The short: Opted for the half-marathon and was slow as hell, clocking in at 3:10:51
The long: After the bout of the flu and the chaos that was this past Thanksgiving weekend, I went into the event to just get as much time on my feet as I could have allowed myself without screwing up too much and to see my friends during the event. Doing the whole 26.2 miles was a mild pipe dream due to the fact that I hadn't had run anything longer than 12 miles and that my conditioning levels for strength were okay, but I was on the downside for aerobic capacity compared to before (should have gotten that flu shot when I had the chance.) I also decided to go a bit minimalist and run in my Crocs. I wanted to maintain my form as best as I could and there is no better way to do that then to run minimalist.
As I said before, it's the Thanksgiving weekend and I was busy as hell. Even though I had a 4-day weekend away from work, home and family took over like mad and I got just as little sleep as I would have during the work week. Rest is important and I gave it the finger.
On race day, I scrambled out the door in my cold-weather gear and got to the race location later than expected. No parking spots near the start/finish for me. Even though I was supposed to early start with everyone at 7am, I ended up 10+ minutes past. Lucky for me, Scott Krell (the RD) was cool enough to let me just keep my own time. Wasn't like I was going to break any records or BQ anyway.
So with Crocs on my feet, I set off along the trail. It was a cold and windy day, so with my construction bag/body-bag poncho I made up the night before, I was kept nice and warm while the winds that came off the waters of Lake Washington doubled as an invisible hill. The bag acted like a parachute when running into the wind and as a sail when the wind was on my back. Yin and Yang baby, gotta love that.
My feet/legs were feeling good for the first 8-9 miles and I was running at the pace that I'd be grooving at (sub-12 minute miles). However, my hamstrings gave out on me at mile 10 and I ended up practically slow walking most of the last 5k to the finish line. I tapped out and opted to take the half-marathon finish. Funny thing is that from the waist up, I was fine. I wasn't winded and felt like I had the energy to keep going. But from the waist down, those hamstrings weren't cooperating and a blister on my right foot (4th toe) wasn't helping things along, even after downing two AC&C pills to ease the pain.
So what did I learn? Well...
1.) My running form has improved, but it's not there yet for a longer distance yet.
2.) I need to run more and get my long runs longer and more frequent.
3.) I need to hammer on my hamstrings more. I've neglected deadlifting and other exercises that targeted the hamstrings.
I've got about a month before the Pigtails Flat Ass run, but I'm more optimistic about that one to finish it and do much better time wise on a minute per mile basis than I did at the Ghost.
Do I consider this a defeat? Nope, just another learning experience. I figured out my faults and will start beating the crap out of them before I test out myself again for the next event. Onward!