Race Recap: Delaware Marathon 2013

Up to a certain moment, I was frighteningly relaxed for this race. My BQ was in my back pocket from my fall marathon, so this would be gravy. However, as I lined up at the start, it hit me:

“Damn, this is a marathon. This will be hard. I must respect the distance.”

So, as the National Anthem was playing, I coudn’t swallow. I guess my nerves finally arrived to the party.

I didn’t have a specific goal for this race but my typical goal is to go Sub 3 hours. My backup goal is to finish safely and alive. I knew I was in 2:55 to 3:00 shape, but the weather was a bit warm for me (61 degrees, 89% humidity at the start).

With that in the back of my mind, I figured I’d go out conservatively, hopefully latch on to someone at a similar pace, and take it from there. Well, I didn’t go out conservatively: Mile 1 was 6:29 (oops).

Fortunately, after I slowed a bit, another runner pulled up next to me, and asked me what my goal was (his was similar). So, we decided to stay with each other for as long as possible. His name was James, and this guy saved my race (more on that later).

As we were running, I noticed that James had a lot of fans on the course. It turns out that he used to live in Wilmington, and had people throughout the course cheering for him. However, he also seemed to know many of the race volunteers and police officers directing traffic. I jokingly asked him if he was the Mayor, and he laughed, and said no but he was a previous winner of this race.

My first reaction was: “Crap, I have no business running with this guy,” but the pace felt good, and since it was a small race (600 marathoners), I didn’t want to run alone.

James gave me great tips regarding course strategy, which brings me to the course itself:

The course: Two laps though the riverfront, parks, and neighborhoods of Wilmington. So, when you’re at Mile 7, you get a preview of what Mile 20 will look like. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing: You know what’s coming during the 2nd half. The curse: You know what’s coming during the 2nd half.

Something that James said to me as we climbed a mile-long hill from Mile 6ish to 7ish that proved to help me later: “Once you’re finished with this hill the 2nd time —also Miles 19 to 20 — the remainder of the race is generally flat to downhill.”

So, with that in mind, we ran together and came through the 13.1 split in 1:28. So far so good. However, from Mile 15-16, I started cramping (bad stitch, perhaps from the sun exposure along the riverfront). James and another runner pulled slightly ahead of me.

This is about the time I saw my wife: “I’m feeling it” I told her. She, with her cowbell in hand, said something inspirational, and I moved along. Not sure if it was seeing her or the fact that I was entering the shaded portion of the race that helped, but I temporarily felt better (cramps subsided), and pulled even with James again.

But this was short-lived. At Mile 19, we were heading into the hilly portion for the 2nd time. James pulled away. I slowed (not awful – Mile 20 was 7:13). At this point, though, James pulled too far ahead for me to feel connected to his pace. I was now on my own at Mile 20. If you’ve ever been alone at Mile 20, you know how lonely it is.

This is the point when I almost threw in the towel (the point where I would go from goal pace to survival pace). However, something stopped me from giving up (not sure what). It might have been the earlier words of my temporary running partner that helped me hold on:

“Once you’re finished with this hill the 2nd time, the remainder of the race is generally flat to downhill.”

So, even though my pace fell off (6:55-7:10 the rest of the way), it wasn’t a bonk. I was holding on. In the shaded, residential portion of the race, the crowd support was so helpful. At Mile 23, my cumulative time was 2:37:13…there was still hope for a Sub3.

Also, another surprising thing happened: I found myself running with and passing some of the Half Marathon participants. I encouraged them as I passed, and they encouraged me. It was a win-win for all of us! We survived the portion of the race in the Little Italy section of town (where there is additional sun exposure).

Most of the last three miles was flat to downhill with the exception of a pretty lengthy bonus hill that James had initially underestimated (during the home stretch). I gutted it out with the hope that I could still do a Sub3. Once the last hill crests, you can let gravity do the rest and make your way to the riverfront for the finish.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:58:53 (with my hand on my heart in honor of Boston). My 2nd Half was just under 1:31…I slowed but not too badly. The heat affected me, but the shaded course saved me. James saved me too. I was fortunate enough to see him in the finish area, which is where we fist bumped and congratulated each other.

