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Fool me once . . .  shame on you.

Fool me twice . . .  shame on me.

I ran my second marathon today in Pittsburgh.  If you have never been to Pittsburgh, let me sum it up for you in one word:  HILLS.

There’s a Hill District.  There are the North Hills.  There are the South Hills.  Here a hill, there a hill, everywhere a hill hill.

I know it’s not possible to start at one elevation and end at the same elevation without equal amounts of going up and going down.

But I went up hill a lot more today than I went down.  I broke the laws of physics.  I don’t know how.  But I did.

Why did I run a second marathon?

Runners

The origin of the modern marathon is rooted in ancient Greek history.

In a nod to Greek history, the first marathon commemorated the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.

Apparently stupidity “ran” rampant even in 490 B.C.  (See what I did there?)  And history apparently repeats itself.  I ran a second marathon.  Shame on me.

What is often forgotten in that historic legend is this:

Pheidippides ran the approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians. Not quite in mid-season shape, he delivered the message “Niki!” (Victory!) then keeled over and died.

He DIED!  I obviously trained better than he did, as I have survived.  Barely.  I am walking with a limp.  I’ve been having some Achilles tendon problems (another Greek myth/legend!  Damn those Greeks!  Damn them all to Hades!)  And like any obsessed devoted runner I more or less ignored it.  Most days the discomfort went away after 1-2 miles.  I didn’t rest, ice, compress or elevate.  I ran through the pain.  I loosened it up!

It does not feel loosened up after 26.2 miles. What the Frick in Pittsburgh was I thinking?!

My heel is angry with me.  It is punishing me.  I would kick it if I could but it hurts too much to do that.

Notes from the race:

Despite the pain, I finished in 4:17:59.  Good for 52nd place in the 50-54 division.  For what it’s worth, I ran in the Asics Gel Nimbus 19 today.  I ran in the Brooks Ghost 9 in Philadelphia.  Think I preferred the Brooks, but the data may be complicated by my Achilles issue.

There was a threat of rain but it never rained.  With an average temperature of 55 degrees and no burning sun, it was actually a great day to run.

With the threat of rain, however, I thought the crowd turn out was a little less than in recent years.  I didn’t actually count them, but it seemed like there were fewer people cheering me on.  The energy level just seemed more subdued.  Maybe I was distracted by my pain.

No really memorable signs along the way.  May the Course be with you.  Liked that.  The “If Donald Trump can run so can you” signs were out in full force.  It was funny.  Give it a rest.  Maybe you should tweak it . . . “If Donald Trump can WIN, so can you!”  Also, the “This is the worst parade ever!” and “Did you think they said RUM?” signs are a little passe.  One lady who I kept passing for some reason on and off–one of us was time warping–had a shirt that read “Have you hugged your lawyer today?”  I have not.

I’m not saying I will never run another marathon, but I may need to be senile to do that.

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You would think that with those long legs I would win every race!

Shadow

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I finally did it.

I ran a marathon.

PhillyMedal2017.jpg

Apparently, I am officially insane.

Yesterday, I ran my first marathon in Philadelphia.  For those of you who may not be runners, that is 26.2 miles.  That happens to be just about 16.2 miles too much if you ask me.

RockyStatueRun

I ran faster than this statue!

Some people question  my sanity when I run everyday, in any kind of weather–rain, sleet, snow, sub zero wind chills, etc.  After mile 18, I was questioning my own sanity.

At the half way point, I felt more tired than I usually did after a half-marathon.  I have run two half marathons a year for the past four years.

By mile 18, I was thinking I might not be able to finish.  I have never hit a wall before.  I have hit a few cars, a tree, a light post . . . but never a wall.  For the shorter races, I almost never stop to get a drink.  I can run 13 miles without water.  I’m like a damned camel without the humps.

But everything I’ve read about running a marathon stresses the importance of fueling and hydration.  So at about mile 6, I started regularly hitting the gatorade/water stops.  And this usually meant at least a stop, if not a walking pace, because I am not one of those people who can run and drink at the same time–not without wearing most of the gatorade and choking.  I can barely type and chew gum at the same time.

After mile 18, it became noticeably harder to restart running and regain the previous pace after stopping for gatorade.  I started skipping water stations just so I wouldn’t have to restart again.

tinderdate2017M

What do you mean no RUM????

Around mile 20 there was a group offering cups of beer.  I am all over that.  I would have come to a complete stop for a beer at this point.  Had they had some bar stools there, I might not have finished the race.

I started grabbing half bananas and oranges that people offered along the route.  I kept looking for donuts or Reese’s Cups, but apparently those items are frowned upon by the racing establishment.

The route of the marathon travels up along the river, does a U-turn in Manayunk, and then heads back down the river to the finish line near the Art Museum.

The U-turn brought me back to the group serving beer,  Hallelujah!  One of my prayers was answered!  I paused to gulp down a second cup.   I was praying an awful lot after mile 20.  A mile later I was regretting not taking a six pack to go.

And then an interesting thing happened.

cutebutt2017M

Not that.  But rather, I found after mile 22 it was starting to get a little easier.  I still felt like crap.  Every muscle in my legs hurt.  But I actually felt a little better overall, and I slowly realized that I just might be able to do this after all.  It had to be the beer!

