Friday, July 30, 2010

Saint Ralph - a pleasant surprise!

The other night Jenny and I were having a quiet night at her place. It was after dinner and getting late, but neither of us were ready for bed (and no this is not a dirty story for those of you with dirty minds!). So we settled into the couch with a bowl of popcorn and started browsing the instant queue on Netflix. Some time ago we searched any and all movies that have anything to do with the subject of running and tossed them all into the queue. We've watched some great and not-so-great documentaries, comedies and dramas all dealing with running.

There was this movie that I've personally been skipping over again and again called Saint Ralph. For the record, I'm not Catholic, but Jenny did grow up going to a Catholic church. The picture and summary of Saint Ralph did not excite me. Basically, it's about a 14-year-old in the 1950s that wants to win the Boston Marathon to create a miracle in the hopes it cure his ill mother. Come on! Really? I'm not buying it!

But this night we're both tired, but not yet sleepy and figure we'll watch an hour or so and then go to bed at a respectable time. So I click "play." The next thing I know the credits are rolling and it's after midnight on a week night. Both Jenny and I were glued to the story and couldn't turn it off. We had to finish it. If you're a runner you can't help but like this movie.

(Here's my crazy summary): Ralph (the main character) is a 9th grader at a Catholic school somewhere in Canada. He's the classical rogue kid in the 1950s always getting into trouble, mostly because he's very mature for his age and with good reason; his father is passed away and his mother is in a hospital with an undisclosed illness. He's really living at home alone, but has everyone believing he is living with his grandparents, whom are both dead. He's even pawning every item in the house for money. It's not long before a power-tripping Catholic priest (the head-priest-in-charge-guy at the school) gets on Ralph's case and figures out the dilemma. Ralph and the HPIC guy don't see eye-to-eye on anything. One of the younger priests at the school is teaching a religion class and when they come to the subject of Saint-hood Ralph discovers that anyone can become a saint by meeting several conditions. He then gets it in his head that if he can pray, believe and do the impossible (a miracle) that it will some how awaken his ill mother from a coma. He sets out to win the Boston Marathon in 1954. It's not long before the younger priest starts coaching Ralph despite the HPIC guy's orders against it.

You'll have to watch the movie to find out if Ralph succeeds, but if you're a runner you will be caught up in this drama for sure. It's got hints of humor that only runners can relate and bits of drama for everyone. Historically, it's fiction of course. Veikko Karronen, of Finland, really won the 1954 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:20:39 and world record holder at the time, Jim Peters finished second. I searched Google and tried to find out if any kids under 18 have ever finished the full race, but my results were inconclusive. Today, the qualifying times are for 18-year-olds and up.

But if you have a little "Faith" and "Believe" then you'll be hooked on Saint Ralph!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Post Marathon Question: What's next?

It's been just a little more than a month since Jenny and I completed the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. I've completed a reverse tapper (doing my tapper backwards for a few weeks to gradually increase my mileage) and pretty much given myself a day of honest rest for each mile of the marathon (excluding surfing of course). I've surfed more days this month than the previous few, which is awesome by the way! But as I maintain a base mileage of 20ish miles per week the big post marathon question is looming.

What do I train for next?

I put so much time and energy into the last marathon and really feel like I accomplished if not shattered all of my goals, but part of me still wonders what happened those last 2.2 miles that took me nearly 28 minutes to complete. Part of me really desires to run a sub-4 hour marathon and by all indications I should have been able to do that at Seattle. The temperature and weather was perfect. I was well rested. I had an amazing running partner. There was plenty of aid stations. Was it the hills? Perhaps. I've even entered my PR times for 5k and 10k races in the McMillan Running Calculator and also crossed that information with the Hal Higdon book and both indicate I should be able to run a sub-4 hour marathon. Sub-4 hour marathon was never really a goal, but an outside guess at a finish time I would've really been excited about at Seattle. I'm proud of my 4:18:00 time and proud to have raised so much money in honor of my father for American Heart Association and proud to have shared ALL of the experience with the girlfriend.

