Monday, December 3


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.


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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