As a forewarning, if you’ve come here looking for life stories of a meth-head, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
This past weekend was the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and 5k. It’s an event that helps to support the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. Last year – I think – it raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $750k for the hospital. It’s kind of a family event and for the last two years I have run the half-marathon while my wife has run the 5k or done the 1 mile walk/run with the kids.
While the half isn’t the fastest course, it is a nice course and I set a PR there last year. My race calendar isn’t very packed – races are expensive and usually require some travel. So when an event like this is local, it’s on my calendar for good. This year, though, was a little different.
Almost a year ago, I set my sights on the ultra world. I started adjusting my training to prepare me more for 50 miles, than for 13.1. Most of the training is the same, with some longer runs replacing speed workouts. At times during the year, I really wanted to go to the track for some 2000s, but instead I followed my plan and would do something else. My race schedule changed and races that were usually key races became b-races. This years CHaD half was one of those that took the back seat.
When the time came to register, my wife and I talked and I decided that this year I would sit out the half, and instead I’d run the 5k with my wife and kids in the stroller. At times I questioned my decision. I knew that if I wanted to head out and have a go at the CHaD, I could. My legs and muscles could handle it. It wouldn’t be as fast as I’d have liked, but it could still be quick. I also knew that this is my off-season and I need to let my body recover (mainly my damned Achilles), and that running with the family can be enjoyable, too.
The 5k and the half start together and there’s lots of stuff for the kids to do after. Starting in the back of the pack with the stroller, the front running half-marathoners had a three minute lead on us before we even crossed the starting line. We ran our little race, went through the food line and took the kids for a ride on a robotic elephant that paraded around in circles. And then it was time to leave. Of course, it was just about time for the first guys to start coming in for the half.
Last year I finished with this years first place guy a couple of seconds ahead of me. He has been laying down some nasty times this year, and there’s no doubt he would have smoked me this year, but as he and second place came through in 1:12 and 1:13, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of jealousy tinged with some sadness.
Jealous because I wish I was out there with them hitting 5:40s. Sad because I know that even if I had run, I wouldn’t have nearly the speed they had. Sad because that speed is gone for now. It’s taken a break. I might be able to reclaim some of it, but I’ve made a decision to let it go.
It’s kind of like an 800m specialist in love with cross country. It’s impossible to train to be the best in both fields. The requirements on your body are too different. I picked ultras. I picked long events that take fractions of days to finish. And while I usually think I made the right choice, watching the finish of the half had me second guessing.