Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Marathon recap Part 3

I haven't yet decided if I will post a fourth recap. One entailing the week or so following the race. Scroll down a bit to see the beginnings of the marathon and what has been going on up to this point.

Mile 23 - I am absolutely dragging. For the last few miles I've been trying to get into some sort of running rhythm but it just hasn't happened. All the walking (1/4 of every mile at this point) is just tearing me apart emotionally. My time is ticking way higher than my goal of under 4 hours. You can still get under 4:30 with a good last 5K, Bart. Continue to push yourself. This will all be over soon. Brian is still with me and it is super encouraging. One of the many things I like about Brian is that he is not super preachy or pushy. He wasn't yelling at me or in my face, yet he was still pushing me enough to keep it going. "You can do this! This is a good pain! Only three more miles!" Stuff like that was super encouraging. At this point, though, he said something that hit deeper. He didn't sound irritated, just urgent, and he said "Do you want to finish?"

Oh man. No, actually. I don't even care at this point. Just get this thing over with. But I did care. I did want to keep pushing. And so I tried. The almost complete difference between what was going on in my head and what was going on in my body was funny to me and not something I enjoyed. I really did want to keep going, but I just couldn't stop telling myself to stop and walk it out. To be honest, I think at this point, if not 8 or 9 miles before, I had lost the mental battle. I had stopped fighting.

Tony Plouck, another student I do ministry with joined us at this point as well. I love these guys. Tony grew up a runner, and was the son of a cross-country coach. Tony immediately starts the usual cheers: "You got this! Head up! Keep fighting your almost there! Head up, Bart!" I did not receive these well. I was super encouraged and actually they did boost me quite a bit, but I just wanted to throw him off the bridge we were crossing or into traffic. I just didn't want to fight anymore.

Mile 24-25 - It wasn't all doom and gloom. I'm just trying to paint an accurate picture. Actually it WAS doom and gloom but it was also clinging to hope and attempting, in whatever way I could, to persevere. It's hard even to write about these last few miles because I was just emotionally spent. And, oh yeah, pretty physically spent as well. Two more miles Bart. This is a quick jog out to the library and back from our house. Two miles is nothing! But my legs would just not work. My dehydration at that point was crazy and my leg muscles were going bananas. I had been drinking a lot in the last 10 miles but it was to little to late. You can't start drinking halfway through a marathon and expect to be ok. Those two miles felt like they took forever. But the mile 25 sign made it all worth it. Last mile!

Mile 26 - I tried to run this whole mile but just couldn't. I ran maybe 200 meters before my cramps went crazy and I walked the next 200 meters.
I ran the remainder. This was really tough but I just wanted to finish as strong as I could. My legs flared up like crazy. I didn't want to hurt
anymore and knew that the next mile was the only way through the pain. This whole mile is a blur. I remember turning a few times and thinking I thought this was over, why are we still turning? Where is downtown? Why is this lasting so long?!

Tony and Brian give me one last pep talk, and it actually worked this time because I WANTED to do what they were saying this time. They turn off before we turn the corner for the last .2. These pictures are that last little bit. Boy was I happy this is a downhill. All I really had to do was pump my arms and try and lengthen my stride, and at that point that was about all I COULD do. Then the sweet finish.

I actually remember reading to take advantage of the picture at the finish. Like, stick your arms in the air or something; let it be memorable. I actually think I tried to look good but just ultimately didn't have it in me. I was done. You did it! Yes! It's over!

Hmm, 4:32 was much better than I thought it'd be. Good job! Now where do I go? I kept walking.

I actually almost walked right past the medal people. I don't think they would've let me pass, but I nearly did. It was a little strange having someone place a medal on your neck when you can barely stand. I think I would've liked this more about fifteen minutes later, but hey, it was still pretty awesome. Lots of cheers and encouragement.

My medal picture is kind've funny. You can almost tell what was going on in my head. Really? I appreciate the gesture really I do, but I can barely hold myself up and you want me to pose and strap on a memorable smile?! I sort've succeeded, as you can tell, at bringing out a smile.

