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Old 05-25-2008, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Pheidippides and the Marathon, I bow to you...

Here is a little history lesson for some and old news to others. Yes, the pun was intended.

The name marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger.
The legend states that he was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the Senate, exclaiming "Νενικήκαμεν" (We have won) before collapsing and dying of a heart attack.
The distance as it turns out was 26 miles 385 yards or 42.195 kilometers for you not in the US.

Yesterday I embarked on an adventure that I now feel everyone should do once in their life time but few should try again. I ran a marathon.

Now this was not something that I just on the spur of the moment decided " hey I'll run a marathon, that sounds like a good time." No, this was something I have thought for over a year about doing and trained for 5 months in the dead of winter for. It is the holy grail of running. Something that will test the body, the mind, and your sprit right to the very core. One would not think that an act so simple as putting one foot in front of the other for a few hours would really do all that. But my friends, I can tell you, "you have no idea"....

The alarm goes off on what will turn out to be a clear and sunny Saturday morning. although at 4:50 am you really can't tell. I get up and consume my normal one cup of raisins, a multi-vitamin and two Imodium tablets. Then spend the next hour in trembling fear of what is to come.
Wendy and I walk about a half mile from the hotel to the starting line where the energy and anxiety is high. A few thousand people wandering around, some with smiles, some standing in long lines to use a port-a-potty one last time and some with the look of fear in their eyes.
We walk around some to see if we could find runners we know. But that does not happen. Then a voice comes from the skies, it was god, well, ok, it was just the race director. but with the state of mind you are in at this moment one could easily fool oneself into thinking it was. The powerful and demanding voice tells all to head to the starting line, the race will commence in ten minutes.
I say goodbye to Wendy and wish her luck in her 10K race.
Then I wander into the mass of runners and found Jana. We had planed to run together, but as always there is an unexpressed vow that if one was to fall back the other was to head on strong and alone.
The race starts and as the first few miles click away I feel great, my legs are strong, the light cool breeze in my face and the sun cresting over the water. It was a beautiful sight. At about the 6th mile Jana fell back, I thought that she stopped at the water station or maybe had to use a port-a-potty. So I just went on alone. Before I knew it I started to see the lead runners on their return. This was an "out and back" race so once you got out 13.1 miles you turn around and head back. I was at about 10 miles when the leader went by. That would put them about 6 miles ahead of me. Dang those people are fast. Soon enough I was crossing the half way point and onto my return home. I crossed the timing mats in 2:07:56 (9:46 per mile) not my fastest half but that's not what you want when you have to do it twice. It was so nice. the sun shining, a slight cool breeze coming off the water, the local residents sitting in their lawn chairs some drinking coffee and some drinking beer, but all were cheering for you. The miles continued to click away as your body starts to become fatigued. Parts like your joints, your bones and your muscles start to ache. At around mile 14 I started to feel the beginning of what was going to be a pain that I have never felt before, nor do I want to again. By mile 16 my left foot felt as if it was being smashed by a hammer with every strike to the road. I begin to run in the grass and dirt along side the road to give me a surface that's a little softer to lessen the abuse to my feet. This helped some but with every stride the pain became more prevalent. This was something that I could not ignore. I had to do something or I was not going to finish this race. So I did the one thing I did not want to do. I walked..
With my head hung low, I preceded forward, walking thru lawns to find the softest places to walk in hopes that the pain would subside enough that I could run on. After about a mile the agony was gone and there was just a continues dull ache so I started to run again. After walking for so long the muscles that you use for running tend to tighten up and it becomes truly difficult to continue. I fought this for as long as I could then I walked some more. I would for then next few miles run in short burst when I felt I could. After awhile the legs became more and more determined to stop me from running. The calves would spasm and stop me dead in my tracks. By mile 21 I had to face the reality that I was not going to run anymore and I now had a choice to make. I could end this pain and suffering or I could dig deep, push my pride aside and walk the last leg of this race. I felt that I could not quit, I must move on.
Around mile 23 I heard yet again the all to familiar sound of another runner about to pass me. I looked back and I seen the smiling face of Jana. She ran up to me and started to walk along side. I without looking at her just said "I'm done, I can't run anymore". She did not seem to care. She knows what it's like, with running 10 marathons and one ultra marathon in the last 10 months The pain that one feels is fresh in her mind. We walked and I told her that she could go on and finish, not to let me hold her up. She just simply said "no, I want to finish with you".. That made things good again. Not good enough that I could run but my pace quickened and I was no longer alone with my thoughts and pain.
As we preceded to the final turn Jana said that we are NOT walking thru the finish line we WILL run the last leg. The last .2 miles was on the high school track so actually this helped. The soft rubber surface did not bother my feet I only had to fight the leg cramps. As we entered the track we started to run, the pain shooting up thru my legs was unbelievable but the will to finish was stronger. Jana and I crossed the finish together in 5:10:38. My 2nd half took me 3:02:41 that's almost an hour longer then the first. This was the most painful and difficult thing I have ever done.

