I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Monday, May 26, 2008

KeyBank Vermont City Marathon

Running a marathon adds an unusual flavor to a mundane life. It usually takes us far in the company of friends. It’s a different and unpredictable experience, new every time. And the end result is not known until we cross that finish line.

Burlington is a beautiful city. Well, that is a broad statement. I am referring to the pedestrian street near the start of the race, the Marketplace. It is full of restaurants and pubs with tables laid out in the sun and amateur groups doing circus stuff. It is a must to visit some of the restaurants (that means more than one) before the race (hopefully the day before!) and again after the race when you can spot the runners by the way they walk…in fact, the pre-race and post race were my favorite parts of the adventure. I could have done without the mid portion….

The course is diversified and scenic, not that I think scenery matters when you are enduring pain. It has slight gradual inclines, not big but long enough to annoy you. The course takes you twice for a couple of miles on the narrow roads of a park and a bike path, the only portion with any kind of shade. The crowds are extremely enthusiastic with kids high 5’ing the runners. In many ways it is a mini NYC.

This was exactly the kind of race I was afraid of, the one where you never feel good and it is a long way not to feel good. I never got into the grove. I can blame it on the 97% humidity when we took off, or the 30 degree increase of temperature while we ran, or the excruciating headache of the night before…I’ll never blame it on the wine…But, the truth is I just didn’t have a good race, not that my time is disappointing, the way I felt is.

Peter, who I sort of trained and rode with, ran well until he hit the wall at 20. My wall came at 3. I negotiated DNF’ing at 6 but I was too far from the start, then I compromised running to 9 back at the Marketplace and quit once I saw Rene but I didn’t see Rene. By 15 I had resigned to the fact that I was going to finish reevaluating all along if I really should be doing this distance. My time, believe me, was not my concern. I was hitting my splits but not even looking at them. I wanted out of there. That’s it. End this pain.

Oddly enough, the best miles where the last 6. Although cramps were making me stop every two minutes and consequently my splits were slower, I knew I would be done soon sooner than when I started. And the finish line, well, that was the end of this agony so I finished with a smile that meant “I can’t believe I put myself through this again”. Yeah, like I said before, it is like childbirth. We forget how horrible it is until we do it again.