After months of training, two different pairs of running shoes, gallons of sweat and nearly 400 miles ran over the past four-plus months, I completed the Columbus Half Marathon on Oct. 17.
AND I LOVED IT!!!
Call me a glutton for punishment, but it was worth everything I poured into it and more.
Honestly, I was not 100 percent sure what I signed myself up for when I began training back in June. I hadn't run a race in over 20 years, and my longest distance was a 5K (3.1 miles). And now as I approach my 39th birthday, I'm going to tackle 13.1 miles?
Yes I did.
Tackled and conquered.
It was an amazing journey, to say the least. Words cannot fully describe the range of emotions I felt and experienced during the run, especially the euphoria which came over me as I made the final turn and headed down the Nationwide Street for the final tenth of a mile toward the finish line. (Obviously, by this video, I was excited and thrilled to finish. Yes, I applauded myself for finishing.)
Best way I can sum up the feeling is to say this: IT. WAS. AWESOME.
Dave Parsons innocently tweeted he was thinking of running the half marathon and asked if anyone wanted to join him. Not sure what exactly came over me, but I immediately jumped on the challenge.
Despite my momentary lapse of sanity back in April, I slowly began training and getting in shape before beginning the 14-week training program. Early on in the training, it didn't seem too difficult. After all, the long runs were anywhere from three to six miles. But as they runs got longer, the magnitude of what I signed up for began to hit me.
Yet, I plodded along. I was not going to back down from this challenge.
At long last, race day arrived. Amazing, I wasn't nervous. Rather, I was eager to get to the starting line and get going.
Lining up for the race, it was hard to contain my excitement. Standing there in the midst of 14,999 other runners, a band playing Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run," I was so ready to run.
Finally, the gun went off, and the journey began.
I know this seems odd to say, but it didn't really feel like I ran over 2.5 hours and for 13.1 miles. Honestly, it didn't. Sure, it was a 'little' discouraging when as I was reaching the 2-mile marker the marathoners were at the 7-mile mark. But hey, I never said I was the swiftest of foot and never will claim to be. So, I just focused on my goal: finishing.
What helped me 'forget' about the length of the day's run was all the distractions along the way. The scenery through the various parts of town, the bands playing upbeat and uptempo music along the way, and the thousands of people cheering everyone along the way. I can't tell you how many people I high-fived along the way, and I really wished I would've been able to take a photo of the guy wearing a huge blond wig and a cheerleader outfit.
It was also fun to read all the signs people made. Most were simple, supporting a loved one. But there were a couple of great ones. My favorite was "Run faster than Terrell Pryor."
Of course, knowing my beautiful bride and my two wonderful kids were waiting for me was a big motivator. They were so supportive throughout the entire process, and the kiddos made signs cheering me on. I had to finish for them.
The last mile-plus was a little rough. After a relatively flat course, the only real hill led the way to the finish line. It was slow going for me, climbing up the hill. But once I got about a half mile from the finish line, I picked up my pace.
And then, I made the final turn.
The final tenth of a mile was all downhill, and I picked up my pace. For me, I was sprinting. Sprinting as fast as I could after going 13 miles.
And with each step closer to the finish line, my emotions began to overtake.
All the sweat, all the hours of training, all the miles I covered in the previous five-plus months were about to pay off.
Crossing that finish line, I can not describe the euphoria I felt. In fact, I immediately tweeted, "I did it." Finished in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 57 seconds.
And apparently, I've been touched in the head because it wasn't long afterward I was already planning my next half marathon.