I ran my first marathon on Sunday. It was one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do every since I can remember. After I crossed the finish line, one of the first things I said was, “That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve done in a long time.”
Running 26.2 miles hurts, especially when you’re 220 lbs and you’ve only trained for six months. I did training runs with the St. Louis Track Club. We ran 13, 16, 18—twice, 19, and 20 miles, so I had flirted with the “wall” a few times. Unfortunately for me, during the marathon my legs went numb at mile 16. I hit the wall at mile 17 and it lasted until mile 20. If it wasn’t for a speed walker who let me jog next to him for a couple of miles, I wouldn’t have made it.
When I finally got a half-a-mile away from the finish line, I saw a man with an IronMan tattoo on the back of his calf. He was helping pull a lady up a small hill. It was obvious he had run the marathon to help her along. As I got closer to them he turned and yelled, “Come on big-guy! I was wondering when you’d catch us. Finish strong! Finish Strong!” With that I took off running.
I ran as fast as I could at what seemed like a five-minute a mile pace, although it was probably closer to five miles per hour. The thought kept going through my head, I’m going to beat an IronMan. As I rounded the corner, one of the skinny-running-type volunteers yelled, “Oh now you want to run?!” I thought about flipping him off, but then he said, “Just joking. Run! Run!”
I finished with some of my family and friends at the finish line. A disappointing 7:02 flashed across the time clock. I later learned that my “chip-time” was 6:50:31, which means it took 11 minutes and 29 seconds to cross the start line after the starting gun had been fired.
After the race I swore I would never even consider running another marathon—ever! On Monday when people asked how I went, I told them, “Terrible. My time was an hour off from what I thought it would be. There were four miles of hills, which I walked. And I was passed by several speed-walkers.” But here’s the weird thing. By Wednesday I was relatively pain free. By Thursday when people asked if I would do it again, I said, “Only if my sister-in-law wants to do Chicago next year, then I might. Otherwise I’m only running half’s for now on.”
Today I’m talking to an IronMan coach—not that I’m doing an IronMan, I’m just finding out information—just in case.
If you have aspirations to run a marathon, then do it. But be advised—it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do and you’ll never want to do it again…not at least for three or four days.