So what next?

I've mentally committed to a few things, but there's so much left to be decided. First, I want to run the next marathon with a sub-4 hour finish as the goal. Maybe if I make it a real goal and hold myself accountable then it will be come a reality. I want to run this race in ideal conditions (50-70 degree temperatures) and I want the course to be, well, more flat than Seattle. With that in mind, the next question is when and where?

The past few weeks Jenny and I have been talking a lot about the Fall/Winter and what races we should run. Jenny is making a mental commitment to run her next marathon with the goal of qualifying for Boston (she only missed it by a few minutes last year at Marine Corps, her 1st marathon) and let's face it, she was running Seattle at MY slower pace because she wanted to stay with me and share the experience. Now it's time for her to kick butt and go for greatness! She has a few races picked out as possibilities. I figure I'll at least run the half marathon at whatever race she decides on to be part of the experience. I think what I need for my next marathon is a race I can truly get excited about.

I'm also torn because there are a few very good possibilities this Fall/Winter in Florida. Florida is very flat, duh, and the chances for good weather are higher than other regions. However, in the back of my head there's a far fetched idea looming. Why risk injury, time and energy to run more than one marathon in any particular state? I've already run Disney Marathon as disastrous a day that was, but it still counts. Jenny hasn't run a marathon in Florida yet. If there's even a small chance that I might continue running marathons during the next two decades then I want to go for 50 marathons in 50 states. It's way to early to say that's what I want to do, but if there's even a small chance that it could be a possibility for me then I'm conflicted about running two marathons in Florida. Another part of me says just run another one... really run another one in Florida and do it right. Disney was more like a hike through the arctic circle.

Here's a few races I'm looking at with a goal of finishing sub-4 hours.

Run for the Bay Marathon (Apalachicola, FL) - Oct. 23
There's a high probability that Jenny will use this race as a Boston qualifier. We have friends running it as well and it could be a fun weekend vacation and a chance to pay homage to the place that air condition was invented! Although, for the record, I think the race is overpriced!

Space Coast Marathon (Kennedy Space Center, FL) - Nov. 28
This is a really flat course and it has a theme of everything Space, which is awesome. It's a 45 minute drive away and the registration fees are reasonable. In addition to a finisher medal they give you a beach towel! Oh, and check out the race date... can you imagine a Thanksgiving taper?!? However, I feel like if I'm going to go all out and train for a race like a marathon I'd at least like to travel and make an adventure out of it. Maybe I should save this one until I get old enough that I'm in a realistic age bracket to qualify? Haha.

Carlsbad Marathon (Carlsbad, CA) - Jan. 23
Now this would be a travel/adventure race. It's also a flat course (or by California standards) and I have family that live there to visit. Jenny used to live there so she would be on board as well. Although, financially it's a bit out there with airfare and all, but I could knock of California on the list and it could also be a surfing trip.

And speaking of surfing trips, I'm looking at three possibilities between now and next March/April (I promised myself I'd make at least one surfing trip before next Spring). They are Ecuador, swell chasing in Puerto Rico or Morro Negrito, an island off the Pacific coast of Panama. More on those later.

Any thoughts on the above races, suggestions, opinions???

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christmas in July?

Apparently, a few days ago was Christmas in July.

I've always heard of Christmas in July, but never really -- and still don't -- understand it. Now I have a reason to like it.

The other day Jenny walked over to my place from her place (yup, she now lives within walking distance) and the plan was to do a cross training workout, bike ride and make this salad idea I came up with while surfing (romaine lettuce mixed with avocados, assorted peppers, stir fried chicken, tomatoes, broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese and splashed with citrus dressing). While at work I had researched some upper body workouts for surfing and left the print outs in my truck. I ran outside to get them to show to Jenny and found this just outside my door resting under a papaya tree (we don't really have Christmas trees in this part of Florida)!


