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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Freedom 1/2 marathon was hot!!!!

My whole family came into town for the 4th of July weekend so we had 28 guests visiting.  I woke up Saturday morning at 5:30 to get to Table Rock Dam in time for a 7:00am race.  I took some time to pray read a few Bible verses and eat a banana.  I was going to use the restroom, but was running a bit behind and thought I'll wait till I get down to the race.  I needed to register and it was about a 20 min drive to the Dam so I filled up my camelback and headed out while everyone was still asleep.

When I pulled into the starting area I was amazed at all the people.  They were running a 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon but I really didn't expect this many people on a hot July 4th weekend.  Now, I was planning on using this "race" to just help me get a long run in for my training.  I quickly registered and picked up my race t-shirt and got my iPhone and music ready.  Then I realized my mistake.  The line to the two bathrooms was long.  I mean really long.  It was only 15 min to the race start and I counted all the people in line and estimated that if they all took 1 min I would get in there by 7:12.

Being a Marine I found a quite secluded place behind a bush and took a "natural break" as they say in the Tour de France.  Unfortunately, I was needing to go #2 and thought I'll just stop at the bathroom down at the campground during the race.  This course was a gently rolling paved trail that strolled along the lakes edge for a little over 4 miles.  The 5k runners had a turnaround at the 1.5 mile mark and the 10k runners did two laps of that.  Us 1/2 marathoners, went out past the Branson Bell and the campground all the way past the Marina and then turned around.  We had three laps to complete.

The whistle blew and I took off with the rest of them at what I thought was a nice slow pace, but with all the 5k and 10k runners in there I realized later that I went out a bit to quick.  It was a very hot and humid day but the first lap seemed so easy to me.  The nice thing about the course was you got to see all the other runners twice each lap.  When I started the second lap I was about 20th and told myself I needed to slow down and stay strong for the third lap.  I started getting passed some and being passed even when you know your slowing down takes something out of you.

I was feeling tired and very hot and all the ladies and old men were passing me and I was feeling dead.  But I kept at it and made the turnaround and started back.  The race workers were very encouraging and kept telling me I looked good but I knew they were lying!! ha ha

I finally finished the 2nd lap and started on #3.  I asked one of the workers if the 3rd lap would be more downhill than the first 2 and he almost dragged me off the course fearing I had heat stroke.  I was only joking with him but joking kept my mind off of how slow I was running I mean jogging and how bad I was hurting.  By this time I was walking up the steep hills and I just wanted to finish this race.  (For some reason each lap the hills got steeper. )   I knew if I started the 3rd lap I would have no choice but to run back since my car was parked at the starting area.

After being passed by several more runners the turnaround finally appeared.  It was a bit of a hill up to it but I made it up and was headed home.  At this point I was just trying to push the pain out of my mind.  The sad thing is I was barley running.  I mean this was the slowest pace I had EVER run ANY race in my life.  I kept pushing and went by the campground then the Branson Bell and finally into the finish shoot.

I'm embarrassed to say I ran a 2:04.  I saw that 2 hours was coming up but there was just no way for me to speed up and break 2.  I was dead.  That's a 9:30 pace!!  It made me come to the realization that I am out of shape and overweight and I have to do something about it.  I drank water all day and slept and was hurting bad.  The next day I drank water and slept and was soar.  Finally on  Monday I started feeling normal but my legs were soar.

If I don't drop at least 20 pounds this 50k trail race is going to kill me in October.  I wouldn't recommend running a 1/2 marathon with little or no training but it is a good way to suffer and motivate you to get back in shape.  Hopefully I will do better next week.

Take care,

Rod Jetton

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