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My Run Today (repost from Oct. 4th) October 16, 2009

Posted by jassnight in fitness, running.
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Mary and I after the race

Mary and I after the race

Today was my 4th running of the Wineglass Marathon and my 6th marathon overall. You can try to predict your run but in all the years I have run this distance, I have found that exercise to be a fruitless endeavor. Every marathon is unique. Every marathon brings with it new lessons to be learned.

Besides the staple worries of hydration, nutrition, correct training, rest, and yes, bowl movements, my main concern this year was that this was going to be my first solo marathon. In previous years, I had a bank of running buddies with me whom I trained with and ran with. In many marathons, a good friend in our group always served me well as my pacer since I tend to go out too fast. I didn’t have my anchor this year. It was just me. I had to focus on taking it easy and conserving energy as long as I could. This is hard for me. I tend to get caught up in the moment and run stupid. By mile 5 I knew I was not doing too well with pacing. I was ending up with 8.30’s when I wanted to start with 9 minute splits. I was off to a bad start. Then out of the blue, there was Mary. Mary and I started chatting like so many do in the early stages of the race and we found that we both had the same goal; sub-4 hour finish with a 3.50 as icing on the cake. We quickly decided to hang with each other as long as possible and work as a team toward that goal. There is nothing better than to have someone to talk to, to pace with, to support, to care, and as we both knew – to share the pain when the pain came. Mary and I talked about several things; from the weather to relationships but our main topic was our love for running. I found out that Mary, 42 years old and a mother of three, was diagnosed with cancer a few years back. It was bad and she went through 6 months of chemotherapy. When she was finished with treatments she told her doctor, “I am going to run a marathon.” He replied, “Why on earth would you do something like that?” She said back to him, “Because I can.” After a moment of silence, I turned to her and said, “You know Mary, I run because of people like you.” The miles melted away. There was more talk and more support. Then Mile 18 came. 18 is the landmark mile in a marathon because this is where problems start cropping up. Both of us checked in with each other. All was a go. Mile 20; still a go. We were elated and at this point banging out 8.30’s like it was a walk in the park. Our teaming up proved to be beneficial for both of us and we were on schedule for an easy sub-4 finish. By mile 24 however, I was feeling the fatigue and told Mary to not allow me to hold her up and I let her go. At Mile 25 I resorted to the “marathon shuffle” and tried to focus on just moving forward. The pain was incendiary but I was elated that it was happening now and not back at mile 18. Mary was about a minute ahead of me by then and I was close enough to the finish to see her cross the line. I was in shortly after way ahead of both my goal and my “icing on the cake.” My finish time was 3 hours, 46 minutes, 11 seconds. I found Mary and we embraced as we thanked each other.

Marathons can be very emotional for many of the runners. Just finishing can bring you to tears and I am no exception. There are always tears. I was holding it together pretty well after the race until a moment when I was finally capable of sitting on a bench with minimal pain. A young woman asked to sit on the bench with me. Of course I said yes. When she sat down she immediately broke down in tears. I put my hand on her shoulder and cried with her. It was cleansing.

Another year. Another marathon. Another lesson learned. Another celebration of life – because I can.

I would like to thank Nicki Conroy who was my support team this year. I could not have done it without her. She was instrumental in keeping the anxiety low by arranging all the logistics before the race and then facilitating my recovery after the race. I owe you big!

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Comments»

1. anjanette121 - October 17, 2009

Steve, thanks for sharing your inspiring story. Love how you and Mary, connected and conquered!

jassnight - October 18, 2009

Thanks Anjanette, I just ran a half-marathon today and did pretty well but there is still some recovery needed after the marathon two weeks ago. I could feel it.

Best of luck to you on your half! Make sure you tell us all about it. I LOVE running stories. They are always inspirational.

Best to you


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