I was stoked and surprised. Upon opening it I discovered this:

Now you might think Produce Saver storage bins are a very random gift, but what you don't know is the back story. Weeks ago we were shopping in the store and I was looking for the best deal on some BPA free storage containers because I'm always not having enough to store leftovers. I really REALLY liked the idea of these containers, but they were more expensive so gave up on the idea and forgot about them. Jenny didn't.

She remembered and gifted them to me!

Totally stoked I am, I am!!! We'll see how they work. I've already got an avocado and some of that salad in a couple of them now putting them to the test!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Welcome to New Smyrna Beach!

A few weeks ago Jenny and I ran the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. A few days after that we returned to Florida and immediately began a moving process. A process that brought Jenny to my hometown of New Smyrna Beach. She was previously a 2-hour drive away. Between the marathon recovery, the move and her starting a new job this week there has been little time to blog or keep up with the blogger so that my friends explains my absence from the blog-sphere!

I've got some big news to report! Well, maybe not that big, but it's exciting for me as a surfer. Yup, this is a rare surfing post (sorry runners). Since New Smyrna Beach is a "surf town" it's only proper that if you are an athlete and plan to live here that you learn to surf, or at least try. And to do that my friends, you'll need a shred stick! After much thought it was decided that a performance shape longboard would be best all around board for Jenny to learn with given our beach breaks. A few months ago a non-surfer friend of mine got hooked on surfing. One ride and he was stoked beyond believe. He researched and hunted for an inexpensive board with some quality that will last and hold up to some abuse while he learns to surf. What he found was Triple X Surfboards or XXX Surfboards, which I was highly skeptical of at first.

The website claims: "Triple X Surf and Skim was founded in 2004 with the goal in mind of producing top quality surfboards, skimboards and wakesurfers that rival any custom or production board available..."

I rode along with my friend when he purchased the XXX board he scoped out online. At first, I was skeptical because my first guess what this company is probably keeping price low by having their epoxy boards mass produced and "popped out" in China. Upon looking at the 9'0" performance longboard he was buying I was satisfied that the shape and specs were decent. Upon riding it in some waist high surf a few weeks back I was satisfied that for the price of these boards a beginner can't go wrong. The board is not heavy and paddles fast. It's easy to maneuver and turn rail-to-rail with the squash tail and hard rails. It's single to double concaves and sidebites give it drive and speed to make some of the sloppy sections we get here in Florida. I was even able to walk up on the nose (something I can't do on my Walden Magic 9'0") and hold for a few seconds. The board is super flexible, probably because it's got less layers of glass, which is probably why its weight is low. Less flex is super fun, but probably not great for a more advanced surfer that is going to charge more powerful swell. In other words I could see it breaking on me in hurricane swell. Nevertheless, what a great deal for the price!

That's why I decided to surprise Jenny and get her one! I chose the 8'2" mini longboard that is 22 3/4" wide and 3" thick. For Jenny's size it is perfect for her to learn on and if she advances and decides she wants a high quality surfboard we could always sell it and buy a better one or she could keep it and start a quiver. I conspired with the new landlord to let me put the surfboard in her apartment the day before she moved in so it would be a surprise. Everything went perfectly! Jenny was stoked!

We've gone surfing half a dozen times and she's learning very quickly! And we're continuing our running adventures, but that my friends is another story!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Seattle RnR Marathon PHOTO RECAP

Here are a few pictures from the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on June 26, 2010.

Jeanie, Jenny and myself just before leaving the hotel and beginning our epic journey to the start line. Jeanie flew up with her boyfriend from Sacramento to run the Half Marathon. She PR'ed!

A little inspiration I wrote on my hand that I saw on Frayed Laces blog a while back and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it! I wrote one word on my other hand: "Breathe!" which seemed appropriate the last couple miles and going up those hills. I'm also wearing a Brooks running jacket that I found in a thrift store for $4 and planned to use as a throw away before the race (temps were in the mid-50s), but I couldn't part with it and left it in the car. Now I'm stoked I still have it!

This is Jenny and I running by my family members somewhere around mile 15 or 16 I think.

