Monday, April 18, 2011

Marathon reflections...Good, Bad, Ugly, Surprising, and Celebratory

Good - Hit my target of "Used, but not used up".  Knowing this is just the first step toward my ultra marathon in September, needed to be a bit reserved.  So often after a marathon it is as much as three weeks before I feel "normal" again.  It is now 24 hours after the race and feel like I'm ready to head back outside (especially after watching the Boston marathon, what an amazing day for American marathoning!).

Bad - Three weeks or so back I started having some tightness in my left hip.  Nothing terrible, but like a rubber band that just keeps getting wound tighter and tighter as I run.  The gun went off and immediately I felt that tightness.  Overcame the frustration factor quickly, but also resigned myself to walking every 7 to 10 minutes to let that "rubber band" unwind.  Perhaps it was a blessing in that it kept me from running too hard?

Ugly - At about the 7 mile mark I felt a warm sensation on my chin.  My right hand white cotton glove turned red when I wiped it, and only then realized I had a nose bleed.  Then next mile was interesting as I was using my glove to keep things in check and watched the ground for a discarded napkin and even checked out the fans for a "mom looking somebody" who might have a Kleenex handy :-)  Before I actually got up the courage to stop and ask for such help we reached the 8 mile mark and the porta-johns that were there.  A quick stop to grab some toilet paper, jam it up my nose and I was off again.  By the 10 mile mark, I believe, I "unplugged" and confirmed the bleeding had stopped.  My shirt was sprinkled red, but I made sure to wipe my face and teeth with my left glove - don't need any photographs with me looking like I ran into a tree ;-)

Surprising - Only this morning did I check out my splits and am was pleasantly surprised.  Never have I had a good last 10k in a marathon, usually self destructing and finishing poorly.  Not so this time, here are my pace splits by overall and the specific section:
3 Mile:  8:25 / 8:25
10k:  8:22 / 8:19
14 Mile: 8:19 / 8:17
21 Mile: 8:17 / 8:11
Finish: 8:15 / 8:08
A progression that just makes my day...

Celebratory - This was my wife's first half marathon.  Pam walked the race and had to make the 7 mile mark within a 17:00 min/pace by race rule and her secret goal was to not be last.  She made both goals, posted a great time (16:10 pace I believe), enjoyed herself, and even got a bit competitive in the end.  Instead of slowing to give me a chance to catch her, she pressed on to make up every spot she could.  I finished two minutes behind her, just missing one of my secret goals of being able to cross the finish line together.  Oh well, she was smiling and excited by her effort and I couldn't be more proud.

Speaking of finishing together, our good friends, Ralph and Cathie McKay did just that, running together and crossing the finish line, at the 50 yard line of the Glass Bowl in fact, holding hands.

A few photos, hopefully more will be available in the next few days:

Having fun with my friends running Boston over Glass City (why would you, though?)- if you haven't already, check out my previous blog post espousing the benefits of Toledo over Boston!

Pam and Cathie as we prepare to leave the hotel. 
Pam sure looks nervous before the race, doesn't she? :-PPP
Hard to get a shot of Ralph without coffee :-)  And what is up with frogs around Toledo?

Trying to finish strong, but the last half mile was dead into a vicious wind (I was as worried about losing my hat as anything!)

Pam finishing strong (and jamming to "Get your back off the wall" by Family Force 5 - she liked the playlist that I built and I thought it was cool we were both out there at the same time, listening to the same music the whole time :-)

Ralph and Cathie, soaking it in - another great 1/2 marathon effort for two of my fellow Freedom Striders:
Dalila, Pam and myself enjoying the finish.  Dalila's husband Gene behind the camera.
A finish photo that isn't embarrassing :-)

We were worried about the high winds on race day.  Little did we know that was the best we could have hoped for, given what we woke up the day after the race!


stuckeyfisher said...

Nice work Chuck. I was looking for you yesterday, but didn't know for sure who you were. I think I passed your wife in the last couple of miles. Did she have a Bible verse on the back of her shirt?

Pondering Life & Other Tidbits said...

Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. I love the shirts you made! Were your ears ringing????? Pastor Jim mentioned your name during the service and spoke about what an amazing athlete you are. Congratulations on the race.

Chuck said...

Stuckeyfisher - yes, Pam is wearing my "Press On" mantra verse from Philippians 3:13-14 on the back of the shirt. They are from the Freedom Striders run club I host.

Coreena - "embarassed" and thanks!

stuckeyfisher said...

I wondered. Based on your pictures. I remember telling a woman that I liked her shirt. I'm not sure if she understood what I said though, I was pretty beat by then! The shirt did give me a little inspiration at that point!

Robert Smith said...

Way to Chuck and Pam! It sounds like a wonderful day of racing and of life.

Chuck said...

Bob Smith! Hello stranger, and thanks for the affirmation. It was a wonderful day.