December 9th, 2012
This weekend didn’t quite start the way I’d planned my 2nd marathon, I was thrown a curve ball as I call it, but that’s ok. Thursday, December 6th, 2012 I had an issue at work and was awake and working for 27 hours or so, that just flat drained my body. The adrenaline I had running through my veins kept me moving though. I managed to sleep off and on all day Friday, but just kept getting sicker, beat down, but that’s ok. I was excited for the marathon and nothing was going to get in the way!
Saturday Morning the 8th, I went to Expressions Chiropractic for a tune up as I call it. These guys take great care of me and I’m grateful for the work they did over the last two months of training. I had weekly adjustments as well as active release which really helped. After my appointment, Emily and I went to the Expo to get my packet and see what trouble we could get into. We tried nearly all the samples they were giving (except Gatorade) got some free stuff and I even got a new hat from RockTape. This was funny actually. I showed them that I was already taped with RockTape and he offered me a hat saying, “that’s not just any hat, that’s a truckers hat”….and he was right. Lol
We walked and talked to vendors for several hours, then headed to the house.
My wife made a killer homemade pasta sauce and angel hair pasta for dinner Saturday night, which is tradition before I run anything over a 10K. We were watching Facing the Giants as we had dinner, what a GREAT movie! Then I watched part of a UFC fight in which a friend of ours is the trainer, that was fun.
I slept like a ROCK! Something I don’t normally do before races. I think I was the exhausting from the end of the week. My brother Nicholas had arrived at the house after I went to bed so I had the pleasure of seeing him and waking him up at 4am on marathon day!
4am, Marathon day, wide awake and ready to roll. Put the dogs out, woke Nicholas and took a quick shower. Out the door by 4:45 to go pick up Lynette and Derrek. I’ve never been to Lynette’s house and well, it’s sort of in the sticks and in the dark, I’m thankful I had my phone to map it! After picking up the rest of the group, we were off to Downtown Dallas and found a great parking lot to park in. This is a new venue for the race and parking was set to be an issue, thankfully we were downtown by 5:30 and beat most of the rush. Temperatures were in the low 60s and felt great. We made our way into the convention center to chill and relax. Nicholas pointed out that all the ‘happy full of energy’ runners were all wearing the half marathon bib, the full marathoners were more somber. Lol
The starting corrals were about 3 blocks north of us literally on the Main Street in downtown Dallas. We started that way to find our places, etc. They were very strict about who could enter each corral, your bib didn’t say Corral A or B, you didn’t get it, period. Police Academy cadets everywhere checking bibs. Lynette and I were in Corral A while Nicholas was in B, Derrek had ran off and left us behind at this point. After entering the Corrals we went to find a bathroom, uh that was a mistake. The line was way too long. Making our way toward the back of the corral we ran into a group of runners who also ran the Capital to Coast. They were from Rockwall and it was fun to talk with them. There was music blasting, people dancing, etc. Lynette and I had decided to run together and I told her to leave me behind when she needed to make her move so to speak. We took this picture just before we took off.
After the national anthem, the race started. It took us nearly 5 minutes to get to the actual startline. Music blasting, ticker tape floating in the air(all little shapes of Texas) and we were off! Heading west out of downtown Dallas right past the grassy null where JFK was killed. Four months of training, over 400 miles all for THIS MOMENT!
The course ran straight under interstate 35 into west Dallas and through area’s I’ve not seen before I don’t think. Somewhere between mile 3 and 4 we crossed the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. This was pretty cool to run across and honestly it’s part of the reason they changed the venue for the race.
Between miles 4 and 5 we ran right past Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, which is where my family was. TSRH is the beneficiary of the marathon so it was special to get to run past the hospital and see so many faces that I knew from being around the hospital so much. My wife and daughters were there to cheer me (and every other runner) on. My wife snapped this photo:
I was having technical difficulties at this point with my runmeter, so I stopped it, turned my phone off and started again. This was going on just past the hospital, while standing in line at the port a pots! WHEW, just in time cause both of us had to go! Off and running again we are only about 6 miles in at this point, the half marathon runners had not yet split off.
Around mile 9, I began to experience major pain in my right knee, actually just above the knee. I believe it was my IT Band. I had to slow up a little and told Lynette to run on without me, I didn’t want to hold her back. She asked if I was OK and I told her yes, I knew I was in trouble though. I slowed to about a 10:30 per mile average at this point. Much slower than I am capable of, but best I could do at the time. Around mile 11, I ran into Mimi and Karen and it was good to see them, Karen snapped a few pictures.
I was already hurting at this point and their encouragement was nice to hear.