One of the people donating to our fundraiser specifically asked us to use their donation on ourselves in Seattle. We decided to buy matching shirts and Brooks running hats. We also decorated our shirt backs. Mine reads "For Dad and A.H.A. Seattle Marathon Rock n Roll!" Jenny's shirt reads: "We love (*red heart) Seattle Marathon Rock n Roll."

This was taken at the family reunion area at the finish line. It was the first time Jenny and my parents met each other. It was also quite cold and I started shivering uncontrollably. Now I know why they give you those emergency blankets.

At the Health and Fitness Expo the Planters representatives were handing out free pedometers. I've never used one before and I'm not sure about the accuracy and quality of it, but I clipped it onto my pants anyways. This picture was taken at the finish line. More than 41,000 steps? Holy crap if that's accurate! Wow! No wonder my feet were tired!

After having our free MGD 64 beers and getting into a car to warm up we went to the food court in a mall in Tukwilla near our hotel to gorge on food. This was taken unbeknown to me in the parking lot. I'm standing there completely dazed and staring at the single step that lies between me and the food!

Later that night all of our families and friends met at the Tap House in downtown Seattle for dinner. I couldn't decide on what local microbrew I wanted to drink so I ordered the bartender's special and got a variety pack!

I just have to show off what I rewarded myself at the expo for 18 weeks of marathon training - the new Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes! I haven't run in them yet, but I was wearing them during several of our walking/hiking trips after the race. This was on a dock on Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park near Marymere Falls. The shoes feel awesome so far!

And finally... to redeem myself for the MGD 64 comments that Will Run for Beer called me out on in my last post I have to show everyone that I did, in fact, celebrate the marathon properly with this awesome giant Hennepin Belgian Ale! I drank the whole damn thing the night after the night after the marathon and loved every drop!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon RECAP

I guess this recap is better late than never . . . nearly 11 days ago Jenny and I ran the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and I have no excuse for posting my recap so late other than life comes at you fast sometimes. Here's how it all panned out!

The Health and Fitness Expo at Quest Field

Absolutely the best race expo I've attended yet. Competitor Events, Brooks and the Rock 'n' Roll series did it right and absolutely smoked the Disney Marathon Expo, Run for Donna Expo and Bay to Breakers expos to name a few I've attended in the past 6-months. It was absolutely huge with Brooks taking up at least a third of the expo. Yup, I was in Heaven. Jenny and I tried on the new Cascadia trail running shoes. I purchased mine and Jenny held off. Good thing because when we got home we learned she won a free pair in a drawing! All the vendors were amazing and for some reason it seemed as if there was an abnormal amount of free stuff to be had. I scored all kinds of free swag. I think Jenny and I lived off all the free snacks, nutritional bars & candy for at least one day trip of the vacation!

