The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

The "What the heck was I Thinking" / "Spur of the Moment" Half-Marathon

I set out for my run on Sunday. I had been pre-approved for a "quote" longish run. In my mind, I had 15K earmarked. It was a gorgeous day. Minus 2. Light snow. Slight Wind. 2 centimeter accumulation of soft-fluffy snow.

I wanted to optimize the experience, I drove down to the College, so I could run along the water. I parked the car, got out, turned on the Garmin - and off I went.

I think deep down inside, I knew it was going to be more than 15 km. I got to the Power Dam, everything was going my way, I decided to swing north up the path. I talked myself into 17 (a reputable pre-half-marathon training run). But, liking round numbers, I upped it to 20. Then I thought that since I was already running 20, I may as well make it a cool 21.1 (half a marathon).

I got to the Guindon Park entrance (the MS-half turnaround point), but I only had 10 and a bit. I kept going 'till about 10.6 and turned around. Thankfully, the wind was now at my back.

Things were going great, until about 16K, when I noticed my splits were creeping up over 5:45. The wind was getting annoying now. The temperature must have dipped a few degrees, and my legs were getting cold and I was starting to get aches from the cold wind on my damp back. I pushed on. With each split, I would tell myself: 5K left - no problem, I can do that in my sleep. 4K - that's the last run in the Monday duathlon. 3K - piece of cake.

But by 18K, I was getting really frustrated, and just wanted to be finished. I was thinking about the nice warm, home-cooked supper I would be having at the in-laws later that evening. Chocolates, cheese and beer as we played cards in the afternoon. I started to have doubts as to whether or not I really wanted to do the full-marathon in May. My pace had slowed big time. I couldn't imagine having to run an additional 21 k!

When the Garmin chirped for 19K. I cursed myself for wanting to go 21.1 instead of just 20. Imagine how good it would feel to only have 1K left to go. I hit the bridge by the old Cotton Mills, and finally, I could see the college and where I parked. I had been calculating my finish time for a few k's by now, and was confident that I would be under 2-hours (a nice round number).

The Garmin chirped 21K and I looked down. I could see the car, but "Uh oh", I sprinted to make sure I was under-my time. I finally arrived at a perfect 21.1 about 10 feet from the car. 1:59:00.

OK - so not bad for a spur-of-the-moment run. And not bad considering I'm not really anywhere close to being in half-marathon shape. What this has taught me, is to train, train, train for the full. There's no way I want to be out-of-gas after 18k.