Tuesday, December 16, 2008

St. Jude Marathon Report

At David Ray's request, I give you the report...

It was fucking cold and crowded. This was my third road marathon and I have still yet to think of a real good reason why I would want to run a fourth. Over five hours of constant pounding tends to hurt a wee bit, especially for a big boy like me.

The absolute best part of this marathon (besides raising $$$ for the children of St. Jude!) was running the first half with my better half! This was my wife Jennifer's first half marathon and her first run over ten miles. I wanted to pace her most of the half just to make sure she was ok. I told her we would start out slow and then slow down from there, but she would have none of that. Hell, at times I had trouble keeping up with her! At mile 9-ish, I decided it was time for me to put my arse in a higher gear and left her to run her own race.

I felt good, but knew my goal of sub-5 hours was long gone. I caught up with Leigh Tanner at the 12 mile mark and chit chatted a bit. I told her to mosey on and stopped at the half turn-off to see Jennifer finish. I waited for what seemed like 10 minutes, but probably was more like 5 when I saw her cruising toward the finish line. After exchanging congrats and I love you's, I started the second half. The time clock now read 2:32:55...definitely not breaking sub-5!

The second half was fairly uneventful. Being so far back, I didn't have to fight for water or gels and had much of the road to myself. I passed a lot of lonesome runners in the next 7 miles and still felt good. I even had a good burst of speed around mile 17 that surprised me. At mile 19, I ran into an old high school friend who was entertaining the runners. I stopped for a few minutes to chat with him before moving on. No need to rush now, I just wanted to enjoy the run and the sunshine.

By mile 20, my hip and knee started to hurt more. My energy level was dipping, so I increased the gel consumption. Jan Show passed me here (same place as last year!), looking fresh and happy (she finished about 20 minutes ahead of me). I really need to get with her on strategy!!

During the next few miles, my hip/knee pain increased forcing me to slow down (as if I weren't already moving slow enough!). I could feel my energy leaving my body and the self-doubt replace the void. I didn't hit the wall until mile 25. The final 1.2 miles were a bitch. I struggled to keep up a shuffle and my legs were starting to cramp. They put a nasty little uphill section at mile 25.5 and I cursed them under my breath. The final quarter mile was thankfully downhill and I cruised in at 5 hours and 22 minutes (2 min slower than last year). After finishing and eating, I felt good without problems. If they asked me to run another 6 miles, I think I could have with little problem.

Maybe I could have finished a sub-5 if I had not paced Jennifer for the first half. This is irrelevant, because I wouldn't have missed running with her even if it meant a 6 hour finish for me! The next half marathon for her will be in March (Germantown) and, if she wishes, I will run with her then also! If not, then I will smoke her ass...and be waiting at the finish to see her in!

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