Archive for June, 2009

  I’ve been putting this off for a while.  Actually, I’ve been avoiding it.  But, it’s been over a month since the marathon, and I need to get this posted.  I have other topics I would like to post about, but can’t until I get this one out.

Pre Race

  We arrived in downtown Cincinnati at Oh My God thirty, I honestly don’t remember.  We nervously waited around until it was time to head to the start line.  Everyone was wearing their braclets.  We all had one made by a CF patient, we’ll except for me.  Kelby made me one that said “We run for you!”  Very touching and actually made me emotional during the race.  More on that later.

  About 30 minutes before we left, I received a text from Amye.  She said that they had to turn around to go back to West Chester.  It appears that Erin had forgotten her shoes.  I have no idea how you can forget running shoes for a marathon.  But she did. 

  Erin and Amye got there about 10 minutes after the team left.  I waited around for them, since I had planned to run the marathon with Amye again. 

The Start

  We got to the start just in time.  I had to drop off my bag on the bus and Amye had to visit the port-a-potty oasis.  The gun had sounded before we were ready, but luckily it took about 10 minutes before we needed to start running. 

  At about mile 1.5, we saw Kristen, Michael, Katie, Jenny and Mike.  It was good and I was able to give them my hat to take home.  I remember feeling good around mile three and seeing hour friend Scott on the bridge back over the Ohio river.  We saw Amye’s family around mile 4.5 or so.  We didn’t see Amye’s father and she was a little concerned that she didn’t see him. 

The Hills

  Next we entered the hills, miles 5-8.  I remember not liking this hills this year and having to make a quick pit stop, but I still didn’t feel bad.  We saw Erin’s husband, O’Brien, at the first relay exchange point near mile 6.5.  We climbed the last hill, although I did need to walk part of it. 

The Fatal Mistake

  The split for the half marathon is at mile 8.5.  The half marathoners go to the left, full to the right.  I had told myself that I was going to do the half if I had any pain or concerns at the split.  I remember talking to Amye.  “My leg feels good (hamstring from Boston), my lungs feel good (silly lung disease), so I’m going to take a left.”  She said “Oh, you’re going to do the half?”  I told her I was joking and told her I’d do the full marathon.

  We made the right turn and started a fairly long downhill section.  In fact, most of the next two miles are down hill.  We ran that first mile after the split faily quick.  And, at about mile 9.5 I was starting to feel a problem.  My left quad was starting to hurt while running down hill.  Now, that’s not good as the down hills are supposed to allow you to rest.  I kept pushing and hurting, but figured it would go away.  By mile 11, I knew that it wasn’t going to go away.

Decision Time

  I knew I was in trouble.  I knew that this was going to be really really bad.  But I knew that I couldn’t just quit.  By mile 14 I told Amye and Erin to go ahead.  I told them to tell Kristen that I was in trouble when they saw her at mile 16.  I started the walk/run mess at this point.  I ran when I could, and then the pain would force me to stop and walk.  I talked to people when I could, encouraged them and sometimes shared the misery.  I also had several people ask me if, other than tired, was I ok.  Medical staff making sure I wasn’t going to die.

  At about mile 15, I saw Andy Thatcher on the back side of the Mariemont loop. He was a mile ahead of me and pulling away. 

Family Support

  At about 16 or so, I rounded the corner in Mariemont and saw Kristen and the kids.  I almost started crying because I was hurting and embarassed to be in such bad shape.  But I held it together.  I tried to make it look good and run around the corner.  That’s where I saw Amye’s family.  I was very happy they stayed to cheer me on.  I continued the run walk disaster until about 17.5.

The Long Walk

  At about 17.5, my legs had had enough.  I had to walk … and I walked for quite a while.  I walked miles 18, 19, 20, and 21.  They took forever and I couldn’t help but think of giving up.  Well, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t.  I heard my coach, Wayne, telling us that he’s had 100% completion on the team.  Anyone that got to the start made it to the finish.  I wasn’t going to be the one to break that.  Even though I wanted to…

  At mile 21 I met a couple of friends.  A married couple that really helps the team.  She asked me what was going on and I said “I’m walking, that’s what.  My legs have had enough and it’s everything I can do to keep going.”  I asked her if I could borrow her cell to call Kristen.  She, of course, said yes.  I told Kristen that it was going to be a while and that if she wanted to head home, that was fine.  Of course, she didn’t do that.  My friend then said that “I have a car.  I can drive you to about a mile from the finish and you can finish from there.”  I opted to finish on my own and declined her offer. 

  About a quarter mile later, I met her husband.  He told me that I was doing great, especially considering that I had just run Boston two weeks before.  In fact, he defended me to a couple of people around him.  I remember that very well, and I really appreciate it.  Although defending stupidity isn’t the best thing to do.


  After I met my friends, I determined that I was NOTgoing to break the dreaded 6 hour mark.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  So, I started the walk-hobble-walk method of covering ground.  Several more people asked me if I was ok.  Several offered me drinks, I asked if they had gin.  Nobody did….

  I concentrated on finding someone to pass.  I’d run to them, pass them, and then walk.  I did this for 5.2 miles.  Let me tell you, that’s a long way to do that. 

The Big Finish

  So, when I got to about mile 25.2, I focused on seeing my friend and family.  Of course, all that focus and thinking got me choked up several times.  I came over the hill nearing the finish and started looking for them.  That last stretch, about a half mile, seems to take forever.  I kept looking and looking for them.  I finally found them about 200 yards from the finish.  Kristen and Michael came out to meet me.  They both ran with me to the end.  I did tell them that I wasn’t going to be over 6:00, so they had to move.  It took everything I had to not only finish but to keep from completely breaking down in tears.  Between the pain and the emotion, it was difficult.  Very difficult.

The Results

  Honestly, I’m embarrassed by my result.  I was stupid to try to do two marathon in two weeks.  I didn’t complete them, but neither were what I had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong, Boston was a blast.  But, a 4:40 or so would have been much better.

  My official time for the Flying Pig was 5:51:31.  Absolutely horrible.  Embarrassing!  But, I have vowed to make myself better and faster for next year.  I’ve already started working on specific strengthing for my running.  I vow that I will be better, faster and have much more endurance next year.

  Thanks to everyone who followed my evil plan.  Thanks to Wayne and Kelby for all the help.  Thanks to Amye and her family for all the help and support, and for running two marathon with me.  And, finally, thanks to my family.  Kristen, Michael, and Katie, I couldn’t have done it without you.


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