The end was awesome. It was over and that brought sweet relief to my legs and heart. Especially my heart. The inner turmoil throughout the race was almost to much to handle. I think I had always thought the toughest part of a marathon would be the actual running of 26.2 miles but, at least for me, that wasn't the case. It was the struggle. The "can I push through this cramp" that happened about 20 times. The voice in my head yelling "just give up!" and my ability/lack to listen. That was the tough part.

What an awesome day! This picture made it worthwhile. Nate finished a bit after me and we celebrated and laughed quite a lot.... then we hurt a lot. Welcome to marathon recovery...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Marathon Recap Part 2

Ok, I'd like you to imagine a situation:

It's early Monday morning and you're on your way to work. You have a long work-week in front of you, at least 60 hours. Problem is, you have no energy. Your newborn baby decided it would be a great time to cry all night; so you're running on about 3 hours of sleep. Plus, your hungry because your 4 year old threw one of those typical tantrums of kids that age that lasted right through breakfast time. And you're going to be late.

Add up all of those feelings of fatigue, crankiness, frustration, and irritability and you've got me at mile 15 of the marathon.
Well, and the rest of the way.

Mile 15 - We've passed the South Campus gateway. That was a welcome sight, and I think I said something like, "Ah, home." Brian laughed. He was also talking a lot. I would love this any other time but even trying to listen was expending energy I didn't feel like I had. I really hope Brian doesn't think I'm a jerk if I don't respond; talking just doesn't seem like something I'd like to do right now. We walk around the turn from Chittenden to Indianola. This was really tough for me, and I almost feel like recapping it here quickly doesn't quite do justice to the way I felt about this. It was really hard for me to stop and walk with Brian right beside me. See, I'm ok with personal failure (and that's what it continually felt like) because, well, I'm just familiar with it. But openly and publicly failing (and yes it felt like total failure - did I already say this?) by walking was really emotionally tough for me with Brian. He didn't say anything.
We actually have a pretty decent pace going despite what is going on internally. I'd guess about a 9:30 per mile pace. Ok, Bart, you've ran 11 miles before and that's all we have left.
Imagine the first half of the run never happened. Yeah right, good luck with that one.

Mile 16 - We swooped back down High st. and turn onto College Rd right on South Campus beside the new union. I had a thought at this point about how cool it was to be running right in the middle of the road. How many times do you get to run right in the middle of busy streets?
I also grab some gatorade. And another gatorade. I realized at about the 15.5 mark that I was thirsty. If you've never ran a marathon then you probably don't know that it's terrible if you ever get thirsty because that most likely means you're pretty significantly dehydrated. I haven't felt much in my muscles but my thirst worried me. Brian was telling me a story about seeing security guards or something during his class because President Obama was visiting the oval that night. Good for the President but at this point I wouldn't have cared much if he was coming to hand me keys to the oval office. You're still in good shape, Bart. Even though you've walked a bit, 4 hrs is absolutely within reach.

Mile 17 - No! No, No, No! An absolutely debilitating muscle cramp brings me to a total stop. It was like Forest Gump in Vietnam. It felt like someone shot me (or bit me, according to Gump). My right hamstring just knotted up. We stopped by the side of the road and I stretched for probably a couple minutes. This was not good. Stopping 17 miles into a 26 mile jaunt is never a good idea because you just lose all rhythm, and in a marathon getting into a good rhythm is imperative. Oh man this is not good. 9 miles to go and my legs are just totally failing. But only 9 miles left. But that's so far. But I've done that before. But I feel terrible. Flip-flop, flip-flop. That was seriously my mind for the duration of the race. I'll try to expound on some specific thoughts, but putting every single one of my thoughts on here may be enough to make the reader bipolar. But this whole mile was trouble the whole way.

