If you have read this blog before, you will realize the last time I ran an organized race was my 2013 DNF at the Rockledge Rumble. I haven't run a lot since then. Over the summer I decided to sign up for the Dallas Marathon. It was August, so I had four months to train. Unfortunately, training never happened.
December rolled around, and I decided that, since I paid the fee, I might as well show up and participate. So on virtually no training, I showed up this morning for rainy start. The posted time limit was 6 1/2 hours. I printed a 6 hour pacing wrist band and hit the road. I stayed on pace pretty well for the first 14-15 miles, then miles 18-20 were slower, dropping me out of the six hour finish range. My average pace was 14:05, for a final time of 6:14, the slowest road marathon I've ever run, by more than two hours.
As often happens when I run (or walk/run/jog) a race, I am left feeling tired and thankful. I am thankful for:
- My body. Today I abused my body, putting it through an ordeal it didn't deserve. I'm feeling it now, and will feel it more tomorrow, I'm sure. I don't eat particularly well, and don't exercise enough, but I don't get sick much and can run 26.2 miles on no training. For that I'm thankful.
- To continue that thought, today I saw a young lady being pushed in an oversized jogging stroller by her friends. I saw a guy with two crutches running. I saw several people who, judging by their gait and posture, clearly had some kind of physical disability. Those runners are so inspiring, making me feel humbled for taking my own lack of disabilities for granted.
- The race organizers and volunteers. I couldn't even begin to count the number of people passing out drinks on the course, cleaning up cups and gel packs dropped by the runners, passing out medals and bananas at the end, taking care of injured runners, playing in the many bands along the course, cheering on friends and strangers. The Dallas Marathon is well-supported and provides a fun atmosphere.
- The great weather. This is why we love Texas in the winter! We ran in light rain for the first part of the race, but mostly it was cool and overcast, perfect running weather!
- My sweet family. Kelly, Chloe, and Zippy came to Dallas to meet me along the course. We thought we had the time and place all worked out, but we never could get together. Thanks for trying, though!
- My sweet wife. Kelly greeted me at the car to see if I needed help getting to the house. I barely made it on my own. . . . Then she drew a nice bath for me and my sore body.
- Craig Alonzo from Irving. We kept leap-frogging each other, so finally instead of passing him I decided to run with him for a while. We were in the same boat, survival mode, but he had a better excuse, as he was running with a limp. He had clearly done something to injure himself. He helped me get a (relatively) good pace back when I needed it. Craig, I see you finished! I hope your wife was waiting for you at the finish!
- Jesika and Jolene Posthuma from Wisconsin. We were also leap-frogging for a while. They had on some rather distinctive matching tights, so I couldn't miss them. A couple miles before the finish I caught up with them and visited with them for a couple miles. They were walking at a good pace, a bit faster than my running pace at that time, so they pushed me along for a couple miles. These sisters travelled all the way from Wisconsin to run in Dallas! Wow!
- Finally, I'm thankful I have the day off of work tomorrow! I think I could use some rest!
So, my word of advice for runners out there: if you sign up for a marathon, train for it. At least a little bit. I'm not saying I'll never do this again, running a marathon when I haven't run a step for two months, but I'll certainly think twice about it and come up with a plan.