“Dude just stop and take out that pebble and I’ll wait for you”… I should have probably listen to Bryan, but of course I didn’t. That was mile three of The Rehoboth Seashore Marathon. This marathon was on the books for eleven months and it was my training focus for the past sixteen weeks.
The goal was under four hours and seventeen minutes, which was my previous best time for a marathon. Trying to reach a goal can cause you to do some pretty strange thing… Like running twenty-two miles with a small stone in your shoe. Numbers are often a focus, but they shouldn’t be. Numbers don’t make memories… People do. My memories of this marathon will have little to do with how fast or how slow I ran. I will remember running with my brother and more importantly overcoming struggles and finishing with him, seeing my wife Denise and my family at mile 26 and running a block with my boys, watching my friend Chris cross the finish of his first marathon, completing a third marathon with Bryan, knowing that Melissa PR’ed, high-fiving my Pemberton Running Club friends, seeing my friend Brian cheering me on at mile 25, running the first few miles with Jose, Bryan, and Michelle and knowing my father was watching me run a marathon again – his third time coming out to see Brett and I run.
I titled this 26.GU because when I finished the race I was depleted and my legs felt like jello and I had a pocket full of GUs. I started the race with one GU, my favorite flavor Tri-Berry, and finished with three GUs. Does make much sense does it? I held on to the Tri-Berry flavor, but also picked up a few other ones at the aid stations. I used one GU the entire race and I kept thinking when am I going to need the Tri-Berry… When? I guess I should have continued to fuel doing the race, but sometimes we hold on to things too long and in the end they do us little good. I should have fueled when I was struggling at miles 18-22, but I was holding on for a tougher time…a time that never came. I needed to fix the problems before they arrived. I should have removed the pebble at mile three. I should have taken the GU at mile 18. We learn. Sometimes when we feel the strongest is when we should prepare for weakness. There are ways to avoid hitting a wall, but I was more concerned with time and with avoiding cramps (cramp-free marathon). There are so many factors involved in running 26.2 miles. So many variables. Some many things that can go right and so many things that can go wrong. Too many water stops and you feel bloated… Too few water stops and you get dehydrated and/or weak. I was steady and consistent for 18 miles before my body slowed down and my opportunity for a personal best slipped away.
I ran strong. My second fastest marathon, but slower than my goal. 4:24. The course was amazingly beautiful as it ran through Rehoboth and down the trails of Cape Henlopen Park. There were views of the beach and marshlands as well as wood bridges that crossed waterways. It was scenic, well-organized, and well attended with over 2500 people running. The last three miles I ran side by side with my brother Brett. In all we ran at least two thirds of the marathon together. We pushed each other and decided to finish together and we did cross together side by side. There will be more goals and more marathons and more memories with friends and family. I am a competitive person, but in the end I run marathons to build memories with friends and family.
The lasting image I will keep of The Rehoboth Seashore Marathon is standing next to my brother and my family watching our good friend Chris cross the finish line of his first marathon with his son, his cousin, and his cousin’s kid running beside him and finishing in the arms of his wife, mother and sister. That is a good marathon TIME.