"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching Up...

I've got a handful of updates from the last three weeks that are going to come fast and furious here. Let's get going...
Marathon #7: Foot Traffic Flat Marathon - July 4th, 2011
My third marathon in 31 days. First the actual race. It was a warm day, but an early 6:30 start helped to alleviate this problem slightly. The full marathon course consisted of a 12+ mile out and back (covering miles 5-17) and then 9 more miles around Sauvie Island back to the finish line at the pumpkin patch. I struggled through the middle portion of the race and was pretty gassed by about mile 17. The heat, the boring course and possibly some lingering effects from the previous two marathons. I was using a run/walk approach for a few miles and was being passed each time I walked by a guy who was keeping a pretty consistent pace. When I resumed running again I would pass him and build a slight lead and then he would pass me again the next time I walked. Just before the Mile 22 marker, as I was catching back up to him, I noticed that he had stopped running and was walking very slowly, head down, hands dropped to his side. I recognized the look instantly.
I caught up to him, asked him how he was doing and received the obligatory, "doin' good" answer. I said I didn't believe him, but told him I had been impressed by how consistent he had been the last few miles. His parents had been following closely behind on bicycles offering him support and water but were now next to him trying to talk him into continuing to run. I offered a few more words of encouragement and then said, "alright, let's go. We'll finish this together." I'm not sure whether he wanted to or not, but he started running again and together we ran the last four miles. After telling me it was his first marathon I related my first marathon experience, where I hit the same wall in about the same place before a friend came up from behind me and talked me through the last few miles, turning what had been a completely miserable day into positive experience. I honestly doubt I would have ever done another marathon if not for my friend's assistance that day. Instead, I'm now addicted to them. I don't know if this guy will ever run another marathon, but I know he was smiling and tearing up at the finish line as he looked at his medal and had his picture taken.
I finished the race in 4:18, not a PR but not a PW either. However, given the weather, the fatigue and running the last few miles slower than I normally would have (as well as having the experience of helping someone get across the finish line), I'll take it.
I submitted my Marathon Maniac application the next day and now have the title of Marathon Maniac #4113.
I won't spend much time on the non-running parts of this race but I will share a few brief thoughts. At the outset I have to say that this race gets glowing reviews. Most people love it. It's not really my thing though. For a race that tries to come off as folksy, hometown-ey, low-budget, eco-friendly or whatever, it sure isn't priced like it. $75 plus $15 extra for a shirt. Not a terrible price for a marathon, but too high in my opinion for the amenities that came with it. I thought the course was pretty boring. The aid stations were nothing more than a folding table with one or two people standing there holding only one or two cups at at time no matter how many runners were approaching. The medal is pretty cheap looking (original, but cheap). The post-race food spread was lacking. I realize that all the half marathoners and 5k-ers finished before me, but there were still several hundred people still out on the course when I finished. That said, I enjoyed a 50 cent hot dog, a bottle of water and a small serving of strawberry shortcake. There was no other food in sight. I could tell that some people love this race and probably participate every year. I'm glad I did it once, but I won't be back.

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