Monday, March 15, 2010

Holy delayed recap batman!

Where do I begin? Well how about where I left off. Six months ago I was training to run my first marathon. I was in a steady relationship, and had been cigarette free for almost 9 months, and had moved on from my previous life as a bar rat. I was happy, life was going in a good direction.

October 17th was the day before the marathon, I had been training for five months and in less than 24 hours I would put that training to the test. But first I had a wedding to attend for a close friend. Of course being a part of the wedding party that meant showing up early saturday morning and taking pictures, lounging around with friends and looking handsome in my tuxedo.... well as handsome as I can look, I give the credit to the tux. Thankfully over the past six months I had developed some will power, because if this were the previous year I would not have been able to turn down the party and dancing all night long, and sad as it is to say I probably would have made a regrettable decision. This was the new me though, so I made it through the party and dinner, eating two dinners I have to add because someone  at our table didn't show up so I figured a little carb loading couldn't hurt. I hydrated myself  on water all day and night and left the reception almost as soon as it began to meet up with a friend who was running the half marathon and head up to the hotel in GR. By the time all was said and done it was 11pm by the time we got into our room. Much much later than I had wanted to arrive. My girlfriend showed up at closer to midnight since she had to work late. (she was running the half as well)

Six o'clock came quickly and the nerves were starting to build. I ate a bagel and clif bar before heading to the shuttle. My parents were driving up that morning to cheer us on, it almost felt like a high school cross country race all over again. Being the smart one I am I left my cell at the hotel and of course didn't plan ahead to meet them somewhere before hand so I was hoping like hell I would see them before the gun went off so we could give them our warmups. No such luck, the gun went off and I was still scanning the crowd. About 150 yards past the start line I caught a glimpse of them on the side of the course....the other side of the course. So I side stepped my way carefully through the mob all while trying to strip off my jacket and pants. Success, now I was off and I could litterally feel myself leaving the last bit of stress behind me. Now this was an early October morning in mid-Michigan so if I remember right it was around 40 degrees. Free of my warmups I was now running in a pair of shorts, two t-shirts, an under armor shirt, my brooks hat, and a pair of cheap gloves.
After the start running, up to shed my warmups

The first six miles went by like nothing, I had been checking my watch and trying to pace myself and stay with the right pace group, but then I started talking to someone and that whole pacing thing went out the window. Next thing I knew I was no longer running with the 3:45 pace group, which I thought might be a little ambitious as it is, but I was coming up on the 3:14 pace group. apparently I wasn't paying enough attention to realize I had passed at least one more pace group in the process. As luck would have it the person I had been conversing with was quite a bit out of my league, this was his 4th marathon, but he usually runs ultra-marathons and he's run quite a few of them.... GREAT! Well I'm slightly stubborn and I still felt great so instead of cutting my pace back down to where I originally wanted it to be I kept truckin along. I had seen my parents a few spots along the way, about every 3 miles or so. By the time I was nine miles in it had started to warm up enough that my hands were warm and sweating so being the genius I am, I took off the gloves and tossed them to my dad thinking that if I needed them again I could just get them back. The next time I saw my parents was at the finish line due to a wrong turn they made when going to the next spectator area. To add insult to injury a mile after ditching the gloves the course went into the woods for ten miles and the temp. sure did drop in a hurry.

By the time I hit mile 16 I was feeling the fatigue start to hit my quads and my hands were red with pain. Unfortunately I did one of the two things I swore I wouldn't do. I walked for a couple hundred yards, my legs felt as if they were made of stone. As the pace groups caught up with me around mile 18 I started to get some drive and determination back and I hung with them as long as I could. After that the race was a joint effort of jogging and walking, more jogging than walking but still I felt like such a failure to be walking, especially when I saw people 3 times my age and twice my weight floating past me. finally with three miles to go I had enough with my slow pace and I dug deep and forced myself to leave it all on the course and finish strong. I picked my pace up and started passing people back, not nearly as many as had passed me but it felt good to be going faster again. As the finish drew near I saw my dad on the side yelling my name and that gave me an extra bit of energy. 300 yards left I saw my mom on the other side cheering, and again I felt a rush. 200 yards left i saw my girlfriend of over a year screaming and running along the outside of the course following me to the finish. All at once I felt more emotion than I had in  long time. I felt the pain and the joy, I felt excitement and relief, but most of all I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and not let go. I felt that this was one of the biggest accomplishments of my adult life and I was so happy she was there to share it with me. All I remember after I crossed the finish line was shaking some guys hand, being handed my finisher medal by one volunteer while another wrapped a space blanket over my shoulders and off in the distance I could hear yet another volunteer shouting that cold beer was on the left and hot chilli was on the right. I wasn't worried about either of those locations at the moment. My eyes were too busy scanning the crowd for the girlfriend. Finally I found her and it was one of the most needed hugs I had ever experienced, call me a nerd but it took every bit of remaining energy to keep hold of my emotions.

400 yards to go!
So there it is, I had finished my first marathon, considerably slower than I had hoped to at 4:17:00 on the dot, but even still I was happy. Life was great, even though I had to walk up and down stairs backwards for two days following, it was all worth it, and we had plans the following weekend to celebrate the accomplishment by going to Cedar Point. I had the next day off from work to recouperate and nothing could touch me. Life was going great and nothing could steal my thunder.....or so I thought.........

1 comment:

  1. It's.about.damn.time.

    Congrats on the marathon!!! I loved the schmoopy girlfriend hug! LOL! Alright now on to more important things like... WHERE THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!?!?