The Start Line
Jenny, Jeanie (who flew up from Sacramento to run the Half Marathon) and I scouted out the starting area the night before and learned it was exactly 2 miles from our hotel. I don't know if it was the cool-dry air or the nice beds at the Tukwila Comfort Suites, but I slept better the night before this race than any other race yet! Jenny probably didn't sleep, but that's the norm usually for both of us the night before. We were up before the alarms sounded at 5 a.m. and each of us went into pre-race routine. I think for future marathons I'm going to make a rule that whatever time we decide to get up and get to the start line that we add an hour to that time as we ended up rushed just like Disney in getting to the starting area. Our plan is to have Jeanie's boyfriend drop us off in our rental car and have about 30-to 45-minutes at the start line to do what runners do before races - use the bathrooms again and again. This is the first and one of the only FAILS for the race. A half mile down the road from the hotel we come to a dead stop in traffic. Many runners are getting out of their cars at this point and running or walking to the start line. We continue on at a soccer mom's pace (no offense all you soccer mom's out there. You've probably passed me in races before!) and I can tell that Jenny is getting anxious. I have no desire to run a mile or two before running a marathon. We still have plenty of time, but the clock is ticking.
We finally come to a "runner drop off" area and the vehicle traffic is being filtered directly onto I-5. There's no choice but to get out here and all the runners are being directed to the north along side the I-5 entrance ramp, but eventually underneath it. This is NOT what we envisioned last night. The start area is less than a quarter mile from where we get out of the car and now (since we can't cross the road) we are being directed away from the start area. At first we walk patiently and learn that we are going under an I-5 overpass and in a giant circle that leads into the back of the corrals. Jenny and I had our corral changed from 11 to 6 at the expo. When someone says the time and how far we have to go Jenny and I start running to the start line. Instant Deja Vu of the Disney Marathon back in January where we had to run a full mile to the start line kicks in. As we arrive at the corrals it appears that we are somewhere around corral 40! All the bathrooms have at least 50 people in line each! We continue to run through the 30 or so corrals until we can see the start line. There's 4 minutes until the 7 a.m. start time and no short lines in site! We jump the fence into Corral 6 and decide our only option is to start the race and use one of the bathrooms at mile 1 or 2. The race starts and the elites take off like a heard of gazelles being chased by a pack of lions. Corral 2 advances to the start line and we all start to move up. A minute later the gun fires again and all the crazies in Corral 2 get on it. We move up again ever so slightly. Corral 3 takes off. I look around at the people for the first time. Most people appear to be wearing half marathon bibs. Then I spot a woman that is at least 7 or 8 months pregnant wearing a yellow full marathon bib. Holy sh*t! And she's in the 3:40-3:48 pace corral. If that's not hardcore I don't know what is! When corral 6 makes it to the start line we have a minute to make a critical decision. Leave the corral, jump the fence and use some bathrooms we have spotted 50 yards away with only a few people in line or start the race and lose time using the bathrooms down course. We decide to hope the fence. See ya later corral 6 and hardcore pregnant lady! By the time we get back and jump the fence again we are in corral 10 almost where we originally would have been in corral 11. The gun fires. Our marathon officially begins!

The Race

Starting temperature is upper 50s. Finishing temperature is upper 60s.

