I approached the Go Commando Half Marathon in Clarksville, Tennessee on Saturday,

My race bib

October 19, 2013 with primarily one objective in mind … I wanted to enjoy it. 

I was born in Clarksville, Tennessee. I have tons of fond memories in this city! I remember attending Bible Baptist Church on Golf Club Lane and attending my first school years at their academy. I remember living on Edgehill Drive behind the Dairy Queen. I remember staying with my maternal grandparents two houses down from Bible Baptist Church and my paternal grandparents in the Cumberland Heights area. On and on I could go…
This half marathon race route took me down (or near) some of these streets and special locations. So, whether I did it in record time or not, I wanted to just take in the moment.
My training for the past few months has left much to be desired. With Kim’s major surgery and recovery, I took on some added responsibilities. Running wasn’t high enough on the priority list and it got scratched out of most days. (I only ran 3 miles last week and only 2 miles the week before. I should have been averaging around 25-35.)

Start time weather
705 half-marathoners lining up at the Start Line

I woke up race day morning at 4am after getting a little more than 5 hours of sleep. I drove the hour and a half to Clarksville and was relieved that parking wasn’t hard to find. I tried to go “jacket-less” but the 50 degree weather was a bit cool. Once the race started, I knew I would elevate my body’s temperature but standing around waiting for the race would be extremely uncomfortable so I grabbed my jacket.

I logged the weather details on my phone 6 minutes before the race started. Ordinarily, 53 degree weather is incredible racing weather. I’ve gone running with shorts and short sleeves in 40-something degree temps before and had an enjoyable run! Ten or so minutes into the run, I’ve heated up and the cool temps did a great job of keeping me from getting overheated.
Race route

However, look at the radar at the bottom of the picture I took on my phone. The rain to our NW was headed our way! It started to hit almost as soon as the race started. Fifty-three degree weather is incredible. Fifty three and raining is another story!

I lined up with Jamie Mantooth and Chad Beck, two running friends. When the gun fired, we took off. I was glad that Jamie didn’t feel obligated to hang out with us slow guys. I wanted to see how well he could do in this race. I never saw him again until somewhere around mile marker 9. At that point, runners in front of us had already hit a turn-around point and were headed back. He was doing well coming up the hill but he told me afterward that his knee had radiated so much pain that he had to stop running around that point. I think he finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Incredible time for this VERY hilly race with a knee injury!

Picture taken by Chad’s wife
around mile marker 2
Chad and I ran at a much slower pace. My right calf developed some severe pain two weeks before in a 5K race and I didn’t want to push it and have to abandon this half marathon race. So, I took it slow and easy. Somewhere around mile marker 4 when we were running through Austin Peay University’s campus, we were joined by another runner who stayed with us pretty much the rest of the race. We had a lot of great conversation.

My right calf seemed to tighten up within the first few miles of the race. I mentally massaged it as I ran (runners know how this works). Around miles 8 or 9, it started to give out on me. My body was feeling the effects of the lack of training and running at a slower pace than I usually run. I found myself fighting through every step trying to get to the Finish Line.

As we went over the Cunningham Bridge that spans the Cumberland River on the final mile, Chad told me that he had dedicated his final mile to the glory of God. As he said that, we had almost a breathtaking view of the river below and the beautiful landscape around us. I really needed that because my tank was running on fumes at that point. Within minutes, we both crossed the finish line.

Jamie Mantooth and me
after the Go Commando
Half Marathon Race

After crossing the Finish Line, Chad asked to borrow my phone because his phone had died during the race. I looked around and found a table to lay my jacket on while I took my phone/armband off. However, I didn’t realize that the table belonged to the EMS personnel who were manning the first aid station nearby. As I neared the table, I heard one of them speak into their radio, “We may need some back-up.” I looked over to realize that they were looking at me! Apparently, I was a little more pooped out than I realized! I decided that I wasn’t going to use their table after all!

Afterwards, Katie Mantooth took a picture of Jamie and me before I headed to the car for the long trek back home. Believe it or not, I was much, much more tired that I looked!

But, be that as it may, I finished and got the finisher’s medal … and the memories to go along with it. I’ll take a few days to rest and then plan my next challenge.

My Finisher’s Medal!

Here are my race stats:
Finished 31 of 38 males (40-44)

Placed 297 of 342 male runners

Placed 544 of 705 overall

Finish time: 2:30:43

Average pace: 11:31/mile