On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flying Monkey Marathon Race Report

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!


  1. Ugh - what a miserable race! But, as you said, YOU WON!!!

    I couldn't run my goal marathon last May then it ended up being rainy and windy (and I wasn't as upset I couldn't run it). You are a rockstart for finishing this one!

  2. Good for you for sticking it out! (And here I was feeling like a rock star for 6 measly MILES in the rain... you did SIX HOURS!!!)

    Hope you're warmed up now! :)

  3. Six hours is a long time to be miserable on a run. That's a stoic "gut through" on your part.

    I find that such misery sure makes dinner taste better afterward and I hope that was the case.

  4. Official results ARE DEFINITELY OFFICIAL. Congratulations! I missed you not blogging for all of that time :( What was the winning dinner?

  5. You did better than I did. I bailed on the whole thing...when my kid had to have a big surgery on her foot, and I had to absorb the cost, I couldn't afford to go. And then I quit training.

    3 races in a month?? Rock. Star.

  6. LOL...A win is a win!