Even though this wasn’t a PR race, I feel satisfied with the results: 1) It’s a tough course, and 2) I finally didn’t bonk in a race with the temperatures above 60 degrees.

NOTES: There are also 4-person and 8-person relays and Half mixed in with the Marathon which can make the first half of the race a bit confusing and crowded; however, seeing these runners during the 2nd lap actually helped me psychologically.

This race is great for spectating. You can see the runners at least four times without having to move. You can also move throughout the course and see runners multiple times. I must have seen my wife four times during the race (and this was a HUGE help).

Some pics…


Perk: Custom Bib to avoid being called Gerald, Jared, George, or Greg!


Not feeling good here, but I have my red socks!!


My favorite race hardware ever! Chase Utley agrees!


James got me by 59 seconds.

A Running Geek Convention: Race Weekend Recap – Runner’s World Half

Normally we don’t spend an entire weekend at a race that is less than an hour from our house, but my wife and I knew that the Runner’s World Half Festival weekend would be far from ordinary.  Both of us decided that this trip would be a celebration of our accomplishments two weeks prior:  A double BQ at the Steamtown Marathon.  With the pressure off, it was time for us to have some fun.

We arrived Friday night, checked in at Hotel Bethlehem, and had dinner at a place called the Bookstore Speakeasy. It was recommended to us by Runner’s World Editor, Meghan Loftus, and was just what the doctor ordered: good food, drink, entertainment, and a smoke-free atmosphere for a couple of running geeks.

In fact, the more time we spent in Bethlehem over the weekend, the more it felt like a running geek convention.  All we needed were lanyards.

On Saturday morning, we did a shakeout run, so we decided to run toward the 5K course to cheer on the participants (many of which were doing the Hatrick, all three festival races scheduled that weekend).  Well, my wife is now fired up to do the Hatrick next year!

We’ve been to bigger races (Boston, MCM, NYCM), but this felt better.  The events, lectures, and information sessions felt less claustrophobic, less harried.  I’m not sure if this was because of the logistics or our attitude, but either way, the experience was special.  My wife sat in on the session: Women’s Running: Why It’s Different for Girls, then we got to watch part of “Run For Your Life,” which chronicles how Fred Lebow got the NYC Marathon up and running, and finally Bart Yasso and a panel gave tips on course strategy. There were other talks that I missed because of my work schedule on Saturday, but I felt like I got a good taste of what was being served.

Speaking of being served, this was our first “pre-race pasta dinner” with other runners. We usually steer clear of the masses and make a reservation at a local Italian restaurant, but since we were being more laid back about our race, we decided to join the party.  The food and company were great, and the dinner company included David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World, who sat down beside me and asked me where I got my beer (because he wanted one too).

Which brings me to the Runner’s World staff…the accessibility and warmth of the Runner’s World staff was special.  I know they had to be ambassadors all weekend, but you can tell that they love what they do, and they are running geeks too. They have the same aches, pains, and shoe questions as us.

The race itself was a blast (I will keep this part short). The start and finish area was at the Steel Stacks, a symbol of Bethlehem’s industrialized past, and its reinvented status as a service and tourist spot (the Sands Casino).

Because of my tired legs from Steamtown, I decided to stay with the 1:30 pace group for at least 7-8 miles.  I knew the first part of the course was hilly, so this conservative approach felt smart to me.

It was a nice, conversation pace, and I’m sure I annoyed Robert Reese, the Runner’s World Editor/Pacer for our group.  He couldn’t have been more friendly and laid back.  At Mile 9, my legs still felt fresh, so I decided to push the pace.  I knew Shalane Flanagan was up ahead, and (jokingly, in my mind), I planned to catch her.

After the last hill around Mile 10, I went full steam at my 5K pace.  I latched on to a fellow runner who was struggling, and I told him we would stick together and pass the carnage in front of us.  In the last miles, we picked off 12-14 runners.  My last 5K ended up being just over 19 minutes;  however, Shalane remains undefeated against me (she beat me by 13 seconds)!!  I never got my picture taken with her, but it was great to see her on the course.

