The first ever Gilbert Half Marathon was held Saturday, November 22nd, 2014. I decided a few months back that I would run it, despite it being two weeks after Ragnar Trail and the weekend after a trip to Disneyland with my children. I did this because I am an idiot and I apparently cannot read a calendar.
My training program for Ragnar mostly consisted of running when I felt like it and trusting that I am great and would not run into too many issues out on the trail. This was a terrible idea on many different levels, most notably that running on flat roads does not do much to prepare you for running up the side of a mountain, let alone several mountains. Those things are made of dirt and sharp rocks and cacti that yearn for the taste of sweet human blood. They offer very uneven footing and reward arrogance with bloodshed and pain.
I survived that experience, then jaunted off to jolly old Disneyland, which is a story for a different occasion. I will simply say that under no circumstances should you take a three year old there and expect to have anything other than a hellacious time. Basically, Ragnar and Disney were opportunities for me to be punished for my own hubris.
On to the Gilbert Half Marathon! I planned for this race by not running much since Ragnar. I got back from Disney on Sunday evening and realized I had a week until the race. It was taper time!
Hahahahahaha! I’m just kidding. I did a Tempo run on Tuesday, a speed workout at track on Wednesday, and then 5 fast miles on Thursday at the Road Runner Sports Adventure Run. I took Friday to recover. Hubris FTW! Somewhere along the way I managed to pick up a head cold.
Race day was actually very pleasant. 42ish degrees at the start, but I dressed with some arm warmers and gloves and felt pretty ok. The gun time was set for 7:30AM , which felt luxurious. I left the house at 6:30 thinking I would arrive in plenty of time, as I needed to travel a mere 5 miles. Only the course was run in a circle, and every street I tried to take to the parking area was already closed off. I ended up doing a complete loop around until I found the one ingress point, arriving at the parking area 20 minutes before the race started. The starting line was about 3/4 of a mile away, which meant by the time I got there the line for the bathroom was insane. Those two cups of coffee in the morning were starting to look like a mistake.
I met up with my running group, which was great. I had a couple minutes to talk before it was time to line up. The race director let us know they would start us in waves, with each pace group starting 30 seconds after the previous. Everyone understood the rules and was eager to follow them. No, I’m just kidding. The second they started the first group everyone surged forward and all hope of a graduated start flew out the window. The mayor of Gilbert was there to give us a brief talk before all civility and propriety flew out the window, which was nice.
We started out running through downtown Gilbert, so I got to see a lot of familiar sights. There were a surprising number of people out there to cheer us on. From there we continued down to the power line trail, which took us through Freestone park, continued along the power lines, and dumped us out on Greenfield road. That winded us over to the canals, through Crossroads park (the start of the 10k), and meeting up with Williams Field Road. We ran along there back to Gilbert Road, then north on Gilbert until we reached the Civic Center. It was a fun, fast course. It was also flat, unlike Ragnar which my legs were thankful for.
I had done nothing in the way of training for the race. Within the first couple of miles I had decided to ignore my GPS watch and just run based on how I felt. That turned out to be a wise decision. I did better than my goal time, which was decidedly unambitious. I suspect had I obsessed over the GPS I would have been much closer to that time and had a more unpleasant experience. I did need to use the restroom pretty much the entire time, but there were no real opportunities to do so.
All told, I ran a good race and had fun. I would definitely do it again next year. Just, you know, I would try to train for it better. Or at all, really. I would also try to avoid stacking my calendar so deep. With Thanksgiving coming up I have not had much of a break lately.