First, I want to send out a huge thank you to my buddies who paced me in the last 11 miles, Austin and Jeremy. I also want to thank Amber, Austin’s wife, for chauffeuring the guys around town. And finally a very special thanks to my wife, Sarah. She got the kids out to three different spots on the course to cheer me on. It was very special to see you all during and after the race.
Since I started coaching at Run On, I noticed my own training became more consistent. When my focus is on helping others, my discipline improves and in turn my performance increases. But the best part is I have a lot more fun. Helping others get to the starting line and achieve their race goals is incredibly satisfying. This phenomenon increased exponentially after starting raceforothers. I’ve been even more disciplined and motivated. I’ve definitely never had this much fun training and racing.
While tapering the week before, I thought about what my race would be like. I imagined I would think of the people my charities serve, the children in Haiti and those living in present day slavery. Closer to home, I imagined I would think of all the wonderful new friends I’ve made since starting this site, as well as the old friendships rekindled. I imagined I would think about running friends struggling with injury, unable to do what they love. When I hear about other runners’ injuries I have a hard time relating. I feel guilty that I can run and they can’t. I try, with partial success, to just be thankful.
During the early part of the race these thoughts encouraged me. But later, somewhere around mile 22, I noticed the emotion was too much. I discovered as you approach exhaustion, emotion intensifies. I decided becoming too emotional would expend vital energy, so, I quickly dismissed such ideas. I shut off my mind. That is, until I crossed the finish line.
The overwhelming intensity of emotion after finishing was familiar from my previous two marathons. It seems whether or not you are pleased with your time, there is something very intense about finishing a 26.2 mile race.
After finishing, I sat down on the pavement and waited for my wife, kids, and friends to make their way over. I was overwhelmed. I still don’t quite understand how I was physically able to run 26.2 miles at an 8:06 minute/mile pace. I improved my previous best time by 39 minutes. Looking back, the entire experience seems like a dream; like it didn’t really happen. Maybe I would have been capable of the same even if I hadn’t raced for others; who knows? But I am so thankful I did. I know success wouldn’t be nearly as sweet.
When they arrived, I got a hug from my favorite little girl in the whole world. I couldn’t help but let out some small whimpers betraying how choked up I really was. Later that night when I was putting her to bed we had this conversation, paraphrased to remove my mumbling:
A: Why do you run, daddy?
D: I like to run because it’s fun.
A: But why did you cry?
D: Because sometimes when mommies and daddies are really happy, they cry.
A: But why are you hurt?
D: I’m not really hurt, I’m just tired.
A: But your legs hurt. (I told her earlier that my legs hurt)
D: Well, they hurt a little bit because I ran a long way.
A: …and you ran really fast!