Writing and running in Austin, TX.
Okay, so clearly I fell off the face of the earth–or at least out of the blogosphere–for a while there. You know how it is: things get busy, you take on more volunteering responsibilities, you totally miss your marathon goal time…
I do think the craziness of the holidays and various other commitments is more to blame for my absence than my poor marathon showing, but since this is a running blog I have to admit it: My time was not good. The temps hit 80 degrees, the humidity hit 90%, my knee started complaining around mile 10 (10?!?), and I followed up my 5:42 finish with a month of physical therapy wherein we more or less tried to move a tendon in my foot back into place.
That being said, I will long remember the 2009 Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio Marathon as one of the best experiences of my life.
Two weeks before the marathon, my dad surprised me with the announcement that he had secretly signed up and planned to run the first half with me. Dad lives in a different state, I rarely get to see him, and our interests don’t always run parallel. (For example, his dream of me on the LPGA tour never quite materialized.) Yet we both share a personality that gets very excited about ridiculous undertakings, and the marathon definitely qualifies. With his company in San Antonio, the first 10 miles literally flew by. It was only when he turned off for the half-marathon finish that the marathon started to feel like a real death march…although maybe the section around mile 16 where we ran through the cemetery contributed to that.
I have the rest of my support crew to thank for getting me through the second half. My mother and my boyfriend combined her inhuman knowledge of San Antonio geography with his mental math skills to triangulate my position no fewer than 6 (or was it 7?) times throughout the race. They brazenly–maybe illegaly–utilized Wal-Mart parking lots to avoid road closures and yell out their increasingly untrue mantra, “You look great!”
Finally, I have to give a shout-out to those unknown strangers at the back of the pack with me. In the 7-8 hour finishing time you might find honest marathon walkers, but the 5-6 hour timeframe is mostly made up of runners who have had something go awry. We are the people who ran 20, 21, or 22 miles before some injury became so painful that we down-graded our goal from “finish in x time” to “just drag yourself to the finish”. We didn’t talk all that much, but when you looked at the person next to you, they were always ready with a smile, a nod, or just that look that says, “This really sucks, but at least I’m not the only one out here.”
As of yesterday, I’ve already signed up for my next marathon: Chicago 2010. I have high hopes for better times and fewer injuries, but in truth, if I have even half as good a time as I did in the physical misery that was San Antonio, I’ll be sold on marathoning for life.