mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So that's what a half-marathon is like...

Well, today I "ran" the Baltimore half-marathon. Well, more like walked it. I finished in 3 hours, 7 minutes. So what does that mean?

Well, from a marathon perspective, it's pretty pathetic - the winning runner finished the course in 1 hour, 15 minutes. Average for a male age 30-34 was 2 hours, 20 minutes. Overall, I came in in 7470th place (out of 8038 finishers). In my age/gender group, there were only about 20 people who took longer than me to finish out of almost 600. (For more fun statistics, the results site is here).

But if you want to ignore the real world and look at it like everyone is special in their own way, I did OK. I pretty much signed up on a whim, didn't do any training beyond my normal daily workouts, and pretty much set out with a goal of finishing. I didn't really know what to expect, so I pretty much powerwalked the whole thing, like an elderly woman mallwalking or someone running slightly late to a moderately important meeting on the other side of the office building. I figured I'd rather save my energy and make sure I finished, but I probably could have pushed myself harder in the last couple miles and shaved some time off.

My other excuse for my lousy performance is the fact that it's still more than I would have been capable of for most of my life. Considering less than 6 years ago I was about 100 pounds heavier than I was now, it's fair to say I wouldn't have been able to finish. Hell, I wouldn't have made it from the parking lot to the starting line (which to be fair, is like a half-mile, or considerably longer if you get completely lost due to their lack of signs and spend an hour wandering around).

It is a pretty interesting experience, though, even - or maybe especially - for someone who isn't a serious runner. I got to see parts of Baltimore I've never gone through before, and see parts I've driven through from a very different perspective. You see all kinds of people cheering, which is pretty cool, and one of a kind things like the eye of the tiger guy, plus people running in everything from suits to kilts to tutus to a giant Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup. It's pretty cool how many people are willing to cheer or volunteer to do this.

I guess part of the reason I did this was I figured it was one of those bucket list, things you should do before you die kind of things. But I guess if I really want to achieve something, I need to do a whole marathon - and I think that would take a huge amount of effort, effort I'm not sure I'd be willing to put in.

But I'm seriously thinking I might do this again next year - now that I have a baseline time, I have something I can work on improving - maybe shoot for 2:45 or so. I also have a better idea of what I would need to do to train - I do mostly elliptical at the gym, and running/walking on actual road, in the outdoors, is a much different experience. I could also use some better sneakers - I wore my normal, fairly new gym shoes - which I generally select by buying whatever looks decent that I find cheap on clearance online. That's fine for the gym, but I would probably do better springing for shoes from one of those specialty running stores that try to match your walking/running style and make sure they fit right. And now that I know I can actually finish, I can work on speed instead of just survival.

But I can't complain too much. I finished, so I met my goal, even if that's a pretty low goal to set.


At 9:33 PM, Anonymous KKH said...

Good job setting a goal and meeting it. I've never run that far. I'm quite sure I've never run more than two miles, even in the Army.


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