I maintained about 10:30 pace through half way, then I really started having doubts. Self doubt was getting the best of me and I texted my wife that I was hurt and I wasn’t happy. I had to finish, that’s all that mattered. Somewhere along here I ran into our friend Derrek who has having trouble also. When I saw him I naturally stopped to check on him, he’s a 17 year old kid and I felt like I needed to check. The humidity was unusually high for this time of the year and his asthma was getting the best of him. He and I ran off and on together for quite a while, even got a few photo ops together. 🙂
If I’m being perfectly honest, by mile 16 or so, I really didn’t want to go on. My knee hurt so bad at this point every step hurt. I’m not a quitter and wasn’t about to let that happen. I ran as much as I could and was up to about a 12:00min per mile pace. By now my right calf muscle was cramping as well as the knee and I quite frankly was a mess! I took the opportunity to visit with other runners. There were many runners around me having issues with cramps. I visited with one man who like me was having IT Band issues and was going to quit. This was around mile 18, I encouraged him along to do what he could. At mile 19, I took a little break to rest the legs a little, I actually sat down for a few minutes. This is a great stop along the race because they have a new ‘start’ line and everything to boost ya to the end. I took some oranges, gel shots(which I didn’t use) and water and started out again. I was chewing on gel shots about every two miles the entire race so I was good to go there. I was taking orange slices at every stop sucking out every bit of juice I could as well. Then came mile 19.5, a beer stop. Yes, a group was passing out beer, and I took one, lol. I had nothing to lose, I took a cup and took two sips out of it and threw it away, eww, I don’t like beer much anyway. LOL! The next kid I met was a young man running his first marathon who trained partly in the high mountains of Colorado; he said the humidity was seriously getting to him. He also told me that he was having more trouble today then he did when running at high altitude. He also shared that he’d lost about 25 pounds during his training. Of course I passed along congratulations, shook his hand and off he went, I couldn’t keep up with him at that point. This was on the part of the course called the Dolly Parton hills, what does that tell ya. Then came the men dressed a women passing out jello shots, no I didn’t take one. LOL. I did admire the older gentleman in front of me announcing he was single though, too funny!
Somewhere around mile 22 I ran into my friend Paul. Paul also has a great weight loss story who runs marathons now. He told me he was also struggling with cramps and offered me a salt tablet which I accepted gladly. He and I ran together off and off until mile 24 or so. He’d leave me, then I’d pass him, then we would run together etc. It was nice to have the support of a familiar face. There were people all along the route calling out our names encouraging all the runners along. There were even people in the street offering words of encouragement that it was all downhill from that point, HA. Sure it was. lol Miles 18-22 were my slowest miles of the race. I think the tablet that Paul gave me helped as I was able to run under 12:30 miles from that point on. At mile 24, I saw a gentlemen wearing a shirt that said something about learning the meaning of life. I ran up next to him and said “Sir, you’ve had 24 miles, have you found the meaning of life?” This man looked at me, smiled and said ‘I have’. I told him how awesome that was and congratulated him. He went on to share that he has run 31 Dallas marathons (White Rock marathons) in a row. 31 annual marathons in a row!! WOW. He also said he wanted to make 50 in a row, but the heat and humidity that day were getting the best of him. I congratulated him again and ran on ahead of him. By this time we were coming back into the downtown area so there were more and more people cheering.
As we came down Young street less than one mile from the finish line, there was a man down, right in the middle of the street. There were police and fire officials attending to this man, who looked like he was one big cramp to me. Making the turn onto Griffin Street toward the finish was an awesome feeling. Then I hear Mimi and Karen yelling my name, love these gals. Photog Karen always gets great pics of me and here is another example.
After crossing the finish line, one of the greeters walked with me for a while because I was a little off, I mean more than normal. Lol. I told him why I ran, that I was celebrating 2 years of maintenance with every step, every step that hurt! He walked with me to the water, then I told him I was ok. I had my photo taken and walked on to find the food. That was the longest walk of my life I think, not to mention I had to walk up two flights of stairs, ugh. I found my family even before I found the food and hugged each of them. Hearing them say they were proud of me was reward enough for me. My family was there for me to hold me up and I needed it! We sat and talked a while before they headed to the house to finish dinner.
My official time was 5:01:22 chip time.
This was not the race I wanted to run, not the race I trained for, but that’s OK! I know I did exactly what I was supposed to do by encouraging others along the way. I mentioned a few stories here, but here were many more I didn’t share. I learned to share stories and help others out from Nicholas. Inspiring others, helping with a kind word or two is important. This is exactly what Nicholas was doing today during the last 9 or so miles, helping a fellow runner out. (besides, this was only a training run for Nicholas…dude is a beast, so impressed)
After we finished, we started to the car, Lynette, Nicholas and I that is. In the end we were all satisfied with our runs and what the day had brought us. The temperature had dropped several degrees since we started and was quite chilly….but not too chilly for ONE LAST photo op!
To all my friends who posted on my FB wall during this race, THANK YOU! You will never know fully how much that helped me get through this race!!