I swore during my first half-marathon in Las Vegas I would never, EVER do it again. 3-1/2 months later I do it again in Dallas. What the hell? What happened? I’m not a runner. I think I just wanted another medal. Those things are awesome, and let’s face it, if they didn’t hand out medals I wouldn’t do this. What’s more, when you finish your second Rock N Roll series event they send you a bonus medal in the mail! A BONUS medal! The “Rock Encore” medal. Whaaaaaaa?!?!?
Since this was Aimee’s third Rock N Roll event she’ll be receiving the Triple Crown medal in the coming weeks. Sweeeeet.
What stinks is now I’ll always be a medal behind her. Being the secretively competitive person I am, this eats away at me.
So with my second Rock N Roll Series half-marathon in the books, I’ve started to notice a few things…
You can will your way through 13.1 miles. I wasn’t here to set a PR. I just wanted to finish. I had ZERO training for this one and ran/jogged/shuffled my way to a 2:27 finish. Only walked a couple times and for a very short amount of time. For me personally, I would say that’s finishing strong. For my first half marathon I trained very well and very consistently but because of my nerves I had an adrenaline dump so by mile 8 I had nothing left. Finished that one at 2:14, a ways away from my sub 2-hour goal. The winds were also a ridiculous 30 mph, right into your face, so I have nothing to be ashamed of. At the very least they blew away the sobbing tears and masked the girlish cries of my last three miles. This one though we set no goals and just planned to enjoy the day and each other as we jogged through it together. That lasted all of 1.5 miles when my wife ditched me, not to be seen again until the finish line… and presumably for some shorty-short wearing ultra runner from Kenya. I kid. But we started out together, mile one split of 9:00… way too fast for our untrained legs so we slowed down. Apparently me much more so than her. It’s all good, I was proud of her and she even set her PR at 2:11. Next time we’ll both finish together, and under 2:00.
One of the best things about these events are the supporters along the way. I didn’t know any of them but it didn’t matter. Some were there to support a specific person, many others were there just to support and cheer on everyone. And the signs… oh the signs… those are perhaps my favorite thing about these events. Here are a few that I can remember from this 1/2 marathon in Dallas:
“Chuck Norris never ran a half marathon”
“Run like you stole something”
“Single and Supportive”
(The girl holding this sign had an arrow pointing up at her.)
“If this was easy it would be called your mom”
“Milk was a bad idea”
(Complete with picture of Will Ferrel as anchorman Ron Burgundy. One of my personal favorites given that I was sporting a burly, grotesque beard for this run, similar to that scene in the movie.)
“You’ve got stamina. Call me.”
“You’re almost there! (That’s what she said)”
“Worst parade ever”
“Run complete stranger!”
(Literally a guy holding a sign that just said “Motivational Sign”. Awesome.)
“Make this half your bitch!”
“Mr. T says: Shut up Legs”
(Complete with pic of Mr. T in the 80’s. Saw this guy 2 or 3 times along the way…)
…which leads me to another observation. I passed the same people holding the same signs a number of times. I also passed the same runners a number of times. It’s a strange feeling 9-10 miles into the run. Kinda like deja vu. I was just hoping I hadn’t teleported back to mile 3 or something. It could be a bit disconcerting at times.
Oh, and this one runner had a sign pinned to his back that read: “I just signed up for this 2 days and you’re still behind me.” Hilarious. Only I was behind him reading his sign. Granted, I too did not train but kudos to him. I assume he finished.
Another bit of awesomeness… all the free crap at the finish. TONS of snacks and drinks. You know I like free stuff. Made Aimee grab another free chocolate milk for me. She doesn’t drink chocolate milk but you know I do. She ended up drinking it anyway, probably just to spite me. I have yet to have the free beer at the end. It sounds like a great idea when you start, but when you finish I can’t think of anything worse. Probably just me.
The live bands along the way are awesome. I usually make a half-hearted attempt to listen to them as I run by, by pulling out an earphone, but I can’t really hear much of anything in that short of time and out of one ear. It’s just cool to see them playing and cheering us on.
Love high-fiving people along the way, especially the kids. That’s another thing that keeps you moving… you can’t high-five people if you’re walking. I mean, I guess you could, but I think it’s lame. Move your ass man. For the kids.
Saw a young lady in front of me, all cute in her pink accented running attire, make a brief side step to the curb to blow out a snot rocket in mid stride. Whaaa? Really? Saw another lady hock a loogie like a grown ass man. 12-foot blast, straight to the grass, perfect propulsion. Wow. And the spandex. Dear Lord the spandex. Few people should ever wear spandex pants but for some reason I guess it’s acceptable out there. Maybe next time I’ll rock some.
Totally different scenery from the nighttime half along the Vegas strip. Granted, I was miserable and angry during that one so the scenery didn’t seem to matter at the time. This time there were breathtaking mansions along the way that captured my attention. During the first mile we ran past the book depository and grassy knoll… on the very same road where JFK was shot. That was pretty cool. Wait. Is that cool or weird? Both I guess.
All in all it was a much better experience this time, but only because I had a positive attitude and no nerves. The anxiety and nervous energy before the first half in Vegas absolutely killed me and ended up ruining a good part of the experience. I promised myself I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and I’m confident the next half will prove to be the best yet. But where should the next be? Denver? Ooooh, maybe Dublin. Or Nice? We’ll see.