Monday, February 16, 2015

My Better Half

Near the beginning of the race
River to River Runners

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents
Listen to the podcast on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network here!

No, this isn't a post about my true better half, my wife.  Instead I'm writing about my most recent half marathon.  I say most recent as if I've run so many before.  The Fly with the Eagles race (February 14, 2015) marks my second half marathon. I ran the same race a year earlier, but with much different results this time.

Yes I took a selfie
According to the official race results from the River to River Runners website, I ran the 2015 race in 1:58:58. In 2014, I finished the 13.1 miles in 2:22:20.  I think I can attribute several things to my improvement, but I think the biggest thing was I was mentally prepared this time around.  I wasn't sure what to expect in 2014 because I hadn't run more than 10 miles at that point.

GU Energy Gel
The mild winter helped me get out and run more this time.  The night before I ate lasagna from Fazoli's and drank a lot of water. Last year it was pizza and soda the night before the race.  I also tried a GU Energy Gel for the first time, thanks to a running friend (Pamm). I will never run a long distance race without it or a similar product.  I took it around the eight mile mark and maybe it was mental, but I did feel recharged and even more determined to finish. A new pair of running shoes from my parents also helped this year. Last year I'd run in shoes with more than 500 miles on them.

Sign guy helped lift spirits.
The funny thing as I was listening to my RunKeeper app I was trying to do the math in my head. I got excited when I figured out I could possibly finish at the two hour mark.  My goal was to do anything better than last year's 2:22:20.  I was disappointed with that time because my goal was to do 2:20:00. When I rounded the last curve I saw the clock registering at 1:58 and some change.  I was ecstatic as I realized I was going to make it in under two hours and picked up my pace. I crossed the finish line with a sense of pride I've not felt in a long time.

I'm not hurting like the pic implies
This race has renewed my dedication to running. While I don't consider myself a runner, I am having fun doing it.  I'm eyeing an upcoming marathon in October, which is something I never thought I'd want to do.  I still don't know if it'll happen, but I do know my friend and coworker Ashley Smith is headed to the Boston Marathon in April.  Check out here countdown and training here.

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