Wait, I did get my picture taken with her!! I’m the orange blurry dot in the distance

It’s mesmerizing to watch an elite runner: they glide and float.  I know she was just doing what amounted to a Sunday jog for her, but it was still a thrill.

I ran 1:27, and my wife did a 1:51, which was faster than we planned, but more fun than we expected!

At the finish, we got sweet medals, which doubled as bottle openers. So, I guess we got our “lanyards” after all!

End Note:

The weather, race and weekend were just about perfect.  One fun part was finally meeting some people we had known only through Twitter.  With my introvertedness, there is always the fear that the real interactions will be awkward, but ours (with the Runner’s World staff and a couple we met for a drink) were so much fun!  There was even a #Runchat meet-up, which unfortunately we missed, but I’m sure other runners can speak more about that experience.


 Running Geek Conventioneers

Race Recap: Steamtown Marathon 2012

When the bus drops you off at the start of the Steamtown Marathon in Forest City (this race is point-to-point), you immediately feel special.  A volunteer comes onto the bus, welcomes you and gives you instructions. As you exit the bus, the Forest City High School cheerleaders do a cheer for you, you are given a souvenir ribbon, and another volunteer leads you into the gym where runners can stretch and keep warm. This was comforting for those of us with pre-race jitters.

The weather cooperated for Steamtown. It was supposed to rain, but, thankfully, not one drop fell during the race.  It remained cloudy, and the temperature held around 44 degrees. Perfect conditions (for me).  I did wear “throw-away” gloves, which I ended up wearing the whole race.

The way my training had gone, my goal was 2:57 to 2:59. I resolved to focus on 6:45/mile pace because the math was easier (I don’t like to think too much during a marathon).

The first eight+ miles of Steamtown are flat to downhill.  If there is one race where it is important not to go out too fast, it is this race because of the hills that come later from Mile 23 to the Finish.  You cannot “bank” time at Steamtown. I was fortunate to pace these first several miles with two younger runners, which happened to be Navy cadets… two great kids that kept calling me “Sir”…still weird for me to hear that. Their goal was Sub3. We ran together and chatted occasionally. They kept me in check (we ran 6:44-6:52 pace during those eight miles). I didn’t go out too fast (Phew).

At Mile 8, I was in 86th place (yes, a young spectator was counting!).  This is when I broke away from my new Navy friends. Breaking away from a pack is always scary during a marathon.  Running on your own is much tougher when you’re running this distance.  I was hoping to latch on to other people running at my pace goal. I never found anyone to run with, but today would be my day (at least I told myself that).

My first half was 1:28:16, slightly fast, but I felt good, and I would find out soon enough if I went out too hard. Mile 15 was 6:29. Whoa, “OK Gerard, slow it down” I told myself.  My next few miles, which were along a beautifully scenic “Rails to Trails” path, were more consistently in the 6:40s again.

I started to think it might be my day when Miles 21 and 22 were both at 6:37. It was just beyond Mile 23 where I was brought back to earth.  I turned my ankle badly, and as I compensated to correct it, I strained my groin.  I assessed the damage, didn’t panic, and kept running; failure was not an option. I remained in “Mr. Spock” mode (I explain Mr. Spock in a previous post: SEE The Music of Running: Vol. 2), but ouch.

I slowed down at Mile 24 (7:29), both from the pain of my ankle/groin, and the steep hill in the Green Ridge section of Scranton. Mile 25 was a bit better (7:10), but in the final mile, the wheels were coming off my wagon. The final mile is a straight-away and a long, ascent up Washington Avenue.  It is not a steep hill, but it never seems to end. When I did make it to the top of this hill in downtown Scranton, I could finally see the finish line, which was still a couple hundred yards away.

If you’ve ever done a marathon, you know how the last few hundred yards feels.  It goes quiet. You feel like you’re walking.  You almost feel detached from your physical body. Your brain is telling you to go, but your body is unable to respond; however, somehow you snap out of it. You begin to hear the crowd again, and you push through to the end.

