EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series of weekly articles by Travis Daugherty, a 28-year-old veteran, a resident of Vienna and a program analyst for the federal government, as he participates in the Half Marathon Training Program conducted each Monday.
Daugherty left the military in January 2009 and didn't do any exercising until this year. During that time, he gained 70 pounds and had knee surgery performed in March 2011.
Tired of being overweight, he began an exercise program in January of this year, starting on a stationary bike and then moving to an elliptical. By the end of January, he started running and now is training to run in the Aug. 18 News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
This week's training run was the actual half marathon course and it was great!
At 6:45 a.m. last Sunday, several of us gathered in the downtown Wesbanco Parking lot near Juliana Street. My brother, Russell Daugherty, joined me this time and rode his bicycle over most of the route with me. I began by stretching for a few minutes and then we all started running. The route begins by running up Juliana Street toward Juliana Square. Then the route turns left on 13th Street, crosses over Murdoch Avenue and then turns left onto Garfield Avenue.
I was running with my normal running buddies, Jeff and Vicki Elkins-Earl. I am not sure of Jeff's last name.
I was feeling good and I knew it was going to be a good day. We started up Juliana Street Bridge toward the Marrtown Exit. I ran up the entire hill without stopping. We made our way to the first water stop on Marrtown Road. The three of us stopped and had a few sips of water. After that, I decided to pick up my pace and try to get as much of the course done before the early morning fog burned off. For the first time on any of the training runs, I was out running my running buddies. They are normally waiting on me but that was not the case this time.
At the 3.5-mile mark we turned left on to 95/Dupont Road before turning right on Gihon Road. This part had some rolling hills that were fun to run. They were challenging but the hard training was paying off. By this time, Vicki was behind me and out of sight, but I could still talk to my brother and Jeff. We talked about any topic that came up. It was nice to be able to do that with my brother. We continued on Gihon Road passing the five and six mile mark.
Jeff and I stopped at the second water stop, then continued running. I walked when I needed to, but I didn't walk much on this training run. We crossed over Pike Street and continued to Rayon Drive. At about the seven-mile mark, there is a large hill. I walked up most of it then ran the rest of the way, crossing over W.Va. 95 before turning left onto Old Camden Avenue.
After passing mile nine, my wife brought me a Gatorade. This allowed me to skip the last couple of water stops and just concentrate on finishing this 13.1-mile run. It was the refueling I needed to get me to the finish. We merged back onto Camden Avenue and then crossed the Fifth Street Bridge at mile 10. At this point, my brother told me that I only had "a 5K remaining to run". The last 3.1 miles of the course is the hardest part.
We turned right onto Avery Street and then right onto 13th at the 11-mile mark. I had to walk up the 13th Street hill. I could now see Vicki; she had caught up to me. I made a couple wrong turns, but she was quick to help me out and get me back on course. We both weaved our way to the 12-mile mark. I was now running my longest distance ever! I was very happy with myself. Vickie and I turned onto Market Street and ran across the finish line together.
I was able to finish this run in 2 hours and 40 minutes. This is just over an average of 12 minute pace per mile. I am very happy with my time. I am ready for Aug. 18! Bring on race day!