I posted the pictures in a slide show above. I thought that would work better than posting each one here.
Let's see, where did I leave off. Oh yes, we were running downhill. Did I mention I love that? Best way to run hills I believe. That Newton guy deserves many thanks for discovering gravity. Wonder if he was a runner? Probably not. Off topic, off topic, back to the marathon.
I ran the first few miles relaxed and easy. I also ran them with a few of the wonderful people from my running club. I am beginning to believe that I need some kind of companionship during the early miles of a marathon. This seems to help me find a comfortable pace and stick with it for awhile. Hmm... Am I becoming a social runner? Maybe co-dependent?
It was very cold at the start so I was wearing a long sleeved shirt under my Landrunners tank-top, gloves, a hat, and ear warmers. I was worried that I would have to take most of this stuff off and carry it after I warmed up. I need not have worried because I NEVER warmed up. Even as everyone running with me started getting warm and shedding layers of clothes, I was till freezing. I just couldn't get warm. I tried to run in the sun whenever I could just to get some additional heat on my body. I eventually took the ear warmers off but that was only because they had become wet with sweat and were actually making my ears colder. I've never been cold-blooded before and I'm still not sure why I was so cold during this run. Just bad Karma I guess.
So I ran on in my full battle gear. I stopped at a porta-potty at the halfway point. I don't normally do this but I had forced myself to hydrate and my bladder was not going to let me forget what I had done. After I satisfied the call of nature, I continued running downhill (sorry I just love saying that). I decided to run a little easier between mile 14 and mile 20. I was feeling good but was incredibly worried that I would hit that wall I knew was lurking out there somewhere. I'm not normally a pessimist but I couldn't stop thinking that any minute now I was going to have a repeat of last week's disaster in Oklahoma City. So I slowed a bit and ran easy. I was still holding 8:30 - 8:40 pace pretty comfortably.
About mile 20 I started doing some calculations in my head. I figured if I could hold 8:30 pace for the last 6 miles I could break 3:45 which was my goal. I was beginning to tire rapidly but I felt I was still hold pace. A little further down the road Paula spoke up and told me I ran a 9:03 for the last mile. So much for my 8:30 goal! That little pipe-dream was gone. I tried not to yell at Paula because I knew she was still emotional over our last spat. I just wish she had told me earlier that we were slowing down. She would say that she did but I obviously didn't hear it or it didn't register at the time. I think we may need counseling. We just aren't communicating like her predecessor and I did. I know I shouldn't compare her to previous relationships but I have certain needs and she just doesn't seem willing to give.
There was an uphill at mile 20 that was no fun at all. To make matters worse they put the water stop on the hill also. I needed some water but I felt breathing was much more important at the time so I skipped the Hydrogen and went with just the 2 parts of Oxygen which was scarce at this altitude.
I hung on the last 5 miles running 9 min/mile pace. I was really feeling the fatigue of running 2 marathons in 2 weeks at this point. None of my muscles were screaming and I had no joint pain, I was just tired. I had nothing left to give. I was drained. I know it sounds weird but this was my destination. I had arrived at that point where it was all heart and no more brawn. That point where you discover yourself and not just the outer shell of a man that I wear most of the time. Stripped down and laid bare emotionally. Take the fuel out of the machine and see if it can run on guts and it's own soul. That's what separates us from the machines anyway, the soul. I like finding mine every now and then and remind myself that I'm more than just a bag of muscles and bone.
I finished in 3:48:10 and was met by all my wonderful friends from the Landrunners. What a great day! We cheered in the remaining club members and proceeded to the beer garden for some post-run celebration. Joanne, my wonderful hostess, won her age group!!! She received a nice glass which she desperately needed to go with her other thousand or so trophies and glasses she has won over the years. She is an amazing runner and her house is decorated with the rewards of her efforts. 60+ marathons and still winning awards! How cool is that??
The restaurant hosting the awards ceremony had free pizza and beer! I tell you, I LOVE this race!
Peace to all and remember to Run Fearless
Thanks for listening,