Quote of the Day: “There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”
- Albert Ellis
I thought to myself, “It’s Tacoma so it should be flat.”
Sometimes my ignorance of geography is stunning.
Today was my first race of 2010 and I came busting in with a whimper! I would like to report that I crushed this course but I have used all my lying points for this month so I must admit that this course pretty much crushed ME into little whimpering gravel dust particles.
I guess I should have trained.
You would think that this being my 24th marathon that I would:
1. Enjoy it
2. Know that I should train
3. Break the 5-hour mark
4. Be excited to come back next year
I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer so I will point out that the weather was perfect.
Just like always, I got my stuff ready the night before and it was all laid out so all I had to do was wake up, stumble to the bathroom, and don my battle gear.
Carrie and I drove to Tacoma and unlike some of the marathons I have run, the parking situation was not right out of an insane murderer’s worst nightmare. We actually got a parking spot a hundred yards from the start line which was right in the middle of the city.
Carrie gave me a kiss and stayed in the car until the race started and hundreds of runners passed her by. Her thought was most likely “What I bunch of freaks. I’m warm and relaxed in my Pilot.”
She had a good point. It was nice running weather but a bit chilly to begin with until the old body got warmed up.
The first part of the race was relatively flat and went through a lot of business areas. I had the fleeting thought that I had a chance at a good marathon but that lasted about 15 minutes until I realized I was sweating too much, my breathing was off, and my legs felt like lead.
Not the greatest realization to make in the first 20 minutes of a MARATHON.
I got into the closest I would get this day to a “groove” and everything was somewhat manageable until we got into The Park. When I say “The Park,” my mind conjures up the woods in Harry Potter where Voldemort survived on unicorns.
It’s actually called Point Defiance Park and I hit it at about mile 10. Or maybe it hit me.
Whatever the situation, it went like this…
“Hey, there is a park ahead…”
“Oh, how beautiful, this is going to rock…”
“Oh, a hill to start things… OK…”
“Another hill, crap..”
“GOOD LORD HOLY MOTHER OF GOD I WANT TO DIE!!!!!”
Things get hazy after that but I just remember a series of rolling hills and false summits. I was reduced to a walk most of those miles and much like my soul, I could feel my sub-5-hour time slip farther and farther away.
By the time I got out of the woods.. (out of the woods, get it? I slay me!), I resembled what some would label as “a retarded three-legged drunk giraffe.”
Except I wasn’t as graceful.
I was like Elvis in his last days; as though I was making my way to a toilet in Graceland.
It was not pretty and I as I got closer to the end, the sweet, sweet bitter end, I realized that I could possibly break 5 hours which, as far as goals go, ranks right up there with not shitting myself. It’s a goal, just not one I want to be reduced to striving for.
So I picked up the pace from “stumble-clomping” to “I need a shitter like no one’s business.”
I did the best I could at the time but the finish line seemed to stretch out farther and farther away, like a bad horror flick.
I kept checking my watch and trying to do the calculation through the haze my reality had become and knew it was going to be close.
I put my head down, made a deal with my legs that if they did a miracle for me I would actually get them ready for the next time we did this. They pretty much told me where to stick my promises and proceeded to cramp up a bit.
OK, so that’s the way it is going to be. Fine. Looks like we’re gonna take a big old gulp of “Bitch-Be-Gone!”
I sprinted the last few hundred yards to the cheers of all the people waiting for loved ones. I always feel cheesy doing this because it is a last sprint and not indicative of the effort I put out during the race, evidenced by the time on the clock. But I do it every time with the overriding thought of “Let’s get this thing OVER!”
Crossing the finish line, I looked at my watch:
That was about my only reaction. I was glad it was over and pretty much disappointed in my training and performance this day.
Some races I get near the end and I know it is going to be close so I come to that decision point where I can just glide in or push it to get under a certain time. I don’t think I have ever chosen the glide path and every time I did the push, I made it (most notably, the Shamrock Marathon)
But this was the first time I did my little get-on-your-horse routine and come up short at the end.
I guess that’s what makes the successes sweet. Without failure, success cannot really mean anything.
The bling for this marathon is a killer whale which is ironic because that is how I felt most of the time: whale-like.
I guess they made it that way because there are whales in the Tacoma waters? I don’t know, I didn’t see any. I guess I was too busy watch He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named chomping on unicorn rump-roast.
Bib # and fantasy weight for marathoning: 190
Placing: Pitiful, I’m sure
Gu packets consumed: 7
Bling: jumping whale
Free Michelob ULTRAs consumed afterwards: 1
# of times I cussed Defiance Point: ∞
Free Advice for Today: “Every so often watch Sesame Street.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.