So I ran a Marathon… Dang…

It was 4:20 AM, and the third time I had awakened. I decided that I might as well get up–my alarm would go off in 15 minutes anyway. My uncle Tom came downstairs a few minutes later as I was finishing breakfast and whispering quietly with my wife. I asked him why on earth he was up. He said that’s what it’s like to be old. He volunteered to drive me downtown to where the buses were loading.
We were in Logan, Utah. The Top of Utah Marathon began at 7:00 AM up in Blacksmith Fork Canyon, just southeast of the city. The first 15 miles were cake– I could do that every weekend– it’s all downhill, nice and gradual.
At mile 9 they handed out some of those energy gels that seem to be so popular with the distance runners. I had some of my own preparations, but I grabbed one– Vanilla. It tasted much like pudding. Meh. They handed out more later, but I wasn’t interested.
As I ran past the second handouts (probably mile 17 or so) I thought to myself about the corporatized nature of running. People have capitalized on the need of increasing numbers of runners–some of which are less genetically apt than others to be good runners. Training can only do so much, for example. My dad ran his first and only marathon in 3:24, without drinking or eating during the race at all– past 15 miles or so I wouldn’t even try such a thing.
I wonder now if anyone complains about the runners supplies market. I myself, may start using bananas (and other such things) for recovery/energy instead of some kind of sports drink. Back to my marathon story, though.
Mile 15 to mile 19 or so was relatively easy, I maintained an 8:45 pace or so across those. From 19 to 21 it began to get harder, and by mile 22 I was starting to really sweat it.
My wife cheered me on at mile 23, as things seemed as if they would never end. She ran across the block, and the course wound back around mile 25-1/2. When I saw her again, another friend of mine was there to cheer me on as well (Ben, my usual running partner). The whole course is packed with spectators from mile 23 onward, and let me tell you, it helps.
As I ran past her the second time, I could see the corner just before the 26 mark. As I neared said corner, I decided I had enough energy to sprint the last quarter mile, but my left leg rebelled, spasming and kicking. It’s a miracle I didn’t fall down; I returned to my previous pace, and slowly increased my speed, until I was sprinting as I crossed the finish line. My time: 3:57:54. I hope next time to do better– shooting for the Salt Lake City Marathon in April of next year.
I proceeded to the recovery area and congratulated a few of the other runners, drinking Gatorade and chocolate milk and eating some of the fruit they had set out. My friend, Ben, had to leave at that point, he had obligations back in Provo. My wife and I went and got lunch at a sandwich shop downtown there, and visited with Tom and Sylvia, relatives of mine that we had stayed with the night before.


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