Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Half Marathon

By Ross Forman

It was late-June, or maybe early-July, when I got a text message from Matt, a good friend dating back to our days at Indiana University. He was one of the stars of the Hoosier soccer team and I was a beat reporter covering the team.

Thankfully, we have remained close friends long since our days in Bloomington. Matt is still active in soccer and I’m still writing. I also am running, a relatively new entrĂ©e on my sporting resume. So, when Matt sent me a text that he ran his first-ever Half Marathon, I knew I had a little challenge.

Matt finished in 2:20 … my goal for my first-ever Half Marathon was 2:19.

Sorry Matt, had to beat ya.

Problem was, I really had no idea going into my first Half what time was reasonable, what time was impossible, or even how to pace myself for only 13.1 miles. The Half Marathon, of course, is only 13.1-miles and though I’ve run five full marathons (26.2 miles), I really had no clue what was or was not possible.

I just knew July 26, when I approached the starting line, that I wanted to be done in 2:19.

I felt fine throughout the race and everything was working – the legs, the iPod, the Garmin watch, the energy gels, the Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition, you name it.

The course was marked in miles and kilometers, and the latter screwed with my mind. Mathematically speaking, that is. There were times, late in my run, when I thought I only had one mile to go – according to the signs. Not so, of course.

I wish everyone in the world would just run in miles.

When I actually had one mile to go, I kicked it in. This was the home stretch, and boy was I looking forward to sending that text to Matt in Washington state. Sure enough, I did it, I crossed the finish line in 2:19.50.

I was thrilled; that was the happiest I had ever been after a race.

When I finished the Florence (Italy) Marathon in late-November 2007, that was the most emotional moment of my running career, mostly because it was my first marathon.

The time in my Half was/is nothing to brag about in the grand scheme of things. I ran at a training pace - not at a traditional, faster race-day pace. Before the race, I talked to this Israeli runner who had the stereotypical runners’ body – and the super-short running shorts too, which I never will wear. I later heard he finished in 1:29. So I guess I have my work cut out for me; I’m going to run a sub-two hour Half Marathon, someday … and still don’t ever expect or hope to see me wearing those super-short running shorts.

Now, though, I’m back into training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 11.

Two months to go, and I feel better than before any of the five other marathons I’ve run. Here’s hoping I stay as strong, and hopefully the folks in Kansas at the corporate headquarters for Garmin International will fix my Garmin 405 watch once and for all. I’ve had this watch since January, and this is the second time they are replacing it. Garmin might be great for others, but I’m not sold on it.
I ran 8 miles on Saturday, August 1, while in Cleveland for the 30th annual National Sports Collectors Convention. This Saturday,

August 8, the miles kick back up as I’ll be running 17.

I’m running the Chicago Marathon with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program and am fund-raising for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Please consider donating to this very worthwhile cause. Click here to donate.


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