Finish time: 2:57:56 (a PR by 1:49, and a CR by 4:04)

(My 2nd half was 1:29:40, slower but not a bonk)

Place: 48th overall / 12th in my age group (the 40somethings are competitive).

# of finishers: 1,938

Most Memorable Song: “Smokin” by Boston (blasting from someone’s front porch), Runner-Up Song: “Desire” by U2

This was my third Steamtown, and it continues to be my favorite marathon for many reasons: it’s scenic, well-organized, fast, not too big (field is 2,500), and the crowd support in the small towns along the way is amazing. The people cheering you on will push you and give you hope for humankind. There are moments of quiet, but the balance of quiet and crowd support seems to match my running personality.

Oh, and GREAT post-race food!!  You can’t beat it !!

The hill at Mile 24

Mile 24 – Ouch

Race Recap – Pocono Run For The Red Marathon 2012

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:


  • 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)


  • 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!)

Race Recap: St. Luke’s (Lehigh Valley) Half Marathon 2012

ALLENTOWN, PA. This was my fourth St. Luke’s (FKA Lehigh Valley) Half Marathon, and I had more anxiety than I usually do for a race like this. Here’s why: Three days prior to the race, during a routine six miler, I experienced shortness of breath and heart palpitations. I ended up in the ER. The good news is everything with my heart looked normal (speculation is I had some kind of allergy attack or exercise induced asthma).

Despite my relief that my heart is fine, I was still worried that I would have breathing issues during the race.  It was in the back of my mind at the start, and throughout the race. Thankfully, I did not have issues.

The weather at the start: Perfect (low 40s, low winds). This was more welcomed news to  me.

The first five miles of the St. Luke’s Half are downhill to flat. The race starts at William Allen High School, and it is very easy to go out fast (Mile 1: 6:14). I missed the Mile 2 marker, but the combination of Mile 2 and Mile 3 was 12:31 (a little fast for my liking).

The race continues to Mile 5+ with an out and back along MLK Drive. I got to see my wife, and also heard words of encouragement from a friend from Muhlenberg College.  This part of the course continues as flat and fast.  I felt good, but found myself running alone with no specific pack to latch on to.

The next part of the race heads into the Little Lehigh Parkway. Due to safety concerns involving an unsafe retaining wall, the course had to be re-routed, which meant we had an additional hill as part of the course this year. The hill was not steep, but felt lengthy. Plus, since we entered the park at a different location than usual, it seemed like we ran on more gravel than usual (I could be wrong).

I did not see a mile marker until Mile 8 (so my five mile time from Mile 3 to Mile 8 was 31:52 – Still pretty fast for me in April).  However, as we got deeper into the park, which includes a beautiful covered bridge, the rolling hills slowed me down (Miles 9 and 10 were a combined 14:11). Also, I was still running alone.  I was “a runner without a pack.”

Once over the covered bridge, runners shift directions to the other side of the park. Here, you can see the runners behind you across the way and they can see you.  My wife (who was on her way to a PR!) said she saw me, and I was completely alone (her words).  This is a tough place to be as a runner in a race.

After climbing out of the park, the course slowly heads back passed Yocco’s Hot Dogs (Mmm) to Cedar Beach and toward the finish.  The last couple of miles are relatively flat, and I managed a couple of 6:45’s. As runners near the finish area, there is a very short hill that takes everyone to the entrance of the track where the race ends.

There are few things more fun than finishing a race on the track.  My rule usually is: “Nobody passes me on the track.”  However, I found myself alone.  There was nobody within 25-30 seconds of me (either in front of me or behind). I led a very lonely existence in this race. This is strange considering over 3,200 people ran it. Fortunately, on my way to getting a post-race snack, I bumped into another fellow Muhlenberg Alum, which was a pleasant surprise!

Official Results: 1:25:28

47th out of 3,240 runners

9th in age group (competitive age group)

My goal was to break 1:25, a slight miss, but I was only off my Course Record by 12 seconds. I’ll take it considering where I was three days prior. Also, I added on 6-7 miles after the race because this was my last long run before the Run for the Red Marathon on 5/20.  These were slow but necessary additional miles.

