Sometimes, a marathon finishing time isn’t particularly significant in the grand scheme of things. My result in Saturday’s Train 4 Autism Marathon Series Race No. 1 was one of those instances. I ran miserably, finishing in 3:23:56, but I had a great time at the race.
When I mapped out the schedule for 2010, Easter Weekend looked like a challenge. There were very few races on the schedule, mostly trail races and mostly far away. My wife puts on a big family dinner every year for Easter and I don’t want to leave her all alone, nor do I want to miss the dinner! So, I worked with local race promoter Charlie Alewine to put on the first of a series of three races.
The races are small and low-key and we called them the Train 4 Autism Marathon Series. It was awesome to see the T4A name on a race! The race wouldn’t have happened if not for Operation Jack,, I had a fair amount of running friends turn out just to run the race to support us. It was an absolutely incredible feeling.
I get shy about compliments — I always feel undeserving because I know I’m a flawed person just like everybody else. But it’s nice to get positive feedback, because I know it’s an indicator that people believe in what I’m trying to accomplish. And I have to say, it’s pretty strong feedback when somebody drives out to run in your race!
Anyways, the race. It was 10 loops around a 2.62-mile course. I started off a tiny bit too fast by pace, but my heart rate was OK. I think I was holding a fairly decent pace early on, although there a couple of spots where my heart rate jumped. I was a little concerned that I would bomb late, but I wasn’t tremendously worried. I ran a fair amount of the first half with four runner friends of mine — Jeff Cate, Zach Earl, Tracy Bowling and Peggy Kern. They all ran the half marathon, so I was on my own for quite a while.
I hit the half somewhere a touch quicker than 1:38 and felt OK. I didn’t feel like I was on the verge of falling apart. But I was! At about mile 18, I dropped off pretty badly. I slowed down about 30 seconds to a minute per mile. I kept repeating one thing to myself over those final eight miles or so: “My body HATES me!” I think I’m going to go through various phases this year. Right now, I’m struggling. Fatigue is setting in pretty nicely. I don’t think my body is very happy with what I’m doing to it!
From about 21 on, I really wanted the race to end. I felt like a truck had run me over. I never really had the energy to step it up at the end and kick. I slowed down until the end and finished up with a 3:23:56. The bright side of the small race is that I came in first overall. But it was a tough run. Still, it was pretty cool to earn a trophy and a medal that said “Train 4 Autism” and it was great to see so many people hanging out at the finish. Am I a jerk for winning my own race?
I didn’t have an amazing run. But I had an amazing day. I’m totally content with how this one turned out. I’m a lucky, lucky guy.
Me and Jack at the finish. I’m so glad he was there!
Me, James Hong and Ben Delaney sporting sweet-looking shirts. Ben, one of my best friends, finally got the sub-4 monkey off his back, finishing in 3:58.
Me, Shelly Overton and Ben Fesagaiga of Train 4 Autism.
Me with Jeff Cate, a super-nice runner friend of mine who’s given me a lot of good advice over the past year.
Me with Peggy Kern, an awesome runner and a more-awesome person.
Me and Charlie Alewine, who made the race happen!
Look at that — a Train 4 Autism trophy and medal!