It's a little crowded to begin with, but nothing as bad as the first few miles I experienced during the Disney Marathon. The race heads north along Lake Washington on wide closed off roads so there's plenty of wiggle room. The night before I wrote on my forearms the pace time for each mile to finish at 4 hours. Every few miles I check my watch for our chip time and cross check it with my forearm. We are doing great! Each time I check we are 1-3 minutes ahead of the 4-hour pace time. Thinking back after the race I realize I was pretty freaked the first 10 miles. I was quiet and reserved. We decided to run through the aid stations, something I had not even done on any of the training long runs. We took water, but on the fly. During the first 10 miles I'm feeling great, but scared more of uncertainty of how I'll do later on than the actual act of running 26.2 miles. Jenny on the other hand was relaxed and enjoying every aspect of the race. After the race she asks if I remember seeing multiple things and I have no recollection of most of them. I was in a zone with tunnel vision. There are some great bands we pass along the way. There are some not so great bands along the way. One of them is playing some kind of jazz/blues music. I remember telling Jenny to please kill me or the singer! One band is playing a Blink 182 song and the singer looks like Bon Jovi. I raise an arm and make the "rock on" sign with my fingers and the singer acknowledges with enthusiasm! For about 5 miles we are running near a guy that is constantly yelling at a woman to keep up the pace. He's trying to motivate her to finish the Half in under 2 hours, but he's NOT being nice about it. He even runs ahead of her and comes back almost like he's doing circles around her. She's breathing so hard we can hear her from 20 feet away. Jenny is getting so upset with this situation that I'm afraid she is going to go kick him in the balls or something. Finally we pass them and one older fellow next to us makes a remark about how that relationship isn't going to last past today! Somewhere around the mile 10 mark we split away from the half marathon runners and head out over a bridge that goes toward Bellevue. I'm stoked to be leaving behind the half runners because the course really thins out. The bridge is about a mile long and is one of those floating bridges. It looks beautiful, but looks can be deceiving. I quickly decide and proclaim to Jenny and anyone else within earshot that "this bridge sucks!" For the first time in the race I start to feel a little discomfort. There is a significant amount of wind over the lake that actually makes me cold. Plus the nearby traffic lanes are thick with cars and while it looks scenic my lungs are telling me a different story as they breath in exhaust fumes. There are no bands playing on the bridge and no crowd support. We run across and then all the way back and no sooner am I thrilled to have that over with we are faced with a tunnel. At first I think, better to go through a tunnel than run over whatever I'm running through. A minute later I decide the tunnel, like the bridge, is also no bueno! It's loud and I can't hear a thing Jenny is saying. It's also warmer than the normal outside temperature so it's kind of like shell shock to go from the cold windy bridge to the warm loud tunnel. There's one band, or single dude, with two turn tables spinning rave music inside the tunnel. For some reason this is funny to me. He's wearing a tux and sunglasses.
When we emerge out of the tunnel downtown Seattle is in full view and we're on a series of overpass highway roads heading straight for it. We pass the 13.1-mile marker and I check my watch. We're right at 2 hours exactly! This is bittersweet because while it's an awesome Half Marathon PR for me (busted my old PR by more than 16 minutes) I realize that we're going to have to do negative splits to bust 4 hours and I know there's hills on the horizon. The 4 hour mark really isn't a goal for this race, but it would be nice. It's more of a long term goal that I realize will come with more running experience. As we run through downtown there are hundreds of people lined along the course and for the first time I feel the advantage of having lots of crowd support. Jenny and I try a new strategy to make up some time. Since she is better running up hill than me and I'm better running downhill than her we flip flop back in forth on the hills. She sprints up leaving me behind and I sprint down catch up and even passing her. This works and we're back on track a few minutes ahead of the 4-hour pace up until mile 15ish and that's when it happens. Nope, not the infamous "wall," but something worse... our parents! Just kidding! I meant to say a long hill that goes up for more than a mile, but we do encounter are parents during this part of the race. First, it's Jenny's parents on the other side of the road. We wave and yell hello and keep running. Then it's my family. They've got water guns, bongo drums, cowbells and cameras and are cheering for us! All this in about a quarter mile and since we haven't introduced our families yet, they don't even know they are so close to each other! At the end of this long drawn out hill (aka my worst nightmare since I like them steep and short) there's a bridge and a turn around. Just before the turn around I notice the 4-hour pace group leader passes us. The hill has slowly worn me down and with only around 6 miles to go I feel my hopes of a sub-4 hour marathon slipping away. I see the red sign with black letters "4:00:00" bobbing up and down and slowly running away from me and there's nothing I can do about it. Not even on the next mile, which is mostly downhill, can I regain my composure and catch up. It's now that, for the first time, we walk through an aid station. I slam two cups Cytomax. Jenny points out that soon we'll be coming upon our parents again and I say, "well, I guess we should probably run past our parents," and she laughs. This time around all of our "parental units" are on the correct side of the road. My cousin, Bob, sprays us with a water cannon. It feels great! Jenny's mother, Sally, has made friends with a squad of cheerleaders (probably high school cheerleaders) and they are chanting a cheer with Jenny and my names in it. Her mother is so excited for us and her father is taking pictures!At mile 21 we emerge out of the Battery Street Tunnel and I'm in a ton of pain. The camber of the road is steep as it is a curve and every step I take is rocked with pain in my ankles. I slow to almost a walk and Jenny turns around to see what's wrong. I look up at her and almost start to cry. "You know what the best part of this moment right here is," I ask rhetorically. "I can see the finish line," I cry out. Off in the distance 3 or 4 miles away we can clearly see Quest Field. For a minute I forget the course map and the fact that we have to run a mile past the field and then back before exiting the Alaskan Way Viaduct down to the finish line.If you haven't already run 21 miles this would probably be the most scenic part of the marathon. Imagine being up high on an overpass highway with a clear view of the Pugent Sound to your right with the Olympic Mountains dominating the horizon and to the left dozens of high rise buildings making up downtown Seattle. It's an amazing sight to behold even when you're driving it in a car, but at this point it becomes less and less enjoyable. The road is concrete. The hard kind of concrete with visible rocks in it. Most of the course is concrete, NOT asphalt, and neither Jenny nor I anticipated this factor. Jenny always says she doesn't want to run NYC Marathon because it's mostly concrete. I told her after Seattle that she might as well of run NYC. The visible rocks within the concrete start playing mind games with me and I imagine feeling the individual grooves between rocks through my Brooks Adrenaline shoes and directly upon the balls of my feet! I can honestly say I enjoyed ALL of the marathon except these last 2-3 miles. There are bands playing along the way, but very few spectators have made their way atop the viaduct. At mile 24 I'm feeling completely defeated and stop to walk through an aid station. If there's a "wall" for me this is it. My brain is telling my feet to take run step in front of the other, but my feet will not listen and continue to walk. At mile 25 we see a girl laying on the side of the road getting medical attention. She does NOT look good and I tell myself to shape up, it could be a lot worse. Jenny motivates me to start running again each time I stop. We pick a random object ahead and decide we'll run once we get to it until we have to walk again. It's slow going and the last 2.2 miles takes me nearly 28 minutes. That's more than 10 minutes longer than my intended pace that we held for so many miles. Around mile 25.5 I hear a girl behind me ask, "Tallguysurfing, is that you?" I spin around and instantly start running to keep up with these two strangers as they run past. "Yes," I respond and instantly recognize that it's Marlene from Mission to a(nother) Marathon and she's running with Tall Mom on the Run.I couldn't believe it! I knew they were also running this race, but never thought I'd literally run into them, or them run into me during the race. Just like at Disney when I ran into long lost high school friends during the race, here are two bloggers that have recognized me. Marlene looks at Jenny and says, "you must be Jenny" and for a second I can see Jenny is a little shocked until she remembers that I write about her so much. Marlene and Mel are looking strong... a lot stronger than myself and they continue on ahead as I am voiced to walk again despite my brain's constant orders to feet to run!Near mile 26 we exit the Viaduct and I again almost cry as the finish line is so near you can feel it. Hundreds of people line the last 285 yards and I hear Jeanie yelling my name from within the crowd. Jenny and I cross the finish line running. My official chip time is 4:18:00 and like a true Southern gentleman I let the lady go first with her official chip time clocking in at 4:17:59.

