Everyone had warned me about the hills of Oxford's half-marathon. Those hills kicked my butt.
I had a fast meal standing up the night before and downed two cups of water before going to bed at 11. Woke up at 5:45 to get out the door by 6:30. Stopped for coffee and then drove the hour to Oxford. It was a little crazy because once I get there and checked in, it was a little confusing on where the starting line was. Not a good start. I learned too late that this was not a "fun" half-marathon, but one for seasoned athletes.
At the gun start, I thought I had a good pace going until I got to mile 1. With an 8:30 mile pace, I knew I needed to slow down. I did the St. Jude half at an easy 10 and this one was not going to be easy. I tried to slow down for the next several miles and still didn't do a great job. I tried to find someone slower than me to help keep my pace, but no luck.
It was incredibly hilly - big steep hills, long deep hills right at the start. I knew that if I could just get to campus, I'd find that motivation to get to mile 10. I did great until mile 8. And then around mile 10, my calves started going into spasms. It almost felt like rolling spasms. I stretched at each mile, and then each half mile. I massaged my calves. Nothing seemed to help. It got to the point where I had to stop and walk at certain times, and that killed me.
At the last mile, I walked to the 13-mile marker and painfully jogged over the finish line with a time of 2:21. Ten minutes worse than my last half. My split went from 8:30 to 13:30 at the end. I had great time until the cramps started.
Maybe I should have fueled more so that I didn't run out of juice near the end. Maybe I should have hydrated better, stretched more, trained more (that's a given).
All of these what-ifs ... I just need to let it go.
And this second-guessing and feelings of failure, I need to remember that I finished. And it was hard. Yesterday I thought to myself that I would never do that race again. That it beat me. Today, I'm thinking - next year, hills. I'm coming for ya.
|It was questionable, but I made it! |
Probably more than any other medal,
I earned the title of "finisher."
|The famous Walk of Champions.|
|The beautiful Grove. On Game Day, |
this place is packed with tents, co-eds,
fans and libations. But not today!
|The road leading up to the Circle |
and the beautiful Lyceum.
Also took a good stretch here.
|This is where I studied journalism |
at Ole Miss before the term "new media"
ever existed. I feel old.