5K+ #3, a Half Marathon, January 13, 2013: Alabama, Gulf Shores

The Gulf Coast Half Marathon, 13.16 miles, in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Never thought that this could happen--running a half marathon.

Until I was 60, I had never run more than 2 miles.

My longest run was in 2012 -- 7 miles, and here I am entering a half marathon.  Why?

It is difficult to schedule enough 5Ks to get to all 50 states in a calendar year because most 5Ks are run on Saturdays with a few on Sundays and holidays.  So for a weekend, I try to find two adjoining states with one having a 5K on Saturday, and the other on Sunday.

I saw that I could run a Saturday 5K in Mississippi and a Sunday race in Alabama, but that Bama race was a half marathon.

I love Biloxi, Mary Mahoney's, and the Gulf coast, so to make it work this weekend, I chose apprehensively to enter my first half marathon, the Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

And-- I have some goals:
1) finish
2) finish under 2:10:00
3) finish under 2:02:27. This is the family record posted by older son Stewart (Walter Stewart Dewar IV).
4) Finish under 2:00. Call 911.

1-13-13: the day of my first half marathon has arrived.

And we are off. 216 running today.

One of the ballerinas walked the 13.16 miles. It turned out that I ran beside the other ballerina from about mile 2 to mile 4, but ultimately, she was Secretariat and I was Sham.

I was averaging 9:15 miles for the first 9 miles and had my eye on besting my son's time, but at that point, my legs started to cramp, and I struggled as if I were Chester in Gunsmoke (you under 60s should google that). I averaged 10:45 miles for the last 4+. Although that included the 800+ yard incline going up my Tallahatchie Bridge in mile 12.

So I limped in at a pretty good time 2:08:19 that accomplished two of my goals -- finishing and running under 2:10.

This was 72nd out of 216 runners, but 5th in my age group, evidently due to some speedy old geezers who ran at a pace under 2 hours.

No medal for me since I was not in the top 3, but as in youth sports, all the finishers in the Gulf Coast Half Marathon get a medal, and it opens bottles too.

After the run, all the runners enjoyed Jumbalaya, red beans and rice, and ice cold beer at Lulu's, a great open air restaurant where the race began and ended.

This was a really fun event. Next weekend, we go to 5Ks in Charleston, SC, and Atlanta, GA. The Atlanta run is on Martin Luther King Day.

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