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Hurts So Good

Randalls&BowmansWE DID IT!

Yesterday, my wife and I both ran our first 1/2 marathon – The Nationwide Better Health Columbus 1/2 Marathon.  We were joined the whole way by our friends Dana & Patty Randall,  Columbus natives and also neophytes to the 13.1 mile journey.  The day could not have been more perfect.  Today I simply ache from a physical standpoint.  My feet throb, my muscles are sore, and my aging knees crackle with each and every step.  “Oh the sweet pain of lactic acid fermentation, how I have missed you.”  Every twinge makes me wince a little and smile a lot.   I know that in another day or two, physically I will be back to my old self.  Mentally on the other hand, I am riding a new high.  One that comes from accomplishing a goal.

It was just this spring that my wife and I began jogging.  I started with a walk / run program, and she just hit the sidewalks running.  We did not even run our first (and only to date) 5k race until the middle of the summer.  That day in July, we were mostly surrounded by highly skilled cross country runners from UD and area high schools – all of whom ran circles around us old folks.  It was great to run the race, but a little daunting to do it with so many fast, young, energetic people.  Still, shortly after that day, we decided that next up would be running a 1/2 marathon – Columbus fit the bill.

Well shortly thereafter, we roped in Dana & Patty, and it was all set.  We would run the Columbus 1/2 marathon together.  With plans in place, it then became about getting prepared for race day with run after run of training.  Things did not go exactly as planned, as I dealt with muscle pulls (running away from bees in fear), bad weather,  and other unexpected interruptions that could have easily provided us with excuses to quit.  Happily, we all forged on, and by race day everyone was ready.

The race itself was great.  It was in the high 30’s when we started at 7:30am, and it only took a few minutes to get acclimated to the temperature.  The 4 of us kept a nice steady pace of about 11:00 minutes per mile the whole way.  Nope, we did not break any speed records, but that was not the point. As they say at Nike, our motto was “just do it.”  Columbus is a great city, and we got to see some beautiful neighborhoods – Bexley, German Village, Brewery District and some others.  All along the way we were greeted by bands, race volunteers, and friendly folks who encouraged us to keep on going.  We even said hello to Governor Ted Strickland, who was out on his back lawn waving and shouting words of encouragement to passing runners.  Thanks to all who helped keep us moving ahead.

At the end of 2 hours and 25 minutes, we completed our journey north on high street, turned left, and crossed the finish line – physically spent and emotionally exuberant.   We immediately proceeded to devour the free bananas, bagels, doughnuts, chips, and rice krispy treats that they had waiting for us on the other side of the line.  Not since 2:30am in college has food tasted so good. We exchanged hugs with family members who came to support us, smiled for pictures, hobbled back to the car, and made a bee line for Bob Evans, where I made quick work of a stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, and coffee.  So much for getting healthy…

After our feast, we came home and collapsed.  Colleen and I had been up since 4:00am, driven to Columbus and back, run 13.1 miles, and completed a goal that not long ago seemed completely crazy.  Thanks to Colleen’s sister for watching the kids, thus allowing us to get some much needed recovery time.  The kids came home in the evening and thankfully gave us hugs and kisses and went right to bed.

That brings me to today.  My body aches, but I can say “I did it!’  The ability to say those words far outweighs any temporary pain I am enduring today.   Already, I am starting to plan what is next on the list.  Not sure if I am going to do the 26.2 next year or if I am going to try to do another 1/2 marathon and increase the pace a little.  With winter approaching here in the Buckeye state, it will be a little while either way.

To all who offered encouragement, Thanks!  Especially, thanks to my wife Colleen, who motivates me to be a better man each and every day.  It is great to know I ran a 13.1 miles, but the experience of doing it together will stay with me forever.