Placed 58th out of 419; 3rd in my Age Group
The Cannonball Run Half Marathon was my first race at this distance. It was held in Greensboro at Country Park (at least that's where it started and finished). I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to pace myself for that long of a race. And I had not ran more than 11 miles before. So it would be a day of firsts on many levels.
My wife Summer decided to run the 5k at this event which occurred during the half marathon. So she got to watch us all as we started as her race started after the half. The first mile or so was a loop around a lake. And I guess I didn't make a mental note of the hill that we would have to climb at the finish. More on that later.
After the loop around the lake, we headed out the park, and onto a street in Greensboro. Running down the hill, past a shopping center, then back up a hill, and into a neighborhood. I was running my race, trying to just keep an 8 minute pace the entire time, hoping that in the end, I beat my goal of 1:50.
As I exited this neighborhood, I crossed a street and then headed into a wooded area that was a bike/walking/running path. This part turned out to be a few miles of flat surface, so I was able to hold a steady pace, each mile coming in a good amount under 8 minutes. I remember at one point sort of 'drafting' off one guy (not too closely though thank goodness). He was probably 10 feet ahead of me. Then I thought I heard something. Did this guy really just fart out loud? Now I'm no one to talk. I've done some farting while running, but luckily I had gotten everything out of me at the house before I left. I waited, and waited, and then, BOOM. It hit me. Yes. He farted. And here I am right in the cloud. I quickly ducked out from behind him like Ricky Bobby doing the 'slingshot' move with Cal in Talladega Nights. Wasn't no way I was staying behind that guy.
After crossing the bridge that went over a lake (and getting my picture made), I continued toward the end of this flat path. I then saw someone coming in the opposite direction. Yes, it was the leader. Here I am about 6.5 miles into the race and he's already hit the turn around point and on his way back. I said 'good job' as he ran by and that gave myself a little motivation.
Once I exited the bike path, I was in another neighborhood and on the corner, they had water and Gatorade. I took the opportunity to get some Gatorade but did not stop to walk and drink it. I found this to be a good time to pass some others as they indulged. Running through this neighborhood, I wasn't specifically counting the folks passing me in the opposite direction. Instead I was trying to skim over them, wondering 'if I stay in this place, where will I finish' and 'ok I think I've got to be in the top 100'.
The turn around point was just that. A small road cone at the edge of someone's driveway and we literally had to run around the cone. At this point, it was all downhill. Not literally, but I knew how far I had to go to get back to the finish. I was quite pleased at this point with how things were going. I saw people that were going in the opposite direction and some of them I gave encouragement to saying 'good job' and 'keep it up'. I was grouped with three other guys at this point and we all kept trading places. Then we made our way to two other guys who were having a little conversation going. I was thinking, I do not even want to talk to anyone at this point.
We made our way off the path and back on to public roads and then back through the neighborhood. After exiting the neighborhood, I was all by myself. No one close behind me, and a few people I could see ahead of me. I had to make it up this large hill before entering Country Park for the last mile and a half or so.
Once I got to the lake we originally went around twice to start, I knew I was almost there. There were some people who were slowing down. Not me. I took this opportunity to speed up. I winded through a short downhill and some curves and pushed ahead for the last 300 yards. It was all slightly uphill.
I reached the top of the hill and something happened inside me. All of a sudden, my stomach decided it was time for something to come up. So I literally gagged and dry heaved in front of a group of people. I put my hand over my mouth thinking I was about to vomit everywhere, praying that I wouldn't do it in front of a few hundred people at the finish line. I slowed my pace as I couldn't push anymore due to the fact I didn't know what was about to happen. A couple of people passed me, including one girl that I had passed a quarter mile back. I bet she was laughing at me.
I crossed the finish line and saw Summer come to congratulate me but I was afraid I would be sick. I walked into a wooded area for a second and felt fine after a few. I was awarded my finisher's medal which is actually pretty cool. And then I headed for the snack table. I found out later as they posted results that I finished 3rd in my age group. So we stuck around for the awards and I received a polo shirt with the race logo and 'award finisher' sewn into it. I met the 2nd place finisher in my age group and him and his girlfriend and us hung out until the awards were completed.
I was quite pleased with my first half marathon. Not too shabby.
Results are HERE
And here is one picture that was taken. Not good enough that I'll be purchasing though.