Monday, May 7, 2012
As I was running, I honestly wouldn’t let myself even THINK about a finish faster than a 3:10 until mile 22 or 23. Yes, I knew that I was on 3:04 pace and was pushing to hold that, but history told me that I was only a “opps, that wasn’t a fart” away from losing 10 minutes in the bushes. I’m pretty self deprecating as a whole, and the middle of the marathon is no different. I certainly didn’t want to count my chickens before they hatched, blow up, and forever think of what could have been. I’d be like one of those 45 year old high school football players that constantly mutters about the “big game” that only needed one more touchdown for immortal glory.
The Runner by Clean Bottle worked GREAT. It has a pouch for my phone and thus I have become quite addicted to the A Capella Pandora radio station. So the first 16 miles or so I was do-bopping out to songs from Glee and The Voice. The one issue that I spoke to in my race report was that I was an idiot and tried to refill the water bottle WHILE running at 6:50 pace. Not only did I splash water on my phone, but when I took the lid off of the 1/4 full bottle, THAT water sloshed out too! I spent miles 15-17 waterless. Needless to say, I trotted through the mile 17 aid station (no, I will not tell you what pace a “trot” is) to make sure the water got into the bottle and not on my phone.
The full marathon was probably 12 or so miles on a wide bike path near a river that went through town. GREAT for running, not so much for spectating. So, if you are the type of runner that hates to run without seeing hilarious signs like “Worst Parade Ever” for all 26 miles then this race might not be for you. On the flip side, the trees along the path shaded you from any wind, sun, or (at times) Garmin signal all of which would be great if you were running for 5 or 6 hours. Honestly, it was nice to get off of the roads – even if it did make it hard to pass the huge group of people running with a pacer.
In closing, the entire race experience still seems a little surreal. In my head, I’m still the guy with the grass stained lawn shoes running around a 3 mile neighborhood loop getting excited when I run it in fewer than 30 minutes. (And then icing down my screaming shins – stupid lawn shoes) When the Boston Marathon changed their criteria forcing me to run a 3:05, I thought it a nearly insurmountable goal. At the time that was FASTER than my half marathon pace – how could I do that twice!? But, every journey begins with a single step and everything worth doing takes sacrifice.
So with one life goal checked off of the list, what now? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve got my eye on an ultra marathon or two, maybe a marathon time that starts with a 2....but until I figure it out I’m going to continue taking single steps towards whatever my goal is at the time. Enjoying the journey? Yes. Celebrating the achievements? Absolutely. All the while never taking myself serious? That’s what she said.