Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, I've finished a Marathon.

As often as I'm asked, I'll tell you right now that that's a 26.2 mile (or somewhere around 42km) run. Supposedly the distance from Athens to Marathon (Google Pheidippides for the story).

I'll try not to write as if I were the Grand Old Man of Marathoning now.

Let's see, how many options did I give yesterday as possible outcomes of the race? Ah! Well, here are the answers: yes, no, no, no and no. The clock, as I crossed the finish line, said 5:02-something. [Update: unofficial results from the official website. Scroll to the bottom.] My chip time will be over eight minutes less, because that's how long it took to get to the starting line after the horn.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day: blue sky, trees shading from green to red, orange and gold, cool enough at the start to make me wish I'd brought gloves.

I was aiming for a 4 hour, 15 minute finish, and I held a pace rather faster than that for about 16 miles--I even made up the difference between the clock time and the chip time. Even with the fact that I had to stop at the turn to Lake Nokomis for five minutes to use the Port-A-Potty.

Then Zeus turned my legs to lead and I had to slow way down and finally walk for a while. I pretty much ran-walked the rest of the way. For the next four miles I kept trying to get running again and keep running, but I kept have to stop and walk. Finally, I decided that, since that was the way it was going to be, I systematize the process and only rest for one minute at a time, running as long and as hard as I felt like. I made better time that way.

That got me through the next six until I saw the Capitol building and the finish line from the top of Cathedral Hill. I let gravity pull me down the hill fast, till I came to a little hump, then I just held on to the finish line, only letting one guy pass me.

I think they could do away with the 26 Mile sign though. It's a little disheartening to get to that and realize that the Finish is still far enough away that you can't quite make out what's going on up there.

I think hitting The Wall resulted from a convergence of factors. First, obviously, I'd run 16 miles. That's longer than any training run I've done this year. Second, I don't know about other Marathons, but this one is a 26.2 mile-long carb buffet. I ate and drank anything anybody handed to me. I was stuffed by the end of it. And, along about Mile 16, some joker handed me a beer (in a cup-it wasn't obvious... other than the fact that they were shouting, "ICE COLD BEER!!"

I thought they were joking. They weren't. After the first sip, I said, "I guess they weren't kidding!" So I took a second sip and tossed the rest.

And, I suppose I should mention that the temp rose quite a bit around that time, and I found myself looking for every little bit of shade.

At about Mile 20 I notice a circle of blood on my chest, so I looked in my shirt and
found that I'd lost my band-aid on my right nipple. I believe I may have let a few nasty words slip. I went on with that for a while, until it occurred to me that there was no good reason to keep the shirt on, so I tied it to the back of my gel pack belt, and, everything went better after that. I was a lot cooler, for one thing.

But, I'm pretty happy with the experience. I took every piece of advice I got, band-aided up everything that chafed severely-including the afformentioned and my toes-and Body Glided everything that chafed a little...made sure I was wearing shorts that had never made a mark on me in training.

I made some new friends that I'll have to try to track down again.

But, I'm still beat now. I did soak my lower legs in the pool. I wanted to sit down in that cold water, but... Ew! I mentioned that it needed cleaning. I've mostly drained it now. I still need to mop it up a bit and then fold it up and box it for the winter.

So, anyway, nighty-night.

No comments: