Growing up I loved to play "Hide-and-Seek". It was a simple game, one even I could understand. The objective was to hide so that you could not be found. While some friends were tucking themselves into closets or under beds another person was counting out loud with their eyes closed. Most times we declared this person to be "it" and they had to count backwards from 10 to 1 while others tried to blend in with their surroundings. Being from Missouri we always said, "Mississippi" after each number to prevent counting too fast. The excitement amplified when, "Ready or not here I come" was yelled by the person doing the seeking. Soon enough everyone was found safely, and the game was re-played. Even though hide-and-seek can be played by all ages, rarely do us adults take time to enjoy the simple things in life, unfortunately. The Tallahassee Marathon this past weekend rekindled these childhood memories.
Hanging in our kitchen is a wall calender with races, travel schedules, and other life happenings written on the proper dates. The past two weeks it has seemed that every time I grabbed a chunk of cheese to eat or a drink of water I heard, "Ready or not here I come" coming from the calender. The Tallahassee Marathon was fast approaching, and unfortunately I could not find a good place to hide!
I will be the first to admit that I am out of shape. Those in my inner life circle know I have been dealing with a health issue much of the last month which has caused my training to be sub par. Mix with that an injured left arm that I damaged while splitting firewood earlier this past week, then top that off with a right leg issue and I was completely not ready to run a marathon, but throwing caution to the wind I ventured onward.
The first five miles were ran fairly conservatively with a mid 5:40s mile pace. All my vital parts felt fine, unfortunately my arm condition would not improve regardless of pace. Miles 6 through 10 I ran a little faster to close the gap on some athletes ahead of me. By the half way point I was running in 3rd place. I went through the half way marker a whisker below 1:15, which was the pace I thought my left and right leg agreed upon, but apparently my right leg had a change of heart. The left leg wanted to continue at the 5:40 pace and the right leg wanted to run a 6:40 pace. A compromise was needed, 6:10 pace it would have to be. I tried in vain to change my stride pattern to alleviate some of the pain in my right leg. This only created a large blister on my foot.
The last 10 miles was a long slow battle. I still was running in 3rd place, which paid $400 dollars, but I thought 4th and 5th place runners would be passing me before long. There was nothing more I could do. To pass the time and keep my mind off the pain I tried to think of motivating things. Most times I reverted back to thoughts of Miles. He is growing up fast! I wonder if years from now he will appreciate hearing the stories about my running? Am I doing my best possible job to provide for him? "Squish...Squish...Squish" came from my right shoe, abruptly interrupting my thoughts about Miles. One of my larger blisters had popped. Still 6 miles to sludge through.
For moments I laughed, internally of course, at my situation. I must have looked goofy going through water stops. My form was sloppy, my left arm unable to grab the fluids, and I was moving incredibly slow, but still holding on to 3rd place. The irony of the moment did not pass me by. Recently I designed a funny shirt to sell which illustrates the bloody nipples that runners suffer from. The back of the shirt states, "Run 'Til Your Nipples Bleed." Maybe I should have made one that stated, "Run 'Til Your Feet Bleed." The rest of the race was fairly non-eventful. No pace changes, nobody passed me, and I finished in 3rd with a 2:36:01.
Even though my race did not go as expected it was nice to finish 3rd in the Tallahassee Marathon for the 3rd straight year. Speaking of 3, here are my top 3 highlights from the weekend...using the Ms USA competition format.
Second Runner-Up Highlight from this weekend was seeing my friend, John Piggott run a 2:37 marathon at age 46, which is very impressive since he ran a 2:41 marathon last weekend.
First Runner-Up Highlight comes via text from MS Florida 2009, Juli Goldstein. Once our plane landed safely in Tallahassee and I was able to turn my phone back on a text popped up, "Welcome to Florida from MS Florida."
Grand Champion Highlight goes to my wife, Melissa, for running a strong race and getting 2nd place. We actually placed 2nd and 3rd respectively two years ago in Tallahassee. Below is a photo of this years awards, ceramic platters.