Well, it sure has been a while. Two years mired in apathy and lassitude have left me as a shell of my former self. As far as running goes anyway. But, hey, I did a half marathon yesterday. So hopefully that can be a stepping stone back to relevance on the local running scene. If yesterday’s race did show me anything, it’s that I still have a very long way to go before I get back to former level of fitness. But it also showed me that I still have the determination and drive to go out there and finish a half marathon.
Last year was the inaugural Scranton Half Marathon, which I was unable to do because I was in even worse shape than this year. But I didn’t want to miss it this time around. We had another rough winter here in Scranton, but I shouldn’t use that as an excuse. I had barely a month and a half of decent training before the race yesterday, so it was hard to tell what I should even shoot for. So I decided to just go out and run, have fun with it and enjoy the experience of the amazing running community.
I went out very conservatively with an 8:03 mile. I was way back in the pack and my place was probably well into the hundreds. I ran with a former college teammate of mine and we spent pretty much the whole race gradually reeling people in. We mostly averaged about 7:20 pace until about mile nine. I was feeling a bit sluggish around mile 5, but my body really began to wake up late in the race, which is what tends to happen on my regular runs anymore. I feel way better at the ends of runs than the beginning. Go figure.
My running buddy wasn’t feeling too well, so he dropped off around mile nine. My longest run before the race was only eleven miles, so I was worried about hitting a wall once I got toward the end. Even still, I picked up the pace and did low 7 minute miles for miles nine and ten. I did a 6:54 for mile twelve and I was still feeling good, so I really picked it up for the final mile, cruising in with a 6:10, which I really didn’t think I was capable of. That’s probably the fastest single mile I’ve done in two years. I ended up doing the half in 1:33:47.
That’s a far cry from the times I could run in my heyday. It’s over fourteen minutes slower than my last half marathon. But you know it, I finished it, I took the last few miles hard, I got to enjoy a beautiful day running around my city all with the wonderful camaraderie of fellow runners. I obviously wish I was in better shape and could’ve gone faster, but considering the circumstances, I can’t be too displeased. I mean, I didn’t even crack 40 miles a week before running the half. If I could train consistently for a few months and get back up to 60 miles a week, maybe I’d have a shot at getting back to around 1:20. However, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
There’s no telling if the half marathon will be the impetus to finally truly get my lazy ass back in shape. I sincerely hope so, but I’ve seen just how much life can get in the way of training over the last two years. I’ve fallen off the local running scene, but I hope to make my triumphant return now. This time next year, I hope I’m writing about a sub 1:20 half marathon. With that said, I want to congratulate all the runners who competed yesterday, as well as the organizers, volunteers, police officers, etc. who made it all possible. The Scranton Half Marathon is truly one of the best things this city has to offer.