I had never run a half marathon before Robie. Last summer, Matt convinced me it would be a good idea to run Ragnar with him. I was volunteered to run the second longest set of legs at a total of about 34 miles. The first leg was 14 miles, so I technically ran the distance of a half marathon in a race once before but it wasn’t really the same.
There were four of us who ran Robie “together” and by that I mean we all arrived at the start and left the party at the end at the same time. We didn’t really run it together, but it was fun all the same. This year’s theme (there is always a theme at Robie) was pirates. Mel had the best/only traditionally pirate outfit of our group. Dom had a shirt proclaiming her status as a 14th generation pirate, complete with her great-great-great…grandfather’s pirate flag. Matt decided to take the debate of Pirates vs Ninjas to the race and dressed as a barefooted ninja. Unfortunately for him, they regraded the road with extra gravel since we did our practice run. That slowed him down a bit which was thankful for since it meant I could keep up with him. I decided that maybe they didn’t mean pirates of the high seas but rather pirates of the interwebs so I attached a floppy disk to my shirt and wrote “You wouldn’t steal a car” on it. Not many people got the reference but that made it funnier in my mind.
The race started with some bad Jimmy Buffet covers and a little swash-buckling community theater. After the first half mile, the course takes you past a fire house and all the helpful firemen were out front offering bacon and donuts to anyone running, but with 12.6 miles and a nasty hill still to go, there were few that were interested. As we left town, we climbed through some neighborhoods in the foothills. At about mile 2, there was a slight downhill and since I was wearing shoes, I was able to get ahead of Matt. After that, it was just a quick 11 miles to the finish. The only real drawback about this run was the weather. I was expecting cold and rainy so when it turned out to be warm and sunny, I wasn’t prepared, and I have a nice tan line across my forehead to prove it.
In the end, we all had good runs. I finished in 1:52 and Matt was five minutes behind me. It turns out that despite finishing about 50th in my age group, I still finished in the top 10% of runners overall. That seems to be where I’ve finished every race so far this year. I’ll have to work on getting to the top 5% soon. Considering the winner finished in 1:18 (about the time I crested the hill at mile 9), I still have plenty of room to improve. But the race felt good and there was enough beer at the finish to make up for the last race. I’m already looking forward to next year and figuring out an even more obscure costume idea.