I got my half-marathon in on Tuesday evening: 53 laps around the Kezar track. I usually don't do long runs around a track like that, but I wanted to know exactly how far I was going, and I wanted to be able to keep a good water supply on hand. It took me just under 2 hours -- about a 9 minute pace -- which is a little disappointing. My goal for the marathon is 4 hours, but I'll need to train a lot harder to get to that point. Running around Kezar at night is ideal conditions -- flat surface, no heat, no crowds. But in Honolulu I'll be going over hills and contending against heat and crowds. Given those additional obstaces, there's no way that I could keep up the same pace that I ran on Tuesday over twice the distance at my current conditioning.
I tried to run a marathon once before...and failed. It was fall of 1991 -- the Sacramento Marathon. I trained with a friend of mine. We got up to 18 miles in our training, but a few weeks before the race I fell down some outdoor stairs during a run and injured my knee. I had to stop training. I tried to run the race anyway so that all my hard work wouldn't go to waste. I stayed with my friend for the first half-marathon; we did it in 1 hour, 47 minutes. But I didn't go any further. I could have gone a little further, but not the whole way. The course was out-and-back, out-and-back, and I just couldn't bring myself to run that second lap. So I stopped at the half-marathon, and my friend went on and finished the race in 4 hours.
Ever since that race eight years ago I've wanted a second chance. Now I've got one.