Alex oniugnip and I ran the Monumental Half Marathon yesterday. It was pretty great! Alex kicked ass and finished 28th of 252 runners in his division, with a time of 1:33:56, taking several minutes off his previous half-marathon PR. It was my first half marathon, so I vacuously had a PR, too: I finished with a time of 2:06:31, which turned out to be 186th place of 441 runners in my division.1 Not bad, considering that the temperature hovered below freezing for most of the race and that I had only decided to do it at all about three weeks ago.
I hadn't really known what sort of time I should shoot for; my best marathon time is about 4:40, so I figured that a reasonable half marathon time would be ten minutes less than half of that. I therefore came in under my rather arbitrarily chosen goal time. Hooray! Furthermore, I didn't feel wrecked at the end (when the only long road races you've ever been in are marathons, the end of a half marathon sort of sneaks up on you; it's strange), so next time, I think I'll shoot for coming in under 2 hours.
A half marathon, it turns out, is an extraordinarily pleasant experience. You get all of the fun of a marathon -- a giant crowd of people just as insane as you; cheering spectators;2 a medal around your neck at the end -- without completely destroying your body! I was actually able to walk, rather than hobble, back to our hotel after the race. We decided to make a weekend of it in Indianapolis (you know, the "big" "city"!); we did a lot of walking and eating and a little shopping, and I took Alex to see a play, the stage adaptation of Holes. At first I thought it would be geared toward a grade-school audience, but like the novel, it turned out to be surprisingly dark and heavy, and we both liked it a lot.
Next up: Marató de Barcelona in March. Am I badass enough to stay in race shape through the winter and then go run a marathon in Barcelona? Mind you, I've never even been to Europe, let alone attempted to run a marathon there. It probably wouldn't even occur to me to try things like this if it weren't for Alex's constant support and encouragement.
- I'm used to marathons where there are more male than female runners, but it was interesting to see that there were a lot more female than male runners in the half marathon. (There were 1797 self-reported male half-marathon registrants and 2349 self-reported female half-marathon registrants. By contrast, the marathon had 1565 male registrants and 899 female registrants.) I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that marathon training requires long uninterrupted blocks of time, which I conjecture women tend to have fewer of. (And if you're a slower runner, as women tend to be, you need those uninterrupted blocks of time to be particularly long.) Half-marathon training, on the other hand, can be managed if you can steal an hour here and an hour there. If you can go on a six-mile run a few times a week, you can probably run a half-marathon. Of course, it probably doesn't hurt if you can go on some longer runs, too.
- Best, and most inscrutable, sign seen during the race: RUN LIKE A KEYNESIAN. (..."in the long run, we're all dead"?) I also appreciated RUN FASTER, RACHEL, I'M COLD, as well as the two people with signs near the end that simply said FRIED CHICKEN and LINDOR TRUFFLES. I love marathon spectators.