Marathon No. 12: Forgot about the pain

My first marathon as Masters runner (age 40 and up) and my first as a father happened on Aug. 28, 2010. It was three years after my previous one, and everything I remembered from previous marathons came back.

Including the pain.

I made a return to the Mesa Falls Marathon in Ashton, Idaho. Such a nice, local, low-key race. There was always a few runners from Bozeman making the 2-plus hour drive to run the half or full marathon. I thought it might be a nice way to “ease” back into the distance, if that’s even possible.

The pre-dawn start and the cool temps were present once again. Heat usually isn’t a problem here. The 6:30 a.m. start is quite early, but I prefer that. I think most runners do. There is too much time to think when you’ve got to wait until 10. Most runners are ready to go just after breakfast.

I know I am.

After adopting our daughter in December of 2007, my running took a back seat. There were days I could get out and run when my wife was around, but there were others when I simply didn’t have the energy. Nina was/is such a joy and always had/has plenty of energy. There is usually never a dull moment.

She got used to daddy leaving for a run at an early age (she was 2 when we got her), and was always so excited when I arrived back in the driveway – me with hands on knees, bent over – after a run.

I traveled to Ashton by myself this time. The previous year, when I ran the half marathon, we went as a family. It was fun to go to the night-before pasta dinner. I usually don’t partake in those, but these small races are conducive for such an event. It’s not crowded and just about everyone likes spaghetti and meatballs.

The marathon went off quite well. I don’t remember my half-marathon time, but it must have been around 1:30. I was shooting for 3 hours as usual, but didn’t put any pressure on myself since my “base” of weekly mileage had dropped since Nina’s arrival.

The one aspect I remember was how difficult these things are. Starting at Mile 22, I started to slow down. By 23, I was walking up to the water stops, taking my time while drinking, then walking after I downed the cup before getting going again.

Sometimes, when I start to fade, rather than just shuffling, I like to just stop and walk to get a breather. To give my legs a break from all the repetitive motion.

Then, once I get back to running, I can move at a good pace – something close to what I was doing when I was feeling strong.

The walking/running paid off and I finished in 3:04.

It was another top-three finish. This time third. Still knocking on the door.

But in 2011, I was no longer the bridesmaid.



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