Mile 18-20 - Brian is still with me. It really means a lot to me. I'm not quite sure I expected to be as emotional as I was about the race. I was spent. My strength to contain myself emotionally was totally void. At this point I was walking about 300 meters (or 1/5 mile) for every 1300 I ran (or around 4/5 mile). My hamstrings were perpetually tight, but the real problem was every time I ran about 1/2 mile my quads cramped and would just refuse to work. I was doing a bit of limping. Every time I stopped to walk (again, every 4/5 of a mile or so) I just felt totally defeated. I just can't do it. I just can't run. I wonder how long it would take to just walk the rest of the way? I actually start doing the math. If I walk the remaining 7 miles at 20 minutes per mile then I'll be done at 5:30 or so. Who cares, at least this'll be over! Ok, so I wasn't desperate enough to settle for a 5:30 but I wasn't far off.
I see my parents around mile 19 I think. Mom came out into the road to give me a high five. After we pass Brian asks who that was. "Do you know her?"
"Well, it was my mom. So yeah I know her." We both chuckle. I know it's not funny but after running for 3 hours straight you'll laugh at anything.
You'll notice in the picture to the left that Brian is not with me. A bit past mile 19 I saw a girl pull off to the side of the road in shambles. She was crying pretty hard and just looked in total despair. I know the feeling. "Hey, go talk to that girl," I say to Brian.
"Huh? What girl?"
"The girl over there, just see if you can help her and then come back."
Brian turns around and talks to the girl and I continue running. Immediately I feel alone. Maybe I can walk these next few moments with no guilt since it's only me? Nah, let's push really hard so when Brian catches up he'll be impressed at how far I've gone! Sheesh, even writing out my thoughts makes me feel silly. Who needs alcohol to remove all your mental/emotional inhibitions? Just run 20 miles I promise it'll do the same for you. Brian catches back up a bit before mile 21 I think. He stopped and prayed with her for a while. What a stud.

Mile 21-22 - When I passed my parents mom mentioned something about Melissa being up ahead on Grandview. This nearly broke me. Melissa and I had talked quite a bit about her being there and just both decided that it would probably be to hard with the kids. The timing issues (of naps, me running etc) just seemed to difficult to navigate. But she was coming! I love my wife so much. It's ridiculous how much she means to me. I would finish this race on fire if it meant I could make her proud of me.
I see them at about 21.5 and it's awesome. Noah looks confused and a bit overwhelmed but he gives me a high five. I'm pretty sure I sprinted the next 200 meters or so just from my enjoyment of seeing them.
The miles feel longer and longer at this point. You can do this! Cramps, cramps. Who cares, just stop! No, push through! Oh just walk the rest. The mental struggle is driving me bananas. I wasn't prepared for that at all. My long run of 17 in training I thought had prepped me for it, but I was totally wrong.
At mile 22 the crowd begins to get a little more excited. The streets definitely aren't crowded, but the ones that are there know how much us runners needed encouragement at that point. If I remember correctly, you can even see the city from atop the hill and it was quite a relief. Just four miles Bart! You're a light training run from finishing!

Conclusion coming up...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Marathon Recap

Warning: this is a long post.

In the days leading up to the race I was quite nervous. Could I actually do it? Was I going to disappoint myself or others? Two things in particular had my insides in knots: First, I had not run any sort of race whatsoever since track in high school, and even then the longest race I ran was the 200 meters! and Second, I missed a huge chunk of training with a bum knee.

At the very b
eginning of August my left knee just would not cooperate. I had to shut down altogether. My long run at that point had been 17 miles. And boy I was cruising. I was
getting closer and closer to 8 minute miles even in training; the time just kept coming off. My goal of a 4 hour marathon began to look not only attainable but perhaps to high of a goal! But, boom, there goes the knee. For the next 6 weeks I did literally nothing physical and the two weeks following that did only walking and some light lifting. Two months of no running.

I was really bummed about this. A few times I almost withdrew from the race, or at least changed it to the half-marathon instead of the full. Could I really expect to run a full missing two months in the peak of training season? I'm not a runner, after all.

What the heck, let's try anyways! So, having not run at all from the beginning of August, to the beginning of October I decide to have a go at running. The legs feel great. Well rested and strong. My knee is in great shape. I run 11 miles 8 days before the marathon as a sort've test. It's a great run. I pass with flying colors and get really excited. I ran the 11 in 1:35 which is an average of about 8:40 per mile. Great! Under 9 minute miles will get me well below the 4 hour marathon mark! I begin to taper down and rest for the race.

So leading up to the race I trust my knee and my legs, now I'm just mostly worried about the actual distance. 26 is a lot further than 11. 15 miles more!

Race day is just beautiful. Probably around 50 degrees at the 7:30 AM start. Nate (my brother) and I are nervous but ready
. It's really a lot of fun to be in an atmosphere like that; just so much anticipation and excitement. We took some pre-race pictures but hey didn't turn out. Bummer.

