Earlier this week, I read a blog post from a fellow runner that gave me an interesting idea. Now that I have reached 12 half marathons and 3 marathons I thought I would do a medal picture collage from each race and then do a quick snippet on each race as to what I learned from that particular race.
Here is the collage of my first 12 half marathons in the order the races were run.
1. 2011 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (SC)
This was my first half marathon, so there was a lot of lessons learned here. However, like most half marathoners that stick with it, the lesson learned is that I can do this with continued training and determination.
2. 2012 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (FL)
This was my first night race. The lesson learned here is that preparing for a night race can be different than for morning races. With night races, you have to manage your day’s activities and eating, whereas a morning race you just get up and run .
3. 2012 Kiawah Island Half Marathon (SC)
This race taught me that with proper training, I can do multiple races within several weeks of each other. This was used to help me in preparing for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World that would come up the next month.
4. 2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon (FL)
This was my first Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World which was to run the half marathon on Saturday and follow it up the next day with a marathon. Holy cow the lessons I learned here. I would never have imaged this accomplishment. This was the proof that training will help you accomplish anything!
5. 2013 Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon (SC)
Can you say P-R! In the words of Ricky Bobby, I learned to go fast. I learned how to run longer and faster for this race and set what is still my current half marathon PR at 1:45.
6. 2013 North Carolina Half Marathon (NC)
I learned how to work with Mother Nature here. This was my first race in a downpour! I learned how to prepare as best as possible for running in the rain. Even for the conditions, it was an enjoyable race once you face the fact, it’s raining, so what you going to do about it. This is also when I decided that I wanted to attempt a half marathon in all 50 states before I turn 50.
7. 2013 Run for the Dreams Half Marathon (VA)
I learned to deal with the unknowns for this race. Several fellow runners suggested I do this race to accomplish VA. It was in Colonial Williamsburg, where we got to see a lot of history. I did not do much research on the course route, and there were some pretty big hills for this Charlestonian. I conquered the hills and learned that for future races, I will be very thorough in my course map research.
8. 2013 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (SC)
Returning to the site of my first half marathon, I learned that I had improved quite a bit. My first half marathon here in 2011 was run in 2:07, and I returned two years later to run a 1:58. I felt so much better in this race than I did 2 years before. What motivation to see improvements.
9. 2013 Space Coast Half Marathon (FL)
Other than Disney this was a dream come true. I loved and grew up following the NASA Space Shuttle Program. When I learned they were creating the Big Bang Race Series to yearly commemorate each of the five shuttles, I was in. This was the first of 5 years, and the medal commemorated the Columbia Space Shuttle. I learned that I could run a race in an arm brace. I was just under a month removed from hand surgery from a dog bite which tore the tendons in my hand.
10. 2013 Kiawah Island Half Marathon (SC)
This was my second repeat location. On this attempt I was a little slower, I think because of all the down time from the hand surgery. But I persevered and still made it in under my personal goal of 2 hours.
11. 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon (FL)
This was probably my worst half marathon to day. It was hot and humid and I just did not seem to have it this day. This was my second time attempting the back to back Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. This however turned out to be a blessing. The next day in the marathon I PRed by over 3 minutes!
12. 2014 Mercedes Benz Half Marathon (AL)
An interesting weekend to say the least. I learned here the old phrase, roll with the punches. When we arrived for the race, it was so crowded and packed. I am not one for crowds and busy towns so I was a little unnerved here. I later found out that not only was there a race scheduled, there was a home & garden show, cheerleader competition, and a Komi-Con convention. Because the town was not very big we were all staying at the same resort. Here I also had another bout with Mother Nature in that this was my coldest race to date at 25 degrees! I did pretty well in the race, but was ready to get out of there!
Since I am more focused on half marathons, I have only done three marathons, all at Walt Disney World (2012, 2013, & 2014), with 2013 & 2014 being apart of the Goofy Challenge.
1. 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon
This was my first marathon. In waiting in the corral for the race to start, I to this date remember only one thing the announcer said, “Only 10% of the world population has completed a marathon!” That has stuck with me throughout my running. I am a 10-percenter. This was truly an amazing experience. I am not one to shed tears, but I have to say I got a little teary eyed when I crossed that Finish Line.
2. 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon (Goofy Challenge)
So you would think I would take my 10-percenter and be happy and sail off into the sunset. Oh No! After the 2012 marathon, we were standing in line to have my picture taken with Mickey Mouse and my newly earned Marathon medal. There was an unknown lady in line behind us that completed the 2012 Goofy Challenge. I told her that was amazing and something I would probably not attempt. In the five minutes in line, she pretty much convinced me to run the Goofy Challenge. She said it just takes a little more training, adding one more run or walk the day before my long run. I will probably never meet this lady ever again but I thank her for convincing me to give the Goofy a challenge. I did and conquered it with eaze….
3. 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon (Goofy Challenge)
So if 2013 Goofy Challenge wasn’t a one-upper, I topped it and did it again! This time I did remarkably well. I trained a little harder for this than I did for the 2013 Goofy Challenge, and it paid off. I set my current marathon PR by over 3 minutes! After the race I started the talk that this was going to be my last marathon. The training is just too much; however, this year they started the Dopey Challenge (run a 5k, 10, half marathon, and marathon on 4 consecutive days). My wife said I have to do the Dopey, as it will be the only RunDisney medal I do not have (short of TinkerBell & Princess). I told her we would revisit this in the future but as for now I am taking the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon off (who knows what 2016 may hold).