26.GU

image

“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.

Advertisements

On target… But don’t shoot

IMG_0719.JPG

We should have listened Jamie. He was looking out for our safety, but of course clarity of reason isn’t one of my strengths when it comes to running. Safety has been a factor in determining our runs… Well at least some of them. I can’t recall which ones, but I did buy a headlamp years ago and also a reflective vest.

The truth is fearless, adventurous running is how I started running. My first runs with Kelvin were pitch black and often icy and always cold. I have no clue how we saw the roads or how the cars saw us. I wised up a little bit since those days. I no longer run the most dangerous streets in Salisbury anymore just for fun (although I have already logged them all) and I will often run well off the road when A car is coming my direction. I think watching numerous drivers texting and driving at 5:40am has convinced me to run well off the road when it is dark.

I can still be an idiot for the most part when it comes to my overall safety. Last Saturday I planned a ten mile run on some newly made trails just east of Salisbury. The trails were made for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hunters. Yes Hunters and yes Saturday was the first day of rifle season. Chris, Melissa, and I met at 7am and drove to the trailhead ready to venture out for some nice miles on soft dirt. We met later than normal so we could see the trails, but the darkness wasn’t our problem on Saturday… It was the hunters. We passed at least 20 pickup trucks on the way to our run and it was at that point that we realized the trails would have to wait. No sense in running down trails that hunters were using at the same time… Especially on the first day of rifle season.

Booooom!

We heard that several times as we ran down Laws road and then up Powellville roads towards Powellville. If you haven’t heard of Powellville, you are not alone. The town itself consists of empty abandoned buildings, a double-steepled church, and a VFW building with a huge tank. There is also a small park called Adkins Mill park with a wooden planked walkway that ends in the middles of a swamp. Well it sorta ends. We ran it or at least got through it. It was a welcomed tangent in our run. My bright orange hat, Chris’ bright yellow sweatshirt, and Melissa’s bright pink/orange jacket made us quite visible compared to those we passed in camouflage and their orange jackets. We had a slow steady pace as fo sued on what we had to do to be successful the following week at The Rehoboth Beach Marathon. The rifles were still firing, but at least the only targets we cared about were our marathon target paces.

We ended up doing a twelve mile run and felt a lot better once we were safe on our cars. There’s a lot of times to run and a few times and locations not to run…. We learned on Saturday that Rifle season opening day is probably a good day to run downtown.

We may learn.