Monday, December 3

T-town

I have to resist the temptation to lead off with a song lyric like rslight. But I couldn't help but consider it a good omen when, as we snaked our way through the 5AM predawn Tucson darkness, my sister's car stereo started playing Cake's The Distance: He's going the distance, he's going for speed[...]Because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course, he's fighting and biting and riding on his horse. Was it a coincidence, or did the DJ at KFMA know most of his listeners at that hour were probably people headed toward the Tucson Marathon?

In truth, though, I wasn't certain that I would be going the distance at all. Last weekend, I rolled my ankle 12 miles into a 16-mile long run, and from where I was I had no choice but to keep going on it. It didn't hurt much that day, but things ached pretty good when I went for a run the next day. And it again started to give me grief when I went for a test run in the middle of the week.

So as I stood on a two-lane highway in the middle of the desert at sunrise, waiting for the starting gun, I didn't know what to expect. Was 6 days' rest enough? Would I finish well? Would I finish at all? I resolved to give it a mile, and then either pull back or go for it. When, after a mile, things still felt okay, I started pushing harder. Tucson is a famously downhill course, and there were several miles of long, steady, gradual downhill. I was stunned to look at my watch and realize that my mile splits were within a few seconds of the mile split for my 5K PR. And yet, with the downhill, it didn't feel that bad.

To make a long story short, my per-mile times settled down to a more rational level once things leveled off around mile 8, and I hung on with some rubbery legs through a few uphills(!) toward the end to finish in 1:23:26, a few seconds behind a guy who I'd been battling back and forth with over the final mile...and, as it turned out, exactly 14 seconds behind the first-place finisher in my age group. But since I never expected to place in a race of this size anyway (1300+ finishers), it's hard to be bummed by that. Especially since my ankle decided to play nice after all (though I did have to hit the med tent for an icepack later, after it stiffened up).

My sister, the Tucsonan, was running the full marathon, and after finishing I was to be picked up so I could go cheer for her. She was battling her own injury demons, though, and after finishing the first half in a PR time, she dropped out around mile 17 with a bad case of shin splints. But she's already looking forward to a half-marathon in Phoenix that she's running after Christmas.

I see that rslight is also planning on the Run for the Ranch half marathon. Surely there's some sort of motivational challenge that can be concocted here...hmmm. I'll have to think.

1 Comments:

Blogger rslight said...

Whoa for me on any new challenge. I still haven't earned my pizza.

December 04, 2007 11:53 AM  

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