Monday, October 3, 2011

Running Down Darth Vader: 10/2

Twelve miles.  When I began copying my training plan from the August issue of Runner's World, the twelve miler at the end of week 8 was unimaginable.  I remember just shaking my head as I wrote it on my calendar.  I was glad that it fell in the early part of October, so I wouldn't have to stare at it for the whole month of September.  It scared the crap out of me.  It reminds me when I saw Star Wars for the first time, and Darth Vader scared me to death.  Most people forget just how frightening Vader was to kids watching the original Star Wars for the first time on the big screen.  He was enormous, clad in black, and the way the breathed chilled you to the core.  Darth Vader gave me nightmares as a four yaer old.  The Boggie Man never bothered me because I had no idea what he looked like, but Vader -- I knew exactly what he looked and sounded like.  This Twelve miler was just as terrifying to me as Darth Vader was to that wide eyed four year old with his eyes fixed upon the screen.

Now, I know that I still have a Half Marathon to run, but the twelve miler is the longest run of my training plan, and I am counting on the race day rush to carry me pretty far during the half.  But, I knew that for that twelve miler that I would only have myself to see me through.  I began to dread the run even more after I inexplicably scheduled a 10k race for the day before.  Why would do such a thing, well . . . I am sometimes a bit of a dumbass!  After last weeks 10 miler, which was the longest run of my life to that point, the gravity of this run began to set in, and I felt as if the Imperial March was playing in my head all week.  Vadar was coming and he had been disappointed for the last time!  My legs were cranky all week, and by Wednesday, I began to think of ways to alter my training schedule.  However, Thursday's morning run did a lot to settle my nerves.  Still by Saturday morning, there was still part of me that was wanting to skip the 10k.  Luckily, it had a $30 entrance fee, and I am a bit of a cheap bastard didn't want to just throw money away.  Therefore, I manned up and ran the race.  Afterward, my legs felt good, but I was feeling exhausted and nervous as the day went on.  I started getting stuff ready for my Sunday morning long run at 9:30pm and was in bed by 10pm.  When I woke up at 5:30am, It was time to face Darth Vader.

But, I didn't want to face him.  So I dilly dallied around until it was nearly 8:15 before I left the house.  When I got to Umstead, I still wanted no part of this run.  I spent the first three miles trying to settle my nerves and reconcile myself to the task at hand.  I didn't bring a camera on this run because I wanted to focus on the run.  Taking pictures as I run is a good way to make a run pass quickly, but I felt like I need to face up to this one.  Look directly at it's Darth Vader face and run it down.

Somewhere into mile three a couple of songs came on my I-pod that helped me to relax.  The next three miles went by fairly well, but I was still unnerved by the idea of twelve miles, and I couldn't help but think that it had only been a week ago that I ran ten miles for the first time.  However, upon reaching six miles, I was committed. My car was six miles away, and one way or another I was going to have to get back to it, so I may as well run.  Over the last six miles I felt a real clarity of purpose.  If I were a huge nerd I might say something about "the Force", but I'm not going for a cheezy reference with this post.  It is just when I think of things that scared me as a kid, Darth Vader tops the list, and when it come to training for the Half Marathon this run was what scared me the most.

After reaching the the nine mile mark, I knew I had the run in the bag.  It was down to a 5k, and I knew that I had more than enough in the tank for a 5k.  The last of my hills were in mile ten, and the last two miles just slipped by pretty quickly.  My legs hurt as soon as I stopped running, but the pain was just from soreness. . . lost of soreness . . . but not hint of injury or pain that I need to worry about.  I had faced down Vader and survived!

12 miles in 2:09:48 for a 10:48 pace

1 10:49
2 10:49
3 10:38
4 10:12
5 11:14
6 10:30
7 10:33
8 9:42
9 11:28
10 11:53
11 10:41
12 10:50


  1. Oh NICE splits! You are so going to kill this half, I'm too excited for words. You've done everything right, keep that in mind when the pre-race jitters set in!

    The rush will definitely get you through during the race and then you'll have your medal be a half-marathoner!

    Plan a victory party for yourself! After a race I like to hit my favorite for-special-occasions-only breakfast place and order something I would never ever have... like pancakes.

  2. Greg, you are a badass! Now 12 is no longer untouchable because you've been there done that. You are ready for your race!