Sunday, May 4, 2008

Running through the Past - Darkly

Well, I did it. I went and ran Eugene. Saturday I arrived at the Expo in time to listen to Kenny Moore speak and get him to sign his book (Bowerman and the Men of Oregon). Dinner at Track Town Pizza (a trip down memory lane), so all was good.

Up at 5 am to get in breakfast and head out to Autzen for the shuttles to the start at Hayward Field. It was crisp and cool, perfect starting weather for a race. Standing outside Hayward memories of the many track meets that I attended there running through my mind. We start off heading towards Hendricks Park and Pre's Rock. My knee's were tight from being cold, but I figured they'd loosen up (and they did). Easy pace through the first mile, running through the residential streets and heading towards Roosevelt Middle School. Down to Amazon Parkway, it's like I was a kid again on a training run heading home from South. At the first turn around I saw Bill and Marcia McChesney. Kenny Moore was at mile 3 and 6 cheering us all on. Through Amazon Park and past the SEHS track. The memories were all coming back to 22 years ago. Mile 7 was the Bill McChesney Jr. mile, right near the SEHS gym. The crowd there was amazing! I see the Axemen Track sweatshirts at the water station in front of the school, a glowing moment of pride.

My pace through all of this was perfect, low 7's and fairly consistent. Everything feels great. We head past UO, over the footbridge, and out to Springfield. I try to slow down a little to conserve energy. Since I was down for so long, I knew that endurance and fatigue would be my enemy. I come through the half in 1:36, sweet! I needed to be between 1:35 and 1:40, when I need to, I can run pace perfectly. By 16, I was a little tired but still feeling strong. I'm told that I looked strong through 17 (felt pretty good too), but I knew it would only be a matter of time before fatigue was going to be an issue. Mile 18 I had sock issues (lovely blisters as a result) and dealt with it as best as I could. Still good at 20 although I've dropped my pace (while fussing with my socks around 18).

OK, so 10k to go. Gut check time. I think I might be able to pull this off...

At 22, I'm tired. I know my stride is not where it needs to be and my lack of endurance is showing. I could still pull out a BQ, but I'm not overly optimistic. I've had an awesome run and and happy with whatever comes my way. 3 to go and I'm losing it. 2.5 and the wheels come off. With just 2 miles to go, I can't run anymore. I've given it everything I had, and that's OK. I stroll to the footbridge, see Autzen, and start to jog it in. I run through the finish line and it's done. Marathon #2 is in the books. It was hell to get here, but I'm not complaining about a thing. I ran as perfect a race as I could considering all that had been going on the last 3 weeks.

I'm dreading walking down stairs...

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