|I think this was mile 15 or 16 and the rain had started up|
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Earlier today I accomplished something I never thought I'd do. I ran (mostly) 26.2 miles in my very first marathon. And yes this post is probably going to end up sounding like me bragging, but please let me explain my back story.
|Senior year of Cross Country|
In high school I "ran" cross country. More accurately I was a member of the team all four years. I did it more for the social aspect than the actually wanting to run aspect. As I was huffing and puffing along the Shawnee Marathon course earlier today in southeastern Illinois I thought back to my first cross country meet. It was in Sikeston, Missouri. When I crossed the finish line after running/jogging/walking the course I was greeted by our head coach Stan Nelson. I had a horrible outing. My time was terrible. But what I remember most about that day was basically collapsing in coach's arms as he hugged me and congratulated me on finishing. That was the most grueling and exhausting thing I'd done in my short 14 years on this planet. Keep in mind it was about three miles.
|My awesome wife and cheerleader!|
Fast forward 28 years. I'd trained for this for the last couple of months. I thought of that story and how much my attitude toward running has changed in the last four or five years. I got emotional when my wife (who surprised me by going along) was at the top of one of the hills at the halfway point cheering for me as if I'd made the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl. As I looped around she was on the other said and this time we both cried as I past her and she said how proud she was of me.
When you're running that long you have a lot of time to think. I recounted another time in my cross country days that I didn't really want to participate in a long run for practice. I think the plan was 10 miles or so. About two miles into the run I stopped and found a big stick on the side of the road. I proceeded to whack my ankle with it hard enough to cause a little pain and make me limp back to coach and explain I'd twisted it and needed to go home. Looking back I think that's one of the silliest things I've ever done.
4:35:55 (not sure on the seconds)
I look at my adult running career as a chance to make up for the mistakes and shortcuts I took as a teenager. We all do foolish things at that age and as I carry on through this midlife crisis of running (it's cheaper than a fancy sports car) I'm reminded by how many people support me. The texts, tweets and Facebook posts brought more tears this afternoon. I'm so thankful so many have been behind me and don't think I'm being too braggadocious with my updates, pics and videos about running.
|Me and "coach" Ashley|
Finally, some personal thanks. Of course my awesome wife Lisa for being understanding of this semi-new facet of my life and for coming out and supporting me through my first marathon. She was out there for hours to cheer for me in 20 second increments. I can't explain how loved I felt. To my parents for buying me various pairs of running shoes over the last few years. Ashley Smith, my friend and coworker, who has given me so much advice about running in the past and this week has offered a ton of tips on surviving the marathon. My friends in the Yellow Donkeys, especially Jim Olsen for the advice on the band-aids for my nipples. They worked great! To Rebecca Wyatt, the race organizer, for coming up with an amazing idea and course and the many volunteers who helped along the way before, during and after the marathon. And finally all of you for the above mentioned support. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
Marathon by the numbers:
26.2: number of miles run
2: number of nasty blisters on my feet
4: number of packets of Gu I ate along the way
52: number of ounces of soda my wife bought for me after the race
4:35:55: number of hours, minutes and seconds it took me to finish