Sunday, February 14, 2016

I Limped a Marathon!

Today, Julie and I ran a marathon.  You can see my pace and the route here



I'll have some of myself in action later.  For now, enjoy this show to J before the starting gun

It was a weird experience.  I had plenty of time (7 hours, 21 minutes, and 3 seconds) to think about it, and I went through several stages before arriving at my current one.

The first stage was satisfaction/confidence.  This was during the first five miles or so, where it seemed to be going just as planned.  The second was discouragement, and it began around mile 10, i.e. hour 4.  I was running with Julie and I began to lament both our lack of preparation and the fact that I had decided to run the race as a pair.  We knew going in that we had not fulfilled our preparation goals: instead of running daily, we'd repeatedly run for a few days and then fallen off for a week or sometimes more.  Additionally, Julie was struggling and I reflected on how much better I might run if I were doing so at my own pace.  I resolved that there was nothing to be done about either in the moment, though.  I could remedy both in a future race.  As for the marathon I was not yet half way through, I was unsure how to present it.  I was embarrassed by my projected time.  I didn't like running in a thin pack of walkers.  I imagined this blog post, and the way I'd disavow the race as not a real accomplishment, since I'd walk most of it anyway.  I came up with the title.

The last phase, though, was when things got hard.  Which changed the math pretty substantially.

Firstly, Julie and I stopped at a CVS and bought an ankle wrap for Julie.  This gave us a split time of 19:32 for that leg (ouch), but it made a world of difference.  After the first half, we barely walked at all.  We jogged at a pace only slightly faster, but we still ran, goddammit.  Secondly, I realized how hard the run was on me.  If I'd dropped Julie, I estimated that I might shave my time down by 5%.  I might come in under 7 hours instead of above.  But either way I wasn't exactly on pace to win my age bracket, and it was way more fun to run with her.  As for the lack of preparation, I just acknowledged that even if I had a time machine I probably wouldn't have acted very differently.  Would I have been able to avoid the cold that took me out of work five days before the race?  Would I have changed my priorities to make more time for running at the expense of all the little projects I work on in the evening?  Nope.  I was going to finish a marathon in a slightly disappointing fashion, but I was still going to finish a marathon.  And Julie was achieving something remarkable: she was running a marathon without taking even one puff of her rescue inhaler.  Her asthma put her in the hospital in 2014.  I was glad to be there.

So by the end of the race, I had no illusions about a better time or doing things differently.  I got a really sweet medal and I make no apologies for my time.

I'd also like to thank the friends who recorded encouraging words for me to mix into the run mix Julie and I were listening to.  I added delightful music to them (ask if you'd like to hear yours) and in the end, I got a lot of motivation from them too.

Lastly, I'd like to give major props to my brother Jack, who ran the LA marathon too, in a seriously respectable 5 hours, 44 minutes and 29 seconds.  Jack took the marathon pretty seriously, and it paid off.  I think Julie's jealous of his performance, but there's no use in it.  Believe me.  I remember when he outpaced me on an 800 meter run at the park after I'd joined the track team and he'd gone in for lacrosse.  I was sure that a season of training would give me the advantage, but it didn't.  Oh well.  Julie: do what I do.  Be glad for him and don't bother competing.  If it helps, he sucked at lacrosse.

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