A day late and a dollar short.
Truth be told, I really was not looking forward to this marathon. Sure, it would be a chance to catch up with some friends. But physically? No way, no how. My body was burnt out from my little two weekends, two marathons MCM/NYCM stunt. My legs felt fine, but I haven't felt refreshed since NYCM. I go to bed early and wake up early, exhausted. I'm just TIRED.
The closer it got to the actual marathon date of last Sunday, my excitement seemed to decrease rather than increase. I was especially bummed because I had a bet riding on this race. Last year, my friend Ian had bet me that I would not be the last finisher of the race (because he would be behind me). When he bailed at the last minute, I ran instead with his brother and we renewed our bet for this year. This year, though, the bet was legit: first one to the finish wins. Loser buys the winner dinner after the race.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the weather forecast for the weekend stabilized. Low 60s, wind, and rain. I've never run a marathon in the rain.
Thing is, I entered this race much stronger this year than last. I had every intention of running with Ian (not actually racing it against him), and secretly I hoped that I could coerce him into beating his PR of 5:28. By mile 1 of the race, my goals had changed from "lead Ian to a PR" to "finish this damn thing to get to the post-race party."
|"I'm cold and wet and want this bitch over NOW!"|
This race has a cult following for a reason. It's hard - 7200 feet of elevation change is not for the weak. It's beautiful - fall in Percy Warner Park? Yes, please! And it's friendly - the small size and the devoted fans gives a camaraderie I haven't seen at any other race.
None of that was enough to salvage the race for me. I suffered through nearly 6 hours of cold and rain. I was miserable for almost all of it. By the end I had to cajole myself into continuing using the excuse of beer at the finish. And that was for naught: I had half a beer, realized I was freezing cold, and went back to the hotel to shower. 15 minutes under hot water and three hours under a blanket later, I was barely able to leave the hotel for dinner.
In case you're wondering, I won the race, but by a cheat. The race isn't chip-timed, and although we crossed the start and finish together, I finished three seconds faster. OFFICIAL RESULTS ARE OFFICIAL RESULTS!