Marathons are beasts. I never know what it will take to tame the beast on any given day. Why do I do it? I don’t know; but from time to time, I must go and ride the demon down.
Crap that hurt!
I did better than I thought I would.
Ok…my hotel is about 100 yards from the start so my last pee was in the hotel room (no line, haha). I’m on IBU, despite all the health risks, because I have cramps (50 year olds are supposed to get over this but I haven’t grown up yet). Hope three doodads will keep me clean for 5 hours.
Walk to the start. Stand in the dark for about ten minutes. They are making a big deal of it being the 50th anniversary of this race; and there are about twice as many people there this year. I get to the back and decide on a slow warm up, even though it is downhill. I’m a little worried about whether I’ll be having knee problems and don’t want to aggravate it early.
First mile: 13:30. Ok…unacceptable…I start going ten minute miles. It is pretty cool, 65F, and foggy. Very soon, I start to pass all the people who sprinted the first downhill mile and some are now walking up the second mile hill. Things go well. After about 65 minutes and a request to my Higher Power, I suddenly come up with today’s theme:
Little Old Ladies Rock.
LOL!!! I start telling everyone, even embarrassing one or two slightly younger women who don’t realize I am saying it about myself. About mile 9 I’m running with one of the miracle marathoners. I seem to meet these people in every marathon. They have overcome some issue with weight or health or life through running and are now marathoners.
The dirt road for miles 9 and 10 is damp and not dusty: great.
I get to the Easley hill at mile 12 ½. I walk up this hill. I already know I can walk up a 30% grade faster than I can run it and I don’t want to blow out my achilles. Half way point is at the top of Easley: 2:16. My brain has been working every mile, but now I know for sure what is possible and what is not possible depending on how much effort I put into this race. I have no injury issues but my legs are getting tired.
Things go along fine. This race is all hills except for mile 11 along the Missouri River. About mile 17, I see a two year old dancing by a car at the side of the road. I definitely need a high five from one of these little kids. Better than Gu or Gatorade by that time. The mother sends the kid over at my hand signal and I get some skin. By mile 18, 3:05, I can feel my quads. Actually, my inner thighs seem to be more stressed; a new thing. About mile 19, there is a four year old handing out water. I get another high five.
By mile 20, I realize that the race has drained me substantially. If I put everything I got in, completely give myself up to the beast, I can do 4:30. One more downhill and then mainly uphill until the last half mile. It is my moment of truth: start to shuffle or go through the fatigue and pain. I decide to put it all in.
Surprisingly, up hills are happier for me due to less pounding. I can put my head down and bull my way up. I do so. Kids hand out sponges at about mile 23; AWESOME!
I chug my way along, even able to speed up the last half mile: 4:30:15 (approx).
I am happy with this time. I had actually thought I might have a PW. But nooooo! I ran the whole way, except for Easley. I never got over my slow start. I don’t think I’m injured (that is the good part).
I didn’t get my AG plaque (if indeed I won one) because the timers were messed up and quit posting times. So I hitch-hiked back to the hotel. Showered. Jumped in the car to drive home. I passed one car (not too far from the city) with a 26.2 sticker on the back. When they passed me, I held up my medal and waved. They held up theirs and waved. I got free “Cookies for Jesus” at a rest stop and arrived home safe and sound. Oh man those 13 steps up to my apartment were a killer!
The beast has been tamed for another month or two. Maybe I should just hire someone to beat me!
Tomorrow, I start my new job and will go back to being a normal runner.
My summer vacation of running was terrific. I’m glad I survived it.