The St. Luke’s Half is always my favorite race at this distance.  It is well-organized, not too big, and has great post-race food.  You can’t beat Vegetable Pierogi Soup!  Also, there are lots of good bands along the race course. Two highlights for me during this race: 1) A solo acoustic guy singing “I Melt With You” by Modern English and 2) A fun band jamming to “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers.

Oh, and you get your name on your race bib too!  This race was one of the first in the nation to start this trend, which is a blessing and a curse for someone named Gerard: “Go Gerald,” “Go Jared,” “Go George,” “Go [long pause] Dude!”

Lonely Boy: By the time I hit the track, nobody was within 30 seconds of me (either in front of me or behind me)


Race Report: Caesar Rodney Half Marathon 2012

Another Half in the books.  I’m not even sure how many that makes. I don’t count anymore. Yesterday’s Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Wilmington, Delaware was my first Half (at my pace) in eighteen months, and my brain knew it.

Despite the drizzle, I was happy to be at the starting line, especially considering the previous two weeks I had been sick (bronchitis).

Mystery 1: After the heart-stopping cannon sounded the start of the race, the question was: “How would my breathing be after being sick?”

Mystery 2: “How is my current  ‘Mental Endurance’ for a race at this distance?”

Well, it turned out my breathing held up for the most part. My Mental Endurance, on the other hand, only made it about 10 miles.  My brain needs to get back into “longer race” shape.  The only way to address this is to race more.

The Caesar Rodney is a tough Half course. The first 5+ miles are either downhill or flat. These miles showcase the redevelopment along the Wilmington Waterfront. It is very easy to go out too fast, which is probably what I did for the shape I am in right now (6:30 / mile average through Mile 5).  This is an issue, especially if one is not prepared for the series of hills, which includes a seemingly endless 2.8 mile ascent beginning around Mile 6 (Miles 6 to 8.8). When you begin the ascent, your pace is challenged in a big way, especially if you aren’t with a pack.

At this point, I was fortunate enough to lock on to a fellow runner. We made the ascent together. The pace slowed to 7:00-7:15 pace; not too bad. Essentially, this got me to the 9 mile mark. I thought: “I’m in the clear! Except for the uphill finish, the rest of the race is downhill!”…so I thought.

Well, changes were made to the course (Miles 9+ to 11). The good news: it was generally flat.  The bad news: I wasn’t mentally ready for this change. I kept waiting for the payoff of the “downhill” to begin, and it came later than it usually does for this race. At the same time, my body was fatiguing from my lack of activity during the previous two weeks, and my mind was fatiguing from my lack of recent racing at this distance.  My pace slowed, but I gutted out the rest of the race.

The finish is a grueling ¼ mile uphill. My legs felt like lead, but I crossed the finish line (1:28:40); 5+ minutes slower than my Course Best, but satisfying considering, in the few days prior, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to run the race.

I am happy to be back at racing, even though I’m not quite fully there yet (I’m sure my finish line photo will be scary/funny). All in all, it was a good dress-rehearsal for the St. Luke’s Half in Allentown on 4/29.

REALIZATION: I need to start doing push-ups again to strengthen my upper body. My arms were useless by the end, especially during the final uphill finish.  Push-ups have helped me in the past, and they will help again.

FUN FACT: In 1776, Caesar Rodney rode from Delaware to Philadelphia to cast the deciding vote in favor of moving forward with the Declaration of Independence!

AMAZING COINCIDENCE: Here is a crazy cool coincidence: A person I Follow on Twitter (and Follows me), , also ran the Caesar Rodney yesterday.  Of the 1,405 finishers, we placed next to each other.  We had no idea until after the fact…Check this out:

Race Summary: Philly Marathon 2011

The marathon is humbling, no matter what pace you are running.   This year, I decided to be the rabbit for my wife in the Philadelphia Marathon in her quest to qualify for Boston.   This kept me interested in training in a year I have struggled to get out of a running rut.

