Still standing, after 27 miles!

Still standing and smiling, after 27 miles!

I was 53 years old and had given up on running a marathon. It just seemed too far. But never say never! My mind is opening up. I notice people dying, some rather quickly. I want to live! I have to open my mind to help my life blossom. I hope it keeps opening! I am very grateful for the fun, adventurous, open, friendly, willing, funny, helpful and creative people who inspire me!

Preparing to run our first marathon, Coeur d’Alene 2013, Annie and I were just a little more particular.  Pick out the right gear.  Don’t forget anything.  Eat and drink well to start with a full tank.  Adjust the socks and laces just right.  Mistakes we get away with on shorter runs could really cost us on long runs. I must have been a bit too hyped, as I found my watch in the garbage, just in time.

We exited the porta-potties with three minutes to spare.  The race started several minutes late, so we timed it right. No time to get cold and not late for the start.  We went to the back of the pack, so we could pass some people.  We started strong, cruising through early miles like they were chocolate cake.  Thank God for tapers!

We finished the first half on target, feeling strong and ready. Eventually, like any long-ass run, our legs tired. Our feet hurt. Annie’s toe blistered. Gel was not as available as they said it would be. The flavors were lousy. The asphalt trail was WAY too cambered. We found some relief on dirt trails next to it. Annie hit THE WALL. Hard! The miles beyond twenty, where we’d never been before, were tough. One was extremely slow and others were pretty slow. With 3.2 miles to go, we rediscovered motivation. We’d have to pick up our pace to break five hours. It seemed illogical to me. Nearly 4.5 hours in, with heavy legs and sore joints, we’re trying to speed up? We returned to belief that it could be done and ran a decent mile 24. Mile 25 was for Annie, who gave me so much support in becoming a marathon man. We powered through it faster than any mile since the first half. Mile 26 was for me. We ran it on autopilot, pulling reserves from deep in our hearts. Faster yet! Glancing at watches, we wanted to be sure to beat five hours, so we went even faster. The segment after the mile 26 marker was more like .35 miles, so we were literally sprinting at the end, side by side, dashing to the finish! It was a storybook ending, with a splash of speed I never would have imagined after so many miles. Perhaps we had more left in our tanks than our minds could muster for several miles. But we finished with great courage and strength, emblazoning our memories with a wonderful story. I’m a marathon man now. Annie’s a marathon woman. No one will ever take that away from us. It feels good!

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon Annie! What will she think of next?

Marathon man!  What to do next?

Marathon man! These ARE the good old days!

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