Half Plus Three

Yesterday I ran my first half-marathon of the year, but it was a ‘first’ in a few other ways, too.

It was my first half-marathon in the winter time. Snow, mud, ice and all.

It was my first marathon in the mountains. An elevation difference of only about 600meters, but still 600meters more than the usual flat-city running I’ve done so far.

It was the first time I’ve run this far. My previous record was a straight half-marathon, but this event called for somewhere about 24km of running, so I did a half-marathon plus three kilometers.

It was the longest I have kept on running so far. At 3 hours and 48 minutes, I have never run for his long before in my life.

It was the first time I did a running event and felt comfortable doing it. There was little anxiety for me going into this. I knew that I can finish this and I kept running to the best of my ability, surprising my very own expectations. Quite a difference from that guy who less than a year ago ran a very nervous half-marathon not knowing if he can even cross the finish line in the allowed time.

It was the first time I ran a half-marathon with my shoes completely soaked and caked in mud. Not to mention wet socks, feet, and muddy ankles.

And last but not least, it was the first time I ran with a group of buddies who are the reason I’m even running, to begin with. It was sometime in October of 2017 where during a party our usual gang talked about running events. I was the one who said, “I don’t get it, why would you voluntarily put yourself through that much trouble to…run?”

It was them that motivated me to get off of the couch and try to run, it was them that I started looking up to for pointers and running tips and tricks along with practice running sessions, and it was them that I ran this half-marathon sans one team member.

Ohhh and yes, we do have a running team now. DESTYLATOR Running Team is what it’s called, and Destylator means “Distiller” in English, cause some of us may or may not like to dab a little in homemade remedies like home brewed beer and such.

Pictured below is Piotr (center), Gumol (right), and myself (left). Piotr is our trainer of sort, he’s a seasoned runner and finished yesterday’s event with a time of 2 hours 31 minutes. An hour later Gumol crossed the finish line at 3 hours 34 minutes, and then I finished fourteen minutes later at 3 hours 48 minutes.

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Running conditions were not ideal, to say the least. At times the trail was so slippery that I kept running only to move my feet faster in case I start sliding off of the trail. At one point we were climbing ice covered rocks and even crossed a section with rope on the side as it was too steep and too icy to get down without anything to hold on to. And where there was no snow or ice there was mud. But mud and water only bothered me for the first 4km, that’s about when my feet were totally wet and I stopped thinking about keeping dry anymore. Having recently read David Goggins “Can’t Hurt Me” I simply accepted conditions at hand and mustered through. Throughout his book, Goggins repeats that he didn’t write it to motivate anyone cause motivation is short-lived but having had almost four hours on my hands I thought a lot about his book and that may have kept my head in the race.

It was a great start to what looks to be a pretty good running year for me. Next official race: April 7th.

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