I really hope I don't have to stop and poop during the race.

We eventually make our way to our corral (the 4th, and last, corral because neither of us had run any race that could register us nearer). The fireworks go off and the line starts moving. My stomach is in knots.

Is this really happening? Are we really about to run
26 miles? I'm a bow-legged 200 pound football player. Nate, are you sure this is a good idea? I wish I was in the crowd right now...

We're funneled like cattle to the starting line. Oh boy here we go. And we take off. Well, sort of.

Mile 1 - Nate and I ran together this entire mile. It was about a 9:30 mile. We passed one dude with a "Today is my 67th birthday shirt on" and I told him congratulations and good luck. Nate and I both cracked a few jokes, I think as a way to ease our tension a bit. It's so packed here! How is my form? We see mom and dad on the right and it's fun to high five as we pass. We continue to bob and weave our way through a great many runners. The first mile
flag comes up quicker than I thought. The butterflies cease for the most part; running has that affect.

Mile 2 - I tell Nate good luck, we fist bump (for about the 5th time) and I speed up a bit. Time to rock and roll! Let's go Bart, you can do this! Man it is S
O crowded! I swoop across the road (we were running down the right side) to the left curb. This is where I run the next couple miles. I'm really enjoying this! I feel really good, the bands have been fun, and it's really cool to be cheered on by random people! I feel so encouraged! Under a bridge we pass a guy that's playing bagpipes and I applaud.

Mile 3 -
The first turn is at the end of this mile. I feel like I'm really starting to get into a rhythm. I wonder how fast I'm going? Boy I wish I would have seen the second mile flag to have a better gauge on my pace. Don't push. Don't go to hard. Long way to go yet, Bart. The picture on the left is, I think, about 3.5 miles. I'm starting to get a little irritated at the other runners at this point. You people have some nerve running in MY marathon! I wish that wasn't what I was thinking but it definitely was. I felt like I kept getting cut off and nobody was really holding a pace so we had a lot of speeding up and sl
owing down to weave in and out. Oh look, here comes the mile 4 flag! I'll be sure to check my time and see my pace...

Mile 4 - Those last two miles were really good! 26 minutes through 3 miles means 8:15 per mile the last two. Good work! If I can just hold this pace I'll be set up really nice. Am I going to fast though? The picture on the right is me about mile 4.5. At this point I jump up on the sidewalk and in the grass on the left. I'm just tired of weaving in and out of other runners. The problem with this is that at this point the curb is fairly high if I'm remembering correctly. It's about a six inch jump to the grass, which doesn't sound like much but if you have 22 miles ahead of you every
little bit of energy exerted elsewhere hurts the cause. I still feel great. I'm just really enjoying the whole thing. The atmosphere is incredible.

Mile 5-6 - These two miles were pretty much the same. I was just trying to take everythin
g in and really enjoy what was happening. Make sure that you are taking the turns tight Bart! I remember reading somewhere that you could add up to 1/4 of a mile in the race if you take the turns wide. It's funny that a little thing like that consumed me. We merge back onto Broad St. and I know that that means mile 7 is coming up. I'm still in great spirits. At every water station they give away tons of paper and plastic cups holding water and gatorade. Mile 6 was the first time I grabbed something to drink, gulping it down while I ran. I made a joke about all the people stomping on the cups and how it made me want popcorn. I got a few courtesy laughs. I check my watch.

Mile 7-10 - Good pace. Just keep this up and we'll be outta here in about 3:45! I think I was averaging about 8:20 per mile after the first mile until this point. To fast? Am I going to be able to hold this pace? I spend a lot of time theses miles looking for people I know. I see Justin and Hannah Mast, and Claire Green, who are on staff with CCC at OSU with me. Nice to see them. I don't see my parents though and wonder why. They talked about seeing me at about the 8 mile mark. I wonder how Nate is doing? Mile 11 means back onto Hight St, and here it comes!

