Yesterday, I ran my first official half-marathon race. Today, I can't walk.
As my wife massages my sore muscles with Iodex, I have to ask myself. What is the difference between running 21K every Saturday morning on a treadmill without any pain, and running the same distance on the road and having my body in complete ruins?.
I think I know the answer: Heat.
It was a nice and sunny day, as I headed out with the family to the Marina Mall - where the race was scheduled to begin. I had not run for the last 6 days to ensure that my legs were well rested, and I had plenty of sleep the night before. I was feeling good.
I collected my timing chip, and mingled around as runners started turning up. It was a very good turnout. Nearly 200 runners for the half-marathon and a similar number for the 10K run. The race was scheduled to start at 8:00 AM.
Everything was really well organized, and the race started at the scheduled time.
|The start of the half-marathon. Photo by bloggermathai.|
As I continued running, I started noticing a second problem. The drinks. We had been briefed that there would be drink stations along the route serving water, Pepsi, and Gatorade. The problem was picking up the right drink. I would have preferred to sip Gatorade throughout the run - in order to maintain salts in the body and avoid cramps, but it was not apparent which glass contained what (unless you stopped by to inspect). Most of the time, I ended up with a glass of water. This was not a good sign.
By the time we reached the half-way point, I was really tired, and my pace dropped considerably. It was now 6 minutes for every kilometer. On my return trip, I tried to be more choosy on the drinks - even stopping by twice to make sure that I got Gatorade.
The heat was really intense and maintaining pace was now a struggle. I felt I should stop, but I carried on. At the 17km mark, I suddenly got a cramp in the calf and stopped in sudden pain. After drinking some more water, I started again - this time being very mindful of the cramps developing.
I was determined to finish the race under the 2 hour mark and I am proud to say that I did it. I completed the race in 1 hour and 55 minutes, and my official position was 60th out of 150 runners who completed the event.
The only strange thing I found was that my GPS shows that I completed only 19.7Kms, while the distance markers showed that I ran 21K. I don't know which is correct.
All in all, it was a well-organized event. I hope the organizers make this an annual event for Kuwait.