So I'm Hard Headed...
I am stubborn, but not crazy. I guess that depends on how you use the word "crazy".
The Houston Marathon was supposed to be my "fast" race. the one I was committing to and actually training for until I came up lame right after Christmas. I thought it was a shin splint, but the more I tried to run/heal it, the more I thought it was worse, maybe a stress fracture. I went to the doctor Thursday and got a bone scan but those results didn't come back till after the race.
Houston is a fast race, the course is flat, the weather usually good and that was definitely the case this year. I limped around at packet pickup and the expo before going home with my parents to watch the Saints (WHO DAT!), ice down, eat dinner and go to bed.
I woke up race day feeling pretty good, my parents dropped me off at the convention center. this a big race. 30,000 runners so I was a little in awe. The plan was to try and hang with the 3:40 pace group. I was excited about the group because I guy named Whit Rambach (ultra running superstar) was supposed to be leading it. I found out he got injured and wasn't running, ironic I guess. I can't say I felt good at the beginning, but I didn't feel terrible and I was optimistic that I could hang. At the two mile mark I was hanging tough but starting to feel it. I surged ahead to see if perhaps I could put the pain behind me but that didn't work. I hung on for about a half mile longer before I pulled to the side. Keep in mind there were 30,000 runners, so I was now the guy who is in everybody's way.
"Just Work it Out"
Now I may be guilty of this in the past, but I grew to really hate the "work it out" runners. I appreciate the encouragement to fight through the cramps and I would have loved to have been able to do this. I felt like I needed to write on the back of my shirt, "It Is Not A Cramp!" I encountered quite a few annoying runners, but more on that later.
Finding a Slower Groove
I knew going in that a 13:44 pace would get me to the finish in 6 hours so now the challenge was to find a pace I could somewhat maintain. My thought was 12 minute miles was doable and that is what I told my Mom and Dad when I saw them at mile seven. I ended up running between 10-11 minute miles for the majority of the race.
50 in 50
No I did not run into Dean Karnazes during the race. I did run into a guy who had run a marathon in all 50 states. His back was acting up pretty badly so we were on about the same pace. We had a brief little pity party and actually ran together for awhile. I think it was nice for us both to have someone else there that was going through the same thing. I saw him for the final time at about mile 23 where he motivated me enough to get me to the end.
Hold On, Let Me Take This
Did you know people actually talk on their cell phones during marathons? They do and some of these people probably finished ahead of me, now that is depressing. Among other annoying marathon people are the "you're almost there," guy at mile 17, same guy again at 20. The "you can make it," woman both as a runner and spectator. Oh and do the "looking good" people think they are fooling anybody? Nobody is looking good after 4 hours on the course, except maybe "cell phone lady". In all seriousness, the crowd support was really good at this race. Very few stretches without people so kudos to the people of Houston.
The Worst I've Ever Felt
This is a tough call because I felt like death for the last 3 miles of Stump Jump. But at Stump Jump it was a total body death so it was absorbed all over. In this race the last 10 miles were excruciating. Like there was a dagger in my leg and every step drove it deeper. Some wonderful people offered me some pain medicine at mile 18. While this did help 30 minutes later, getting started again after taking the pills was a challenge.
Doing The Math
I suck at math. I'm was trying to figure out if I could finish under 5 hours, which I was going to consider a huge success. I was struggling, physically, mentally, and with my ability to carry the 1. That is when I saw the 50 states guy for the last time. He pats me on the back as he run up along side me. I told him I was trying to figure out if I could get under 5 hours and he either lied or knew. He told me just run 12's and you got it. So I ran, or hobbled, maybe a shuffle by now. I sure did wear the bottom off my shoes! I saw my parents again at the mile 25 water stop. I probably complained about something, I don't remember. I do remember telling my Dad that I was at least going to finish under 5 hours. He replied, "You better hurry then!" I knew I had plenty of cushion but either way I finished strongish. I got passed by 2 girls wearing yellow frilly skirts, like they were part of a slutty bee costume for Halloween. Final time 4:55:32.
One major complaint. I could not get any ice to put on my leg after the race. Really?!? The medical tent suggested I go over to the food area. Needless to say I just went without ice.
I knew I would not feel good on Monday, and wow did I hurt. One leg feels like I just ran a marathon on one leg and the other feels like it is broken. 5:30am spin class did not go well. The doctor called me Monday, yes I have a stress fracture in my tibia, that is not a surprise. I was surprised to hear that I have a stress reaction in both my right ankle and knee. Seeing as that was all before the race I can only hope I didn't cause any more major damage. I'm shelved for 4 weeks with an appointment in 3 weeks to have it looked at again. I'll be a spectator for Mountain Mist, and Mercedes is a real big question mark. Looks like it is time to hit the pool.