Yahoo! I finished my first half-marathon. I wanted to finish my first half-marathon walking an average of 20 minute miles. I walked across the finish line in Choteau Montana 4 hours and 2 minutes after I started. That means that I walked 13.1 miles averaging 18.5 minute miles.
I walked the Grizzly Marathon in Choteau, Montana. I chose this particular marathon for a host of reasons. The Grizzly hosts both a marathon and a half-marathon. The altitude was less than my home altitude, hopefully giving me a little advantage. I had also spent 2 1/2 weeks in the Midwest at near sea level just before this event. This marathon was walker friendly. Walkers don’t get a discount on their entry fee, but many marathons don’t really support the slower participant (roads are not closed long enough, aid/water stations close up etc.). Lastly it is a smaller, low-key event and for my first try at all of this that seamed a good idea.
I could not have made a better choice. Walkers got to start an hour early. We left the starting line at 5 am. It was still dark and I was the slowest walker and the “bringing up the rear truck” followed me patiently for the first 2 miles until the hints of sunlight were such that no one was going to sneak on the closed road and accidentally run me over.
I had driven the course the night before and knew what I was in for. There was one monster hill and I wanted to get that done before the sun came up. It worked perfect. I was at the top and got to watch the sun come up over the Teton River Valley (though I did have to turn around to see it, which I did more than once.) I wish you all could have been there to see it.
Choteau is known for wind, but I was disappointed. People had warned and talked up the wind in Choteau. At home, Buxton, is also known for endless wind,and I wasn’t sure if I should expect wind like home or something worse. No wind, not even a breeze would run by me the whole distance. As the sun came up and it started getting warm, I grumbled a bit about the missing perennial wind, but was also thankful for the hour early start. Montana might be far north, but our altitude makes the sun hot.
I had set a series of little goals for this race. I wanted to finish. I wanted to average 20 minute miles or better. I wanted to be at the top of that monster hill before the 6 o’clock runners came by. I wanted to get through dreaded mile 9. I wanted my gear to hold up. I wanted to not use every port-a-potty I came to.
If I had done 20 minute miles I would have been a little over 4 1/2 hours, instead I was just two minutes over 4 hours! I did get to the top of the hill before the runners. I worked through the 9th mile all alone, and the rest of the miles were just fine. My gear problems did not stop me from finishing, or require attention until after I finished. I only used two port-a-potties. Yep I accomplished a lot!
But the most important of all the goals was to finish and that I did with flying colors. I can now cross a half-marathon off my list. I will take a little time to bask in the glow, and then pull out that life list and see what else I need to take care.