Thought for the Day

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon

I got a text message from one of my brothers yesterday asking if I had won the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon that morning. He knew that I was untrained and unmotivated, even though I had agreed to do it months ago, and I had gone to the expo.
My reply said that I had won my own private little race, a 16 mile run followed by a 7.5 mile walk back to my car. I had warned everyone, Sandra, who organized the pace group leaders, and Jennifer, who was sharing duties with me to lead the 4:15 marathon group, that I probably was not going to be able to complete the distance in time. I was told it would be all right if I did the best I could, so that's what I did.
For myself I didn't really want to run this marathon. I knew I wasn't ready. But Jennifer wanted me to help her, or at least spend some time running with her again. We used to run together quite a bit.
And once I started, I really wanted to finish for the people we were there to support, the runners trying to hit their PRs or make their BQ times.
My legs were aching and sore from about 8 miles on, mostly calves and quads, but also my hips a little bit. I had an ultra-marathon-like soreness building up as we passed 12 miles, and I knew I couldn't make it in 4:15. I could always gut it out to the finish, but I didn't want anyone to be following me while I crashed and burned. So I handed my sign to Frank, a friend who seemed to be steady and strong on the pace, and I stepped off the course at mile 16.
I put my long sleeve shirt, which I had worn for the colder, starting miles, back on over my official pacer tank top, and started walking the course. I took a shortcut back to the finish area where I was parked, and cut off a little under three miles, or I would have had the marathon distance. As it was, I covered 16 miles in 2:36, and 23.5 miles in 5 hours.
I hope, but I'm not sure, that I helped some of the other runners out there by being there as long as I could. If Jennifer wasn't there to carry through to the finish, I wouldn't have even tried.
Blood sugars were fine all day. I was at 107 about 30 minutes before the start, and had a half a bagel right before the start. I had gels as scheduled during the run, and when I stopped at 16 miles, I was at 106. My blood sugar could have safely been a little higher, but it was never an issue.
I'm not calling this a DNF because I wasn't registered, and it wouldn't have counted as an official marathon if I had finished. For some reason this year, not all of the pacers were given free registration. This is the fourth year I've been a pacer at this marathon, and the first time they've done it this way. Anyway, for me it made it easier to do what I had to do, drop out.
If there's a silver lining, this experience this weekend may have been good preparation for next weekend, the Carlsbad Marathon. That will really be my 50th official marathon. I would love to be in better shape, but I can take my time and finish feeling good.


Mike Fraser said...

Jerry, it's the wise ones who know when to quite. It's the not so wise who have painful revelations later. Good for you and good luck with Carlsbad. You sound mentally prepared already.

jpnairn said...

Trust me, Mike, I have done enough marathons on insufficient training to know how it would turn out.
I'm not sure I'm one of the wise ones. Is it wisdom to have simply made almost every possible mistake at some time in the past? Is it wisdom to know when you're making a mistake while you're making it?
I don't know.

Abby Michaels said...


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Please let me know if you will. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best! :)

Abby Michaels