On Sunday, I decided to do a tune-up run for January's ING Miami Marathon. Problem is, I'm not in good enough shape to run 26.2 miles, so I signed up for the Palm Beaches Half Marathon, figuring to run 13.1 miles -- slowly, ten minutes per mile or so.
After paying the steep half-marathon entry fee, I joined the 4,000 or so people at 6:15 a.m. running south from West Palm Beach. I felt so good at the point where marathoners kept going and half marathoners turned north that I continued with the big boys.
Once I got to between 11 and 12 miles, I decided to turn around. My longest run had been only 13 miles before Sunday, so I figured 18 was just fine for my tired body.
kept going. A couple of minutes later, I was heading north when people started cheering loudly. They offered me high-fives and yelled encouragement. A sweet lady on a bike even paced me.
Then someone yelled: "You're in second place."
I felt terrible. I told everyone who cheered that I had cut over.
"Can't you see how slowly I'm running?" I shouted to one lady.
"They all look the same when you are standing still," came the response.
A few minutes later, I watched as elite runners zoomed by. As soon as the full marathoners' path joined back up with the half, I moved into the half-marathon lane and finished there. My final time: 18 miles in three hours. Just fine for me.