Monday, December 7, 2009

The Good Sean of the North's Las Vegas Marathon write-up is more interesting and informative. Here, there's merely this humble offering.

At Mile 17 I was feeling like Wayne Newton with a full house, and my sister caught this great action shot of me, high-fiving my brother-in-law:

Marathons. What more can be said about them? Well, a lot, actually, but it all sounds redundant to a non-runner. Okay, it is redundant. I admit it. Put a few passionate folks together and they all end up talking about the same esoteric stuff. After every race, the story is the same: how you felt after this mile, how you felt at the finish, what strategy worked, what strategy didn't, oddly-dressed participants, and the chafing of intimate body parts. Not a runner? Then I doubt any of it will hold your interest... but we had a great time!

How? the non-runner asks, incredulously. There's no good answer. It's all a big joke, and you had to be there. And trust us: it was painful, miserable, cold, and we're still feeling the effects of it. You don't want to have been there... but it was awesome!

If you're interested, I got a PR (personal record) of 3:26:29, which I feel great about, since my previous best was 3:46 at the OC marathon earlier this year. And that elusive Boston qualifying time is just over the horizon now, six short minutes away. I saw the 3:20 pace-setter about a half a mile ahead of me at around 19 and thought, Can I catch him? and at 24 I knew the answer with clear and reasonable certitude: No. Maybe next time.

The race itself may have contributed a few slowing factors: 36 degree start time with cold and dry temps all morning, and a 2000 foot elevation, where I'm accustomed to a warm, pleasant, oxygen-rich, sea-level atmosphere. But the truth is I got what I trained for. Ideal conditions would have improved my time by maybe a minute or two, and only prolonged, tempered self-discipline can wipe all that out. Excuses.

I have an unusual condition today, however. It's some sort of exercise-induced asthma brought on by running hard in the cold, dry air. Or perhaps it is my genetic predisposition to asthma (my mom, my uncle, and recently my sister, have it). Or perhaps it was the pre-race Tylenol I took, messing with my lungs in that stinging, cold air. Anyway, I'm finding it a bit difficult to take a deep breath today, (a new marathon symptom for me) but a night back in Oceanside and I'm sure I'll be fine. The same old post-race aches and pains are there, as well as some back pain from tensing up with the cold. It doesn't matter if you run 3:26 or 3:46 or 4:46. It's still far, and it still hurts.

It was a terrific race! Elvis beat me by a few minutes, but I also beat a few hundred of him.