the closest man will ever get to flying

I understand that this is basically old news to anyone who knows me but a couple months ago (April 26th to be precise) I ran my first marathon.  The reason I am posting this now is because I wanted to document some of the event/training specifics before I forget them or loose them forever.

This whole thing basically started almost a year earlier when a good friend of mine , Jack,  and I were discussing what it was like to accomplish such a feet.  Jack has run a dozen or so marathons and 1 ultra-marathon.  I told him I could never make a 26.2 mile run, which seemed like a reasonable expectation considering my admittedly slightly inebriated state.  Jack assured me that I could do it (assuming I completed the necessary training) which, evidently, seemed a simple task, considering his less slightly inebriated state.  Jack then offered me a carrot.  He told me that if I ever attempted a marathon (after completing the necessary training) he would run it with me.  Thankfully his wife remembered making this promise because Jack’s above mentioned intoxication kept him from remembering said agreement.

You can read here, here, and here for updates on each stage of my training.  Basically I had to start from walking.

After training for the Tulsa half-marathon I immediately started planning for a full marathon.  I went looking for a half-to-full training plan.  It was harder to find that I expected mostly because I wanted one that only had me running 4 days a week, which was the upper limit of time that I could dedicate to it.  Here is my 5 month training schedule.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 4 Miles 4 Miles 4 Miles 6 Miles
Week 2 4 Miles 4 Miles 4 Miles 8 Miles
Week 3 4 Miles 4 Miles 4 Miles 6 Miles
Week 4 4 Miles 4 Miles 4 Miles 10 Miles
Week 5 4 Miles 4 Miles 4 Miles 8 Miles
Week 6 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 12 Miles
Week 7 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 8 Miles
Week 8 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 14 Miles
Week 9 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 8 Miles
Week 10 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 16 Miles
Week 11 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 9 Miles
Week 12 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 10 Miles
Week 13 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 18 Miles
Week 14 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 10 Miles
Week 15 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 20 Miles
Week 16 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 11 Miles
Week 17 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 22 Miles
Week 18 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 12 Miles
Week 19 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 12 Miles
Week 20 4 Miles 5 Miles 4 Miles 24 Miles
Week 21 2 Miles 2 Miles 2 Miles 5 Miles
Week 22 2 Miles 2 Miles Walk 2 Miles Marathon

The marathon I chose was the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon here in Oklahoma. The OKC Memorial Marathon is generally picked as one of the better marathons in the country and it certainly lived up to my expectations. Everything seemed to go smoothly (minus maybe the pasta diner, but those always seem a little “school cafeteria” like.) Jack came as promised, along with his family, and the result made the whole weekend feel like a party (again with mild intoxication.)

My daughter decided earlier in the year to run the kids marathon (25 miles of training in the months before the marathon and the last 1.2 the day of.)  So Jack’s wife ran with my daughter (and her newborn baby) on the kids 1.2 miler.  They gave the kids mini-medals just like the adult marathon and even had them finish at the same finish line (not particularly common for kids-marathons.)  Emily ate her body weight in finish line hamburgers and cookies.

There were a couple surprises for me.  First, I have almost no recollection of running the first 8 miles.  They were so exciting, so overwhelming, so enthusiastic that I was amazed when I saw the 8 mile marker.   Second, although I thought I had prepared for the wind… there was NO WAY to be ready for what happened.  We ran with our backs to the wind for the first 13 miles  or so (I had a 9 minute mile at that point) but when we headed into the second half we hit 40 mph winds coming off of Lake Hefner.  It was like that the entire way back.

OKC Memorial Marathon Finish

I started cramping up at the last quarter mile (as the course finished on a down-hill.)  Jack and I speed-up to finish and I can honestly say with all the excitement that I felt no pain.  It had been hours since they had run the kids marathon and I didn’t really hold out any hope that I would see anyone I knew but I was pleasantly surprised.  Jack’s wife, his newborn son, and my daughter were about 100 feet from the finish line.  I saw her and started getting tears in my eyes.  If you look at the picture above… that look I had wasn’t pain.  My daughter ran along the sidewalk, slipped past the rail barriers, and through her arms around me after I finished. Her first word were, “I am so proud of you daddy.”  My emotions poured out as I hugged her.  It was one of the best moments of my life.

Jack and I crossed the finish line side-by-side.  We finished in just under 5 hours.  It is almost impossible to go through an experience like this  not be changed by it and, I am sure that it goes without saying, that Jack is like a brother to me now.  Whatever else happens to me I will now be able to call myself a marathoner.