Here's the race stats and break down:

Full Marathon: 4,094 Finishers (2,068 Men)
Male Winner: Jynocel Basweti - 2:18:19
Female Winner: Sopagna Eap - 2:43:05

My Splits

Chip Time start: 7:11:52
5K mark: 27:54
10k mark: 56:05
9-mile mark: 1:21:31
Half: 2:00:32
30k mark: 2:53:26
24-Mile mark: 3:50:33
Finish: 4:18:00

Overall Finish: 1,499th

Gender Place: 996th

Division Place: 168th of 343

By comparison the Half Marathon boasted 17,608 finisher (5036 male/12,572 female).

Post Race
We grab whatever food we come across. My sweat quickly turns to goosebumps as the shivers set in. We sit down within the "chute" to collect ourselves before meeting up with our families. I'm spent. I can officially say that I left everything out there on the course. I didn't bust 4 hours, but I accomplished every other goal I set out for, all of which take higher priority over time. A few minutes later we reunited with our families at letter "J" and introduced them for the first time. The rock band Tonic was set to take the stage in about an hour, but at this point I could care less. We managed to go get our free beers. I can say that MGD 64 has never tasted so good! Then we made our way back to the cars to warm up and head back to the hotels to recover. Overall it was an amazing experience and I'm pleased to say this will not be the last marathon for Tallguysurfing!
I'll post some pictures from the race in my next post. Stay tuned! And once again thank you to everyone that contributed to our efforts to raise money for American Heart Association!