I am so excited to say I have now completed TWO half-marathons. That means I’m serious about this running stuff right? Hardly, I know, but at least I feel like I’m now outside the “total newb” realm.
Early Saturday morning we packed up the pups and headed to Springfield for the Cohick Half Marathon/Conservation Marathon on Sunday.
I’ve wanted to run the Cohick since last year, when I had several friends run it and really enjoy it. I had originally thought it would be my first half, but I ended up signing up for the Go-Girl Half Marathon on a whim last May. My brother and I had actually set the goal of running it together earlier this summer after Go-Girl, but at the last-minute he wasn’t able to make it. I just ran his entry since I hadn’t bought mine, which is why you see “Eric” on my bib.
My training for this half was somewhat hit or miss. A combination of a ridiculously hot summer and consistently impossible work schedule prevented me from doing much over 6 miles for my long runs. I did however manage a lot of good speed work, and coupled with my 4-5 days-a-week CrossFit habit, I entered the weekend feeling really good. I didn’t really set a formal goal for the race other than to simply enjoy my time, but I silently hoped for something around 2:20.
Thanks to daylight savings, I actually woke up on Sunday morning pretty easily. I ate some leftovers from the night before and two bananas and coffee. I had laid out all my clothes and devices the night before so I didn’t actually have to think and before I knew it we were off to Bass Pro Shops.
If you’re unfamiliar with Missouri, the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, next to nearby Branson, is about as close as you come to Disneyland here. It’s this weird sort-of kitsch destination, with taxidermy exhibits instead of audio-animatronics. it’s a ridiculously big place, but luckily we managed to run into friends Matt, Katie and Emily almost immediately. My BFF Rachel and her mom Ronda were also there to run, but I wasn’t able to find them before the start.
The weather was in the upper 30s, so we were all quite bundled up. I wore my Under Armour ColdGear® Compression Leggings and Mock Longsleeve with a long Reebok tank under to keep my torso covered (I have a stupidly long torso). I also wore my Mountain Hardwear beanie and New Balance running gloves. I don’t like a lot of bulk, so I wanted my layers to be efficient.
With it being my first time in the race, I positioned myself somewhat in the middle-back of the pack. There were so many people! We all took off at the gun and down Campbell Ave. We then started weaving through the neighborhoods south of the Missouri State (my alma mater!) campus before entering downtown.
I got back on the street and continued through downtown and before I knew it I’d hit the halfway mark. I had run the first 5 miles without endo pain or stopping!
I continued to feel really good until about mile 8, when my right toes started to feel sore. It felt eerily familiar. Very quickly, they started to feel almost felt fractured. It hurt to run, and it hurt more to walk. I’d been on track to hit close to 2:20, but my pace hit a wall for miles 10 to 13, just like Go Girl. I was so disappointed.
I maintained a slow jog through those last miles, and in mile 12, the first three marathoners passed me. Professional runners. With long legs and beautiful strides. They were so fast, averaging close to 5:30 for all 26.2 miles. They weaved through the group I was with, flanked by cyclists and seemingly seconds later, the fireworks accompanied their finish. I was in awe.
I ended up finishing in 2:33. I won’t lie, it’s not what I hoped for, but I had an amazing time. I might be alone in thinking this, but 13.1 is too long to pin everything on speed or finish time. The weather was great, I ran through my alma mater, and was in the company of some amazing runners. I also ran the first five miles straight. I really have nothing to complain about.
I rewarded myself with a bagel and milk (haha — so not Paleo) and settled in to wait for Rachel and Ronda. It was fun watching everyone come in and I cheered on just about every person that ran by me (blame CrossFit and the fact that their names were on their tags).
I’ve talked to two of my trainers since the race and agree that I’m probably running POSE too far forward on my feet, causing my toes to repeatedly jam forward. Additionally, my shoes (Asics Gel Blur 33) just don’t have a big enough toe box for good splay. So, I’m in the market for some new distance shoes. I’m going to keep wearing my Asics for short distances, but I definitely need something better suited to my feet and running style for long distances. So with that said…
What’s your favorite running shoe?