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...