Jill’s goal was 3:50 (8:46 per mile pace), which would give her a 5 minute cushion (qualifying requirement for her age is 3:55).  This would increase her chances of not having to register for Boston on the “last” day of a new rolling registration process.  Her fear was that the race would be full by the time she registered.

Her previous PR was 3:55:03 (3 seconds away from the new qualifying time for her age!). So, this time around, I trained more with her (long runs, and track workouts, in particular Yasso 800s).  The more we ran together, the more I noticed her newer, tougher runner’s attitude.  We both started to believe she could do it.

She had control over her training.  The only “x factor” for a race in late November would be the weather, which was nearly perfect (borderline warm) on race day.

So, the blaring horns sounded the Olympic theme song, and we were off.   I simply wanted Jill to be patient for the first two miles, which include lots of jockeying and elbows (some treat the start as if it is a 5K).  Mile 1 was at 8:59, which was fine.

When she threw down her “throw away” gloves after Mile 2, I said to myself, she will break 3:50 today.  It was in the way she threw down the gloves (very business-like).  At that moment, it was clear to me that she was on a mission.

After the wide expanse of Columbus Boulevard, we weaved through Center City.  Around Mile 5, she got a little weepy as we made the left turn onto Chestnut Street, near Independence Hall (she is a history geek, and loves our city so much, she got caught up in the moment).   A fellow runner can never judge another’s emotions during a race.

Chestnut Street is dangerous because the crowd support is so good, you are tempted to run faster.   When you get to high five someone cheering you on dressed as a pancake, it tends to pump you up.  I had to help her put the breaks on a few times because I knew the hills of Miles 8-10 would be coming up.

I warned her not to worry if Mile 10 was closer to 9mins (and it was because of the longer hill).  Nothing to panic about.

The next danger was West River Drive.  It is a race track, especially because the race is mixed with half marathoners nearing their finish.   She had to fight the urge to go faster.  When she is running faster than 8:30 pace, I usually say: “Take it easy Paula (Radcliffe).”

At the half, she was under 1:53 (2+ minutes ahead of pace).  A bit fast, which slightly worried me, but not to the point of panic (since her Yasso 800s were at 3:47).  So, we made our way out on Kelly Drive, a more quiet, lonely part of the race.  It is also a bit intimidating because you start to see other runners coming inbound on Kelly Drive, and you realize how far you’ve still got to go.

At Mile 14, I was reminded I was running a marathon too.  I turned my ankle, and let out a brief shout.   I didn’t want to scare Jill, so I said everything was fine (lie).  Her next three miles were consistently 8:30 pace. She was officially going into “Mr. Spock” mode (I will explain that in a future post).

Jill survived the Manayunk miles by staying around 8:45 pace.  At this point, I was struggling despite the fact that this pace was much slower than I am used to running. My breathing was labored (I was fighting off a cold), and my ankle (ouch); however, I think it had more to do with the fact that Jill was simply kicking ass.  I almost told her to go on ahead of me, but I didn’t want to miss out on her amazing performance.  I was witnessing the “race of her life” as she kept forging on.

Heading back onto Kelly Drive (the eternal home stretch), it was clear to me at Mile 22 that she would shatter 3:50.  This is when I got weepy (yes I admit it).  When you are witnessing your spouse’s strength and determination, and you are overcome with pride and emotion, you will lose your cookies too.  I do not apologize for crying.  I was simply in awe.

The last two or three miles were a bit slower than 8:45 pace, but I knew it was going to happen for her.

As we neared the finish line, passing the Art Museum, I almost wanted it to slow down for Jill (even though she simply wanted to speed up to cross the line).  I just wanted her to be able to soak in the moment for “just a little longer.” I screamed out to her: “Boston baby!”

We crossed the finish line (3:47:32), a PR for her by over 7 minutes!  Jill got her high five from Mayor Nutter, and we both got shout-outs from Bart Yasso!   We hugged and there were more tears (we are criers).

(Later, we were saddened by the news of the deaths of two runners, ages 21 and 40.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends.  Once I get my legs back, I will dedicate my next run to them).