I gave blood to the Red Cross, just not in the traditional way…

A pilot will tell you that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. As a runner, I’ll say any marathon finish you can walk away from is a good finish. This particular finish was in the Run For The Red Marathon, a race that benefits the American Red Cross. No records were broken. I was happy to survive.

I will simply focus on some highlights / low-lights:

Highlights:

  • The fellow runners – It was such a rough day weather-wise, which made the runners really supportive of each other.  We were all in it together.
  • Getting to run with TuTu Guy for Miles 16-18! Great guy and tough runner. He helped me delay my bonk.

Tutu Guy: Keith Straw

  • The course itself: Pretty and point-to-point (I like point-to-point) in the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Great volunteers!  They were out there in the heat too.  The volunteers had to deal with carnage and improvising when running low on water/Gatorade at the water stops.
  • Proceeds were for a good cause: the Red Cross
  • Friendly EMT people (more on that coming up)

Low-lights:

  • Faucet-like bloody nose at Miles 4 to 5 – I can’t explain this one (allergies?). Thank you to the EMT who checked me out and gave me the extra gauze for my run!  I was comfortably on Sub 3 hour pace up until this point.  The bloody nose broke my concentration, and temporarily took my head out of the game.  I recovered for a bit, running consistent 7 minute miles until Mile 11. Then, the weather began to take its toll on me.
  • No crowd support – Lonely…it felt like it was a training run.
  • Absolutely no music along the course.  Despite the name of my Blog, I won’t wear an iPod during a race. However, I usually look forward to the bands/musicians along the route that pump up the runners.  This course had nothing, not a sound.
  • The hills were much worse than I thought they would be.  They made the Boston hills seem easy. Maybe it was the weather.  Which brings me to….
  • The weather: Awful – A hot one – 84 degrees by the time we finished.  Not too much shade, not a cloud in the sky, and we baked on the blacktop.  I think I ran an extra mile zigzagging to find the shady side of the road. Some people are affected more than others by the heat (I am one of them).  I overheat like an ‘89 Honda Civic on such days.  It was ironic that it was warmer in the Poconos than it was in Philadelphia (this rarely happens).
  • Lack of course markings and guides: About 20 runners ended up taking a wrong turn and ran an extra .65 miles, including some aspiring BQ runners and the female leader (who ended up losing her lead).  Also, automobile traffic was on parts of the course (runners felt unsafe).

After my bloody nose incident, I thought about dropping out.  Normally, it wouldn’t have scared me, but I have had a weird three weeks with my body: irregular heartbeat, stomach flu, now the bloody nose.  I ended up slowing my pace (first voluntarily, then involuntarily). There is nothing worse than knowing you are “done” at Mile 11…knowing you still have 15 miles to go; however, I finished…a finish is a finish, and I am proud of myself for gutting it out.

Time: 3:26:14 (ironically, the same time I ran in Boston ’05…it was hot that day too).

So, I gave blood to the Red Cross. Ouch…

A bloody tough run (a well-named race!)

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