I hope you folks have this thing on bloglines or reader or something, 'cause hey, if it were me, I probably would have deleted the bookmark long ago. Just sayin'
So, I never did write about the marathon. I guess I'm sufficiently recovered to elaborate now :)
It really was fine, if a little disappointing. I had been sick for the week leading up to the run, so not only did I not do any nice maintenance running, but I was also a bit dehydrated. In any case, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I really did expect to do better, but I beat my last time (from '98? '99?) so that's something I guess.
I did pretty fine actually, well, up to about mile 18. Then things started getting ugly. My ankle (oddly enough, not the one that had bothered me a while back) started complaining, which wasn't bad, but then my thigh started to cramp up. The really rough thing is that you can pretty much run through mild pain - endorphines and bull-headedness, I guess, but boy howdy, a cramp will really sit you down and give you a stern talking to about what an idiot you are.
There's a really weird thing about the decision to start walking for me. For me, walking equals failure. That's overstating it a bit, but not by much. Also, there's the idea (true enough) that once you start to walk, it becomes so much harder to start running again. So I ended up nearly dropping into a walk several times, and then pushing on and congratulating myself only to find a few minutes later trying to stave off the walkies again. It really is a huge mind-game.
I was pretty happy with the run up to that point, but once the cramping started to really settle in, I lost (or won?) the arguement with myself and started walking. Every so often, I tried to start running again, but it's funny how it seemed like my body bought into the idea that we were done doing that pain-thing for the day, and it didn't want to have anything to do with this whole jogging bit anymore.
So, I walked. and walked. I felt pretty pathetic walking by the crowds of people cheering the runners on. Some of the people actually yelled out "Go runners!" hmm... Guess they weren't talking about me :) I should also say that there were heaps of walkers and the ex-runners like myself, but still. Feh.
Anyway, about mile 21, I was able to pick up something that might be charitably called a jog again, and started to trundle off. As I ran further, the aches and pains gradually fell away and by about mile 24, I was almost running at speed again. Well, ok, maybe not speed, but noticeably no longer shuffle-jogging.
I was able to run out the rest of the marathon, and got my little finishers medal and a whole crapload of free cookies and bananas and gels and chocolate and sport drinks etc etc.
Probably the coolest thing was on the bus back to where I was staying, there was a itty bitty kid and his mom. The mom pointed over at me (still wearing medal and bib) and said, "See? He ran the marathon!" and the little kid said, "cool."