Monday, October 1, 2007

Still Standing

The weekend was a success. The Akron Marathon totally kicked my ass. And the post-race drinking finished me off.

Martini and his woman picked me up at 6:15 Saturday morning to be at the starting line by 7 a.m. The temperature was a brisk 48 degrees and warmed to 70 by noon. A perfect day for running for 4 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds. Yeah, I missed my pace by about a minute. The race was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, but it was a lot more fun too. I was all worried about obsessing about my time, so I ditched the watch.

My first half went very well except I probably got ahead of myself and flamed out. Martini left me in the dust as usual (he finished at 3:53:00, which is amazing for how little he trained). I was right with my pace group for the first 10 miles, but then I hit a downhill portion and picked up my pace, cruising with gravity, which may be why my quads feel like ass.

The parks (Towpath Trail and Sand Run, miles 12-19) are where the race got really mean and forced me to walk for the first time. Though I did most of my training on these very trails, the hills felt much different after already running for an hour and half. The pace team caught up to me and kept pulling away. Goals are meant to be underachieved. Otherwise, what is the driving force to keep going?

The crowds were even better than I imagined. My dear friends were the perfect motivation after trudging through 23 miles, and my folks, sister and niece met me closer to the finish. And the finish was best of all. You run through downtown Akron and through the center field fence of Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros, where you run along the track to home plate. The fans cheer you on from the first base side and the race director is there to shake your hand.

It's pretty surreal.

That's pretty much all I can say.

Martini and I followed up the race with some serious partying with our crew. It was his and another friend's birthday. The beer was delicious. My choice: Ommegang Abbey Ale, Bell's Kalamazoo Stout and Goose Island 312 for when I was ready to slow down. Surprisingly, I was still standing around midnight and I was onto PBR, which meant it was time for bed. So, thus, I crashed.

The next day I woke up and knew that I would never walk again. And the hangover didn't help. I could barely eat, though starving, until noon when my stomach finally started to feel normal. If there is a hell, it is filled with staircases I must traverse down. But ironically, my ankle feels fine. Or maybe it's just that the rest of me is in that much pain. So, will I do it again?

Akron Marathon 2008 Countdown: 361 days.

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