In all honesty I have only ever run two formal half-marathons (three including the half ironman I suppose but I don’t include it). I know, it’s hard for even me to believe. I’ve run the distance so many freakin’ times while training for marathons, triathlons, or just maintaining my endurance so it feels as though I have run more. True, I’ve run 15ks, 10 milers (my favorites around here? Cville in March and Richmond in October) and four marathons, but only two halfs (or is it halves?).
It’s like up until I hurt my knee, the half-marathon distance wasn’t even really in my radar. I blame that mostly on going right from the 10k to the marathon distance. Once you run 26.2–and become addicted–13.1 just doesn’t cut it. For all you marathoners out there, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never pushed it past 13.1 you’ll just have to take my word on this one.
Even though I haven’t had the greatest desire to pay for and run formal half marathons (I mean, I’ll run 13+ miles during my training runs all the time), I know that the half marathon is the most popular distance (as distance races go anyways)…so many more people run half marathons than full ones–although that could be changing. So here are some reasons why I definitely won’t PR in Vegas in a few weeks:
1) My knee. You knew this one had to come first! It’s difficult to run at all sometimes much less run fast. I always make sure to be extra careful in the beginning of my long runs so I can be sure to make it to the end. I don’t know if I will ever be back to my former running self, but I have high hopes. It’s amazing to think that when I got into running after college all I wanted to do was run 5ks fast. Those days of running 20 minute 5ks are a distant memory as of now, but I’m not ruling anything out. I can say for sure that my knee won’t be ready for balls to the wall running in 2 1/2 weeks though…
2) 40,000+ people. Far more race participants than ever signed up this year because it is the first year they are putting the race on at night (“Run the Strip at Night”). That means I need to be prepared for a few things: 1) the organization of the race will have some snafus. I’m talking everywhere from the expo to the corrals and finish line (all I have to do is read Skinny Runner’s review of the RnR Savannah Marathon and I get the heebies). The race is also set up so that the marathon runners, who start first, will be getting back to the starting line/the halfway point right when the half marathon runners start. So it’s going to be total chaos. I know that when you have to dodge around people you typically don’t have your fastest time, so I’m not counting on it this time around.
3) I don’t think my heart is fully in it. First off, as I mentioned before, I just don’t get into that distance. But I also know that when I get there and pick up my marathon bib (I signed up and planned on running the full marathon back before I hurt my knee) I’m gonna be a bit bummed out. The marathon is so–I don’t know–intriguing, addicting, exciting! Call me a running snob, but I just don’t even feel like the half is a real race. The only 2 times I’ve signed up for that distance I felt like it wasn’t as serious or something (especially the 2010 Decker’s Creek Half…I was sick with a fever of 101 so I rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes, and stumbled to the starting line).
4) Finally, it’s VEGAS. Need I say more? I already have a full schedule of partying planned (Wednesday night-Palms, Ghostbar, Moon; Thursday night-club bar crawl including Tryst and Studio 54; Friday night-Chandellier Bar, Marquee; Saturday night-up in the air still but out somewhere; Sunday night-run). So you see it’s not as though I will be going into this race rested or hydrated. In fact, I am doing probably the exact opposite of what you should be doing before a race. But that’s ok because, as I just said, it’s Vegas baby! There are so many half marathons everywhere. And they are put on all. the. time. I can sign up for another one if I want to run it seriously.
The RnR Vegas Half will be my last race of 2011, so I’m truly hoping that 2012 will allow me to run at least one marathon (already thinking about the inaugural RnR in D.C., the Pittsburgh Marathon, or–fingers crossed–NYC).