Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The St. Jude Marathon 2011

What an experience.  A sport I've chosen because it really fits in with my need for solitude on a regular basis.  For 26 years I have managed to run solo 99.9% of the time.  I can tell you, by name, the running partners I've had in the past.  Greg, from Cleveland, ran with me once in Chicago 1991.  His legs started cramping less than a mile in so I had to help him walk back to the hotel.  Kristi Webb, my former sister in law, held onto the tail of my shirt as I ran the Murfreesboro Country Club perimeter at Christmas 1988.  More recently, Nick Stiles has run with me a couple of times on the trails behind the old Walmart in Germantown.  5 miles both times.  Then comes the St. Jude Marathon this year.  26.2 miles that I have been training for since June, the week after my 50th birthday.  I feel strong for 4 months and three weeks.  Knocking out countless 5, 6, 7, 10's, 13's and a 15+ or two.  Every time stronger than the last.  Then comes the weekend before the Marathon.  My right Hammie goes to crap.  A slight tear, but painful none the less.  Then My left lower back decides, he wants to make his protests known and he starts shouting too.  Sunday, 6 days out and I am stressing out pretty bad.  I make plans to go to the Chiropractor three time for adjustments. Now it's Friday.  I feel fairly relaxed.  The adjustments have made a difference.  I'm, maybe 80%, but it's better than Sunday.  At least I'm not willing to chuck it all and give my bib to the nearest trash can.  I go to the weekend expo.  I meet up with a few of my Daily Mile friends.  It's really a new experience to even talk to another person in a running venue.  It's pretty cool.  Then Zach, my #2 son calls and asks if I will try to get him a bib for at least the 1/2 marathon.  Actually, he asked specifically for the 1/2.  I laughingly tell the group I'm with of his request, and  BAM...  Kelly, one of Greg H.'s buddies from Columbus / Tupelo pulls out a 1/2 bib his Secretary can't use 'cause she sprained her ankle.  Pretty exciting stuff.  I get so pumped at the prospect of a first half pacer that I start buying up merchandise.  I head back to the house with my swag and get ready for the big day.

We rise at 5:30 AM the morning of.  Oatmeal and infused  water are the fuel of this champion.  We head out about 6:15 to our destination RUN!  No nerves.  Just relaxed fun and pics with family and our new friends from Columbus and Wynne.  Zach and I head to our starting corral.  ...and we're off at 8:14 AM.  We really have a good time.  I am guaranteed the next 2 hours with my son.  I have a running partner.  He asks for my advice about hydration and replenishment.  We talk about pacing and pain / discomfort, (mostly his), I feel very relaxed.  Then entire 1 hour and 50 minute time together is exhilarating for this old man.  So much so that I can't wait for our next running project.  Anyway I think about those sorts of prospects and the first 2 hours of my day for the next 2 hours and 30 minutes or so that it take me to complete my Marathon.  Excited to be finished.  But more to experience my son's first 1/2 with him.  We have bonded over this.  I can feel his pull back into the nest over this.  He is maturing into, morphing into, becoming the man I saw in him when I held him that first time, with his head in my hand and his body up my arm.  7 lbs of pure dependence.  I am a Marathoner.  I am a DAD!!

I love my wife and what she inspires me to be.  What Next?!?