Running is all about learning to deal with pain. Pushing through mental barriers. Not listening to your body when it tries to tell you it's tired and wants to quit. Usually the pain is associated with tired legs, muscle cramps, blisters, the wall, etc. But sometimes pain comes in other forms.
The story for this race really starts Friday evening, when I felt the start of another fun evening with my friend, "Diverticulosis." Whenever "Di" drops by, its always a fun several days until the symptoms pass. This time "Di" didn't hang around quite as long as usual, but I was still concerned. Friday night was tough. And Saturday was no picnic either. After entertaining her I just didn't know how I would do running the Tobacco Road Marathon Sunday . . . or even if I would be able to. Let's just say that after two days of "Di's" visit, I was bloated . . . and it wasn't just the feeling of being bloated!
But no worries . . . by Sunday morning I felt at least 90% normal. No real pain at least. But I was still full!
But by about the fifth mile the pressures started building! And folks, when the intestines decide that it's time . . . well . . . it's time. They don't listen to all that psychological mumbo-jumbo. They refuse your tricks about "mind over matter." They don't care about your goals, what you have planned. Quite frankly, the bowels are the "boss of the body" and if you ever doubt that, just test them!
By mile 6, the boss started insisting I listen to him! I wanted to hurry . . . but hurrying just made it worse. But I HAD to hurry! . . . and luckily . . . there in the distance I saw porta-potties! Yyyyyeeeeeesssssss! When I got there, just to keep the fun going I was #3 in line! My blood pressure climbed to alarming levels, and it felt like I had quickly developed a fever of 102 at least. But thank God, the line moved fairly fast! I made it just in time!
And coming out . . . I was a force to be reckoned with! Don't know when I ever felt so good . . . and light!
Soon after, I saw Ashley Bass fly by running his first marathon I believe (He finished sub 3 hours and finished 16th or 17th!
I really liked the Tobacco Road course . . . flat as any! Plus there were several chances to see runners ahead with two out-and-back sections. I love that! Makes for a FUN race!
Saw Brian Langford, Dave Lavely, Michael Forrester, Tyler Peek, Scott Wingfield, Gerry Felton, Kevin Boudreau, Joey Anderson, Tracy Proctor to name a few! I love that! Got pictures of some . . . hate I didn't get everyone's! Also saw Jonathon Savage leading a pace group of runners. He had quite a following!
Hit the first turn-around feeling strong and light . . . and no more intestinal issues! One thing about this Tobacco Road trail . . . it all looks the same! That's not bad! It was pretty! But I really couldn't figure out where I was, and how far to the next key point! Didn't seem too long until I came to the second out-and back section, and quickly saw Dave Lavely screaming by! All the others followed . . . except I didn't see Brian Langford and Michael Forrester. (Turns out they had already made the turn!).
Especially enjoy seeing Scott savora beer provided by the local Hash House Harriers! Yes . . . I got mine on the way back! Thanks Hash!
I refused to look at my watch during the race and I purposefully didn't bring my Garmin. But I knew I was running good and still felt strong at 16. It was around here where I looked ahead and saw my friend Laura MacLean . . . out in the trail taking pictures!! Odd not to see her running, but she has the Umstead 100 next weekend . . . so she gets a hall pass. Laura ran with me for a short way and promised the be there to take my picture on my return.
By the next turn-around I was starting to feel it! But I managed to keep my intervals fairly consistent . . . though I did walk some of the uphills (they were really just slow rises . . . but close enough for me to walk!).
I love the back-of-the-packers! No one is moving all that fast and everyone has an encouraging word. Runners are great! I'm sure the front-runners are too, but they are so focused and running so fast they really don't socialize much. But us "back-of-the-packers" just have a virtual party!
Soon I saw Laura again and she ran with me for awhile . . . really lifted my spirits! Thanks Laura! You're the best! Really!
Seemed like no time until I made the turn and had 3+ miles to go. I struggled the last three, but still managed to keep my planned intervals. I did a pretty good job of pushing through the pain. Ended with a 5:26. Not great by most standards, but I was thrilled! Believe this was my "fastest" marathon in two years at least! No way I'll ever beat my 3:58 PR . . . that was years ago.
Here are a few more pictures
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