It doesn’t seem quite fair to leave off with a post leading up to Grandma’s Marathon and then drop it. While I doubt anyone is losing sleep over how I fared in the race, I somehow feel better at least finishing the tale I started. So here it is.
Bottom line: My 10th Grandma’s Marathon is in the bag. I legitimately claimed my Finisher’s t-shirt and the incredibly heavy medal they hung around my tired neck. I spent the afternoon relishing that “good tired” feeling and the knowledge that I had done it – and I was done.The race played out much as I might have predicted. It was a cloudy 63 degrees at the start, comfortable for running given a slight breeze to stir the air. The normally welcome sight of the sun was not a good omen. It quickly sent the temperature into the 70s adding heat to the challenge of the race. But in comparison to last year’s black-flag conditions, it was very manageable.
I felt good for the first 18 miles. My pace was in the low to mid 9 minute range, which I knew was well below what I should be doing. But as long as I was comfortable I kept it up. I can’t resist the urge to bank a minute or two per mile in the beginning. I began to slow after that, and by mile 21 (coincidentally the max for my three longest training runs) it became a struggle. It’s at that point in most marathons where I feel like I am moving in slow motion. My body is barely moving forward. My legs are like lead. But I persist.
I had a great cheering section to spur me on. Rich and son Erik were on bikes leapfrogging from point to point along the route. Erik rode all the way to the end, catching me circling the DECC and riding along shouting encouragement as I turned the corner for the final stretch to the finish. Rich was there at the end to video me crossing the finish line. Never discount the value of family support!
I finished in 4:17:15. I count it as a victory in many ways – I beat last year’s time, I averaged 9:50 minute miles, and it’s a Boston Qualifier (being old is a huge benefit). But mainly because I felt good about doing it. This makes 18 marathons overall. Somehow I just know there are more in me. I’m not finished yet.