I know it’s been quite some time since my last post but I think instead of rehashing lost episodes of my running misery that I’ll just start from this weekend.
Saturday was the 13th Annual MCAS Cherry Point 1/2 Marathon. Now, if you have been reading my posts then you know this is not the race I’d been training for. No, I’ve spent the last two months trudging my way through training runs to get me to the Full Bloom 1/2 Marathon, April 21st. So, why would I run a 1/2 marathon less than a month before the one that I’m meant to run?? Simple answer, $10. Yes, 10 bucks. How many races over a 5K can you say have a registration fee of $10? I can’t think of a single one.
That’s even if you sign up in the first registration bracket. You know the bracket I’m talking about. The one where you’ve just stumbled upon the race advertisement and it’s a wonderfully low, low price of $65. You tell yourself you’ll hop on that registration form come payday. Only payday comes around along with bills and fast food receipts. Next thing you know, you’re in the last registration bracket and you’re having to shill out $100, just hoping for a race t-shirt. So, yeah, $10 made perfect sense to me.
Granted $10 from the max entry # of 250 runners isn’t gonna get you much in terms of race bling, mile markers, timers or finish line photographers. Heck, it’s not even gonna get you post race beer and hotdogs. You will get a pretty generic shiny dealio on an even more generic ribbon. You’ll even be guaranteed to meet some wonderful people willing to slog along with you and the rest of the miserable herd at the back of the pack. Except there was definitely a lot more than 250 runners. I saw bibs in the 460′s. Guess what? Four porta-potties don’t work out too well for over 400 runners sloshing around coffee and protein bars.
Anywhoo, the race went pretty well for it being so low tech. Mile markers were prominently displayed on corrugated plastic, stick in the ground signs. No timers along the way but there were tables of water, Gatorade, energy gels and jelly beans. If you really wanted to know how you were faring on your time you could always ask one of the baby-faced Marines dishing out the beverages. Somehow, I had envisioned a very select batch of hard-bodied, chiseled face Marines lining the boulevard as we same prancing by. The type who look like they can’t pull their blouse off without help since their rock hard arms are keeping the sleeves stuck in place. Yeahhhh, no. Just a few kids with cow bells but that’s where the enthusiasm and cheering squad ended.
Mile 8 was roughly around the finish area so we got to see the speed demons as they crossed the line. 1:33 was brightly displayed as I passed Speedy Gonzalez heading into the cheering crowd. Some quick calculations and I was on course to get a PR. If it hadn’t had been for miles 10-12, I’d have been in absolute heaven with my time. Not that I’m unhappy with the time I got but those miles were brutal. Long, long, straight stretches and some very bad music choices. One foot in front of the other. Pick it up, put it down. Move it, move it. All the stuff you tell yourself just to get to the end. I was going through all of the mantras. It wasn’t until marker 13 that the energy gel I had scarfed down at mile 7 started to kick in. Just enough to make my feet look like they were doing something other than a shuffle. Probably should’ve taken that sucker around mile 3. Hell, probably two at 3 and one at 7. Heck, there were two perfectly great opportunities along the route for me to be put out of my misery. Shotgun blast area and archery range, yet not a single directionally challenged Marine in sight. Maybe next time I can find the tank trails or the badly marked runway.
Fortunately, for the retail market, a promise to myself of a PR meant a shopping trip. Yes, a pair of brightly colored minimus style running shoes. And while they might help me skip along next years tank trails maybe it’ll keep me from sucking down 4 energy gels come mile 5. Yeah, I doubt it.