I crossed the finish line after 4 hours, ten minutes and 54 seconds (a 9:34 pace.)  After the race, I slowly–painfully–made my way back to the hotel.  Just stepping up a curb was a painful ordeal.  When I got back to the hotel room, I accidentally dropped one of my gloves on the floor.  I bent over to pick it up . . .

Who lowered this floor???!!!

OMG.  Running had shortened my arms!  I couldn’t reach the glove.  My back was stiff, my glutes were in pain, and my hamstrings acted like they had looked upon the head of Medusa and turned to stone.  I did manage to pick up the glove, but resolved that anything else I dropped would have to be left behind.

After a long shower, I could hardly put my socks on.

Why do we runners do this to ourselves?

I’m going to stick with the insanity defense for now.

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I came across this advertisement on Facebook . . .

RunOver45
Seriously?  Are we supposed to think that runner is over 45?  I’m wondering if she’s even over 25!

And by the way, I am over 45, and I can run faster than a nine minute mile (especially if I am following her!)

I guess I should get the rate I deserve on life insurance!

And if you are over 45, you should probably ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough to have running.

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Today I competed in my second Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

PM2016Logo

By “competed,” I mean I tried to 1) finish, 2) without injury or embarrassment, and 3) with a better time than last year.  I managed the trifecta!

With an official time of 1:49:05 (pace=8:19) I came in 1305th place overall, and 51st in my age group (50-54.)  51 years old and I came in 51st.  Kinda cool.  This outpaced last years race with an overall time of 1:50:46 (pace = 8:26) and an overall place of 1802 which put me 72nd in my age group.

I’m not sure how many half marathon runners there were, but let’s just say there were a lot.  I lost count, oh, about 10 yards into the race.  (According to the website, there were 14,127 in the half marathon and 3,681 places in the marathon.)

The weather started out iffy, and it drizzled/rained for the first couple of miles.

RunningRain

IF IT RAINS, YOU RUN.  IF IT THUNDERS, YOU RUN FASTER.

It was actually a little refreshing, but it became a little humid after the rain stopped.   At the last minute,  I switched from a T-shirt to a long sleeved shirt.  Mistake.  Should have trusted my weather.com temperature predictions!  Instead, I looked out the window of my hotel and saw a lot of people wearing long sleeved shirts and light windbreakers.  Psyched myself out.  It’s kind of like reviewing your answers on a test and changing a correct one at the last moment because of second guessing.  Oh well.

I seemed to be the most popular runner.  I kept hearing, over and over again, “GO TODD!”  Now, I did have an ear bud playing music in one ear, and there was a lot of background race noise, so it is slightly possible that these folks were yelling “GOOD JOB!”, but I think they were cheering me on.

One sign read:  “IF TRUMP CAN RUN, SO CAN YOU!”  Thought that was pretty funny right there.

TrumpRun

Not from this race . . . . too much SUN!

Another one said “SHORTCUT” with an arrow pointing away from the main course.  I thought about it, but it seemed a little questionable, especially since the arrow looked like it pointed to a parking lot.  Maybe they offered a shuttle service to the finish line?  Had it pointed to a bar offering free beer, I’d have gone for it.

And, as I passed a group of young women sporting Nittany Lion logos on the back of their tank tops, I said “GO PENN STATE!” as I passed them.  A guy running next to me then yelled, “Penn State!  Let’s hear it.”  So someone else started yelling “WE ARE!”  and a chorus of “PENN STATE!” ensued.  After three cheers, the cheerleader yelled “THANK YOU!” and we all politely responded, “YOU’RE WELCOME!”

Never had that happen in a race before.

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One of the joys of running is that you get to see a lot of interesting things.

Take the neighborhood I run through each day.

There is a home owner who has taken it upon him or herself to establish parking codes for the development.

NoParking

I’m not sure this is legal, or even enforceable.  I’m sure there must be some story behind this (the guy I run with says it involves a neighbor who was having some work done on his home and construction vehicles being parked in front of this particular house.)  Regardless, the sign screams to me:  THANK GOD YOU DON’T LIVE HERE!  Seriously, who would want to deal with this every day?!

But I never saw anyone park there.

Until today.

truck

I don’t even know where to begin.

The white tarp that looks like a bedsheet?

My truck isn’t parking . . .  it’s just sleeping!

Maybe they won’t see it if I cover it up.

You’re going to need a bigger tarp, Chief Brody!

Pay no attention to that truck behind the curtain!

I’m not a bad truck . . . just a very poor wizard.

Waving hand . . . This is NOT the truck you’re looking for.

But it gave me a smile on my run today.

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BSR2015

This race combines three of my loves:  1) running, 2) the Paterno family, and 3) Beaver Stadium.  The fact that it benefits Special Olympians is just icing on the cake.

But I need your help.

I’m okay with the running part.  Three miles is a warm up for me.  I don’t even need you to bring me water.  Or bananas.  (Beer and donuts would be great, but I don’t NEED that!)  I don’t need you to stand on the sideline and cheer me on, but you are welcome if you so desire.

No–what I need is your financial support.  I have set a goal to raise $1200.00 for Special Olympics. As of writing this blog, I have raised $745.00.

If you can afford it, and think the Special Olympics is a great cause, then donate in my name at my home page.

I thank you for your support!

Here is a photo of me crossing the finish line last year just to prove I can do it!

BSR2015FinishLine

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