I have now vowed not to run another full marathon until I lose more weight. The half marathons are fine but 26.2 miles at 240 pounds is just to much. Wendy and I will be competing in a Triathlon in 9 weeks. I will continue to workout and train and do my best to lose more weight. If I can do it and can get down to near or under 200 over the summer, I may entertain the idea of trying this marathon stuff again at the Grand Rapids Marathon in October. But if I don't I will run the half and enjoy the free beer as I watch those poor bastards finish their full.. lol

After all this, I have only one more thing to say... "Why couldn't have Pheidippides died at 20"......

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Old 05-26-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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Congratulations. Finishing a marathon is a mighty accomplishment. Finishing in five hours is something to be proud of.

I am training for my first half marathon right now. If this goes well, I may set my sights to a full marathon next year.

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Old 05-26-2008, 12:56 AM   #3
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Congratulations. Finishing a marathon is a mighty accomplishment. Finishing in five hours is something to be proud of.

I am training for my first half marathon right now. If this goes well, I may set my sights to a full marathon next year.
Very good, have run and enjoy that half. They are a blast..
Then go for the full, Like I said, everone should do it once.
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:48 AM   #4
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Congratulations! A marathon is no small accomplishment.
I'm training for the San Francisco Marathon in August. I ran the half marathon last summer. I think that the training is the hardest part. It's definitely cutting into my homebrewing and beer drinking!

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Old 05-26-2008, 03:34 PM   #5
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Marathons are like women. You’ll never forget your first. Glad to hear that you made the best of it. Congratulations!
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:38 PM   #6
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Congrats on the first! I did my first last September, finished in 3:39 but the cramps were so bad for the last 5 miles or so, that I don't think I will ever do one again, not to mention how screwed up my life was when I was training. (I was only 28 at the time and 145#...)

You may want to work in longer (18-20 mile) runs in your training if you didn't before. I think the 5 or 6 of those I did really helped me get over the hump.

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Old 05-27-2008, 06:41 PM   #7
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Yeah, I love running marathons! NOT!

I couldn't even think of running one mile, let alone 26.

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Old 05-27-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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This is the story of my brother's first marathon.
You were successful on two fronts.
1) You Finished.
2) You want to do it again.

Believe me. #2 is easier and #3 is easier still.

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Old 05-27-2008, 07:37 PM   #9
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Believe me. #2 is easier and #3 is easier still.
. . . . . and the next thing you know you'll be joining Jana for an ultra
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:54 AM   #10
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Congrats on the first! I did my first last September, finished in 3:39 but the cramps were so bad for the last 5 miles or so, that I don't think I will ever do one again, not to mention how screwed up my life was when I was training. (I was only 28 at the time and 145#...)

You may want to work in longer (18-20 mile) runs in your training if you didn't before. I think the 5 or 6 of those I did really helped me get over the hump.
I did 3 runs at 22 miles durring the last 5 months of training. But the training runs are never the same as the race.
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