At last, time to run another half marathon

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These medals from my half marathons bring back memories — some good, some bad.

Like most distance runners, I like looking at my race medals every once in a while. They bring back memories of fun, pain, anguish, triumph and a hundred other memories.

Lately, I’ve been taking a gander at the medals for my half marathons. It’s a race distance I’ve been thinking about lately.  I’ve run 16 half marathons. At seven of the races, they handed out medals to finishers.

But it’s been a while since I’ve run a half marathon or added to this collection.

That’s about to change.

On Saturday, I will line up at the start of a half marathon for the first time in five years.

I will take a deep breath, and when the gun fires, I will start running with a big question on my mind: Can an old guy with a leg injury still cover the distance? If so, how fast?

Since I blew out my IT band in the summer of 2010, I haven’t raced much at all: a 5K here, a 5M there. All my races were as slow as molasses.

But for the past four months, I have been training faithfully, with the goal of running a half marathon again this fall. I’m all signed up for the Mill Race Marathon in Columbus, Ind., which looks like a fun, scenic, small-town event, now in its second year.

In the past few months, I’ve done long runs of 8, 10, 12, 13 and 15 miles. I’m confident I can cover the distance.

But how long will it take? I haven’t done much speedwork; I’ve been to the track a few times, and have only done a couple of tempo runs. So I’m not expecting to set any speed records.

I’ve been wondering what goals I should set for the Mill Race Half Marathon on Saturday. And here’s what I came up with:

C goal: Finish (without hurting myself).

B goal: Finish under two hours.

A goal: Finish under 1:50.

Why under 1:50? Because of the 12 half marathons I’ve run on roads, I finished all but one under 1:50. My first one took me just a few seconds over two hours. All the rest were 1:49 or below. My PR was 1:38:25. And of course, there was my one and only DNF, but the less said about that, the better.

Here are my finish times over the years:

1) River Run. Berea to Rocky River, Ohio, 2002. Time: 2:00:10

2) Fall Classic. Strongsville, Ohio, 2002. Time: 1:49:05.

3) Spring Classic. Strongsville, Ohio, 2003. Time: 1:42:03

4) River Run. Berea to Rocky River, Ohio, 2003. Time: 1:39:08

5) Fall Classic. Strongsville, Ohio, 2003. Time: 1:45:34.

6) River Run. Berea to Rocky River, Ohio, 2004. Time: 1:38:36.

7) Spring Classic. Strongsville, Ohio. 2005. Time: 1:38:25. (PR)

8) Erie at Presque Isle. Erie, Pa, 2005. Time: DNF.

9) Indy Mini. Indianapolis, 2006. Time: 1:45:10.

10) Lawrence Mini. Indianapolis, 2006. Time: 1:46:29.

11) Indiana University Mini. Indianapolis, 2007. Time: 1:44:26.

12) Lawrence Mini. Indianapolis, 2008. Time: 1:45:10.

Of the 11 races above that I finished, my average time was 1:44:56.

Like I said, only one half marathon took me more than two hours. I really don’t want this to be my second one. So that’s my real goal. Finish 1:59 or better. Even if I have to drag my bum leg behind me for the last five miles.

Stay tuned!


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