This morning I ran my half marathon. I'd like to thank my brother for waking up at 4:30am to give me a ride over to the starting line down at Embarcadero.
The start area was packed with runners. I had registed with an estimated finish time of 2:30 (2 hours, 30 minutes) because I really had no idea how long it was going to take me, so I started with the second slowest group, the 2:15 to 2:30 group. Bad idea. It was difficult to pass whe hordes of slow runners, so I just jogged along. I didn't realize how slow I was going until I discovered it took over 20 minutes to get to the 2 mile mark.
I decided to pick up the pace and run by and around people. It was fun trying to weave my way through people. A whole lot of people seemed to tire at the mile 5 marker, which was a hill leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was really crowded running across the bridge (we had one traffic lane for each direction of runners), but I managed not to fall off or get knocked down (Goal #3). I did the dangerous passing runners by running in the opposite lane against oncoming runners move (note: do not try with cars). When we came back across the bridge (about mile 9) I was feeling good because I had started so slowly. I had plenty left in the tank and was making good mile times while going past other runners.
Then tragedy struck. Just before the mile 10 marker, something in my right knee popped and I thought my knee was going to give out. I was praying that I didn't tear anything because I have been scared by KaChiu's knee surgery stories. I couldn't put any weight on the knee and I couldn't really lift my right leg either. I was thinking about just stopping at the medical station and recording a DNF, but it was only 3 more miles, so I could at least walk/limp the rest of the way. And that's what I did. For about 8 to 10 minutes.
But during those 8 to 10 minutes, I was watching all these all these other people run/jog/walk past me. Some were fast, some were slower, but I didn't really care. Until this one guy walked past me talking hecka loud doing business on his cell phone. And then I said to myself, 'Screw the knee, I'm not finishing behind that guy. He is not going to beat me.' So despite the weakness in my knee, I started jogging/running again, looking for more out-of-shape folks that I could beat on one leg and finished up the remaining 2+ miles.
My official time was 2:19:33, which put me 2140 out of 3825, so I didn't finish last and I did not throw up on anyone (Goals #1 and 2). Not very fast for 13 miles though, (A few guys I know ran the second half in 1:45) but I am sure that with a little better planning at the start and no injuries, I can finish a half marathon in about 2:00. I did score 2 Kurt Angle medals for finishing (they gave me a bonus one). Within the next year or two, I am going to run the whole 26.2, probably in San Francisco, San Diego, or my favorite city, Las Vegas. But for now, ice and Advil. Lots of Advil.