Mile 11-12 - This was when things started t
o fall apart for me. I hear a conversation from a couple guys. "Hey, have you stopped to walk yet?"
"Not yet, you?"
"Yeah, stopped a couple times for about 40 seconds."
This was the beginning of the end for me mentally. Really?! People are stopping? I thought this was a race! Well, if everyone else is taking short walk breaks then I may as well join in! That wasn't quite my exact thought pattern but it was sure close. It's sort've like when you see people doing something that you would rather not, but get swept up in it anyways. So, yeah, I do stop and walk. For about 60 seconds about halfway to mile 12. I really didn't even need to stop at this point, I just felt like it'd be a good time to catch my breath and relax. I see my parents shortly before I stop and walk.
Things really start to pick up about halfway through mile 12. This is when the crowd is pretty large and their enthusiasm seems to push me a bit. Runners that are stopping at 13.1 are beginning to pick up the pace and I can tell. People begin to kick. Not on purpose, but I begin to pick up the pace a bit to much; not that I'm kicking with the half-ers, but I don't think I was far off.

Mile 13 - After 13 we pass the half marathon turnoff point. This is an emotionally crushing mile for me. I sure wish I could turn off with those guys. 13.1 more miles? I'm really only halfway there? My legs are already starting to feel like jello. Generally, to be honest, I'm fairly ok at this point. I run the half marathon in 153:55. Good pace and something I was pretty excited about. The street thins out a bunch with all the half-ers gone and I like that a lot. Then this guy runs with me for about a half mile. Who is that dude? Why does he keep blowing that horn? This guy begins to drive me bonkers with his horn blowing. He is actually running a full marathon blowing that horn the entire way?
Yep, he sure was. I laughed for the first 30 seconds; then it just became irritating. I think I thought about Dumb and Dumber and the most annoying sound in the world. I laughed again; then got irritated again. Thank goodness he is moving faster than I am because I may have tackled him.

Mile 14 - I was joined by a great friend. Brian Kuric, one of the guys that I lead on south
campus ministry decided to join me. The picture on the left is actually Brian and I at around mile 21, so a bit further down the race. Brian was waiting for me at mile 14 and it was really great to see him. I needed some serious encouragement at that point.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chilean miners T-shirts



The story behind the Chilean miners' Jesus T-Shirts

As miners were being pulled from Chile's San Jose mine Wednesday, most were wearing tan T-shirts over their coveralls. The Chilean government told reporters the green coveralls were designed to help absorb the sweat as they ascended to the top.

But Wes Little, a CNN editor/producer in Atlanta, wondered why the miners were wearing the T-shirt over their coveralls. He noticed a logo on the T-shirt's left sleeve for the Jesus Film Project.

Here's what we found:

The Jesus Film Project is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International, the massive Orlando, Florida-based evangelical ministry.

The Jesus Film Project tells us they have translated the film into 1,105 languages and that it has been seen in every country. You can watch or listen to over a 1,000 of the translations here.

The main goal of TJFP's ministry is to create and distribute effective media in every language, says Berry Fiess, the group's director of field information services.

Seventeen days into the mine accident, CCCI country director for Chile, Christian Maureira, started contacting public officials to see if they could send the miners a copy of the film. Fiess said Maureira was able to reach a daughter and a brother of miner Jose Henriquez.

Through that family contact, the group was able to send an MP3 audio version of the Jesus film and an MP3 audio version of the New Testament in Spanish to Henriquez down in the mine.

The Jesus film explains that the New Testament tells how Jesus is laid in a tomb-like cave after his crucifixion. Three days later, Jesus is said to have risen from the dead. In the Jesus film, women come to the tomb and find the stone that blocked the entrance has been rolled away, the cave empty.

It is unclear if the miners saw the resurrection story as a parallel for their hoped-for rescue, but Jose Henriquez passed along a letter to CCCI's Maureira from inside the mine. Fiess shared the English translation with CNN:

Thank you for this tremendous blessing for me and my coworkers. It will be good for our spiritual edification. I am fine because Christ lives in me.

We have prayer services at 12 noon and 6 pm.

"At the end of the letter," Fiess said, "(Henriquez) said goodbye with Psalm 95:4, which says, 'In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.'"

A few days later, Henriquez asked Maureira to get them special T-shirts.

"The T-shirts were a gift from Campus Crusade for Christ Chile," Fiess said. "In the front you can read, 'Gracias Senor' – 'Thank you Lord.'"

And on the back, Psalm 95:4.

"Apparently, all the miners liked them," Fiess said. "It kind of solidified them."