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?!?


  1. Andy, awesome meeting you and your family at St Jude. Looking forward to running with you in the future.

  2. Loved this post! Always great to do these events with family :)