel good because 10 miles, at this point, is something you've done and passed many times.
At mile 10, I get the extra lift. 3.1 to go! That's only 5K! The day I can't run 5K is a very poor day indeed. So I keep going with a spring in my step.
...and then mile 11. The spring was short lived. I realize I've been running for ages. I'm hungry. My legs hurt. I start to finally breathe hard enough to notice I'm panting. I realize that if I want to break 2 hours I need to speed up a little. At 10 miles, that seemed like no problem. Now? ARE YOU CRAZY? I can't possibly.
This is the moment of existential crisis. Is the moment where I've bonked before (always at mile 11), and where I wonder...why do I do this? Why the HECK do I run distance? Aren't there better ways to stay in shape? Do I really need to love cheese so much?
Why on EARTH did I decide to run 12 of these in a year? Why would I want to run one ever again?!
Then I hit mile 12, and well, there's only one mile left to go! Only 8 minutes and 30 seconds left if I want to beat 2 hours. I better get moving.
Of course, basking in the glow afterward: sitting down, with a foil cape, a large coffee and a banana, well I mean, obviously I'm running another one! Soon! Of course! I'm a badass!
Then I try to get up. Heh.
Time appears to be 1:59:mehmehsomething. Official times aren't yet posted. I broke two hours, which was my goal. Now? Let's try to break a 1:58 shall we?