The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Avenue of the Giants Marathon, 5-3-09

I was so afraid of not waking up on time that I set 3 alarms in my Treo. I had no problem getting up with the first.

04:48 Good morning! #

04:48 *yawn* #

05:14 Just finished oatmeal w/scoop of whey protein, and a banana. 5:13am, not too much more time... #

05:37 Just checked the weather, it shows 54 degrees & cloudy. Tempted to not wear head to foot clothing, but know better. #

I loaded up with Cytomax, Accel Gel, my Flip Cam, and cell phone to tweet along the way, and headed on out.

06:13 Alright, enough of this. Off to get first place! Sub 2 hours here I come! #

07:08 Just arrived at the starting line, less than an hour until the gun! #

07:27 Bib #117 for those interested. #

07:39 Test from MoTwit... #

08:01 Starting soon... #

Shortly after 8am, the gun went off, and so began my first marathon! The first mile, while slow, wasn't too bad. A quarter-mile in, a guy passed me on the left, running what seemed to be twice my pace. He shouted, "Praise be to God!" This race was getting off to a great start.

I found out later the first mile is relatively flat, and the hills don't start until Mile 2. Still, I felt pretty darn good, all things considered. At Mile 4 I pulled out my cell phone and called TwitterFone.

08:47 Mile 4, it's all uphill. #

45 minutes later, I heard my phone go off, telling me I had a text message. It was from @alitherunner on Twitter! I was able to read the first part, but not the last part, so I responded:

09:23 Allie the (?) runner. Mile 7 and I could not read your message but thanks. #

By the halfway point, my legs were getting pretty sore because of all the hills. I'd slowed down quite a bit, down to about 12 minutes per mile, but still felt I could finish in 4:40. Or so.

10:24 Halfway there. Looking at 440. #

After another half hour, I was at an aid station and decided to actually type a text message instead of calling TwitterFone.

11:01 Time for a real tweet: 2:55:07, 15.65 miles. Slowwwww finish but gettin 'er done. #

11:02 Back hurts a tad, now back to running. #

At this point, things had pretty much fallen completely apart. I was probably doing more walking than running, but was still making progress. Then it happened: this old guy, in his 70s, passed me. Speedwalking. Coming the opposite direction.

12:09 Well this sucks. Old speedwalker-dude just passed me... coming the opposite direction. 4:04.05, 19.14 miles. #

Needless to say, it was a blow to my self esteem. Wasn't I supposed to be running? Wasn't I supposed to be finishing in under 4 hours? Yeah right. I started thinking of my pastor, Rob, who told me that I was crazy to even attempt finishing under 4, and that averaging 12 minutes per mile would be an accomplishment.

I wasn't even making that.

13:43 Breaking a new world record: slowest marathon in the world. 5:38.44, 24 miles. But I'm finishing, by God! #

I decided not to worry about it anymore. When I got to Weott, I called my sister, who was waiting for me at the finish, to tell her it'd be another half an hour before I finished. She said that she had her son and my son with her, and they kept asking where is he? Where is he?

Finally, I crossed the Dyerville Bridge for the finish. As I headed over the peak, Gregory & Christopher, and in the last 40 yards, I sprinted to "race" them across the finish line.

14:41 Everyone: I'm alive. It took me about 6 1/2 hours, but I finished. #

14:42 I'll be uploading a pic to Flickr in a second, but wanted to tell everyone. It all fell apart around mile 11 (!). #

My official time was 6:21:32. I was so slow, the photographer had abandoned the scene and I ended up having some random guy take a picture of me at the finish.

I ate 5 packets of Accel Gel, and in the last mile, I found an unused Vanilla-flavored Gu, so bonus! I used 2 packets of Cytomax each mixed with 12 ounces of water, in addition to the 72 ounces or so I drank spread across the aid stations along the way. I burned about 3200 calories, and when I crossed the finish, I was famished!

The splits obviously tell the story. You can tell where the GPS lost signal below the trees, the 305 thought I ran 28 miles. The hills? Here's an elevation profile.

Finally, here's a map of the route.

Upon finishing, I bought a burrito from the roach coach, which I promptly lost and didn't get to eat. When we got back to the motel, I ate a huge burger at the adjacent restaraunt, along with a giant brownie smothered in fudge sauce. I don't regret that meal in the least bit.

I do wonder what my time would be on flat ground, without injury in the middle of training, and without the stresses involved with the weekend. Regardless, it was an experience I'll never forget. Will I run another marathon? Almost certainly. Which one? I'm sure I'll let you know when I find it.

Stay tuned for video...

No comments: