Steaming The Town
There are things we look forward to and as they approach we dread them and while in them we hate them then we can’t wait to do them again.
Such is the beast of the marathon.
I ran Steamtown on 10/10/10 – just now I am realizing the sequence of numbers, that alone should have been a lucky token. And maybe it was, the fact that I get to do them is good luck.
I trained for this devil in the heat of the summer, no less. Since many of my runs were partially in the company of my friend Suzy, I did the Jeff Galloway with her. Galloway is a training program in which walks are incorporated after each mile run. It slows down fatigue in the muscles.
The night before I sat in the auditorium at the request of a group of friends with whom I met and listened to the experts tell us to SLOW DOWN, do not, DO NOT under any circumstances let the first 8 downhill miles take you. Well, I had trained on downhills but still the experts scared me. We talked about it, all of us had different plans for those hills planning to “bank time” but the experts seemed to know better.
On race day, however, it seemed I was the only one who followed the advice. One of my friends, the one who motioned me to sit down through the speech, took off like a bat out of hell. I figured I’ll find her later…and I did but 25 minutes after she had finished.
Between holding back and calculating my running pace for the Galloway walk breaks my energy was draining out of me. By mile eight I told my friend waiting on the sidelines that I was a bit more tired than I should be.
My half marathon time was good. But by 20 I had fallen behind 3 minutes from my goal and I knew, a product of touring the course the night before which I never do, that the last 4 were challenging so my mind was already saying “you want me to run how fast???”
And so a new goal was considered. I knew I could do the last 6 miles in 12 minutes but I had already missed my goal and any other goal was a compromise I didn’t need to make. So a new attitude took place by 22 and with that the fun began -if there can be fun in pain. I talked to the volunteers when I took my walk breaks, now more frequent than the Galloway thing. By 24 I ran into another friend drinking beer so I hoped for wine but not a chance, I did get a nice cold cup of diet coke at mile 25.
I finished strong, with no cramps, smiling, content. Didn’t hit my goal but still had a decent race. In retrospect, I don’t think the Galloway thing is for me and the advice of the elite experts is for elites. I am just one of thousands running by feel and by heart. http://www.runphotos.com/packages.cfm?file_name=SD7B/1298-SD7B_4525.JPG
By the way, dont let that smile fool you. It hurt.