This past Saturday I walked the Ave Maria 1/2 Marathon. I finished with a time of 4:45:09, a blistering 2 seconds faster than my time last October in the Sebring 1/2 Marathon. (Although, I did finish first in my division for age in Sebring. Nobody else 60-64 Male was entered….)
Big deal, right? Yeah, it is. It was freaking hot by the end of the race, about 88 degrees. I don’t know about most of you, but that’s at the upper limit of what I can handle. During my daily walks, I cut the temperature off around 80-82. Anything more makes me sick.
And…. well, today I look like I drank an entire bottle of tequila and have end-stage alcoholic bloat. I am not a pretty vision as a result of becoming completely dehydrated and then filling the tank back up. It goes well with the blister on my right foot – about four inches wide and two inches across. The entire ball of the foot to be precise.
However, and this is important to me, it was way hotter than expected, and until I hit the 1/2 way point, I was burning along at a 20 minute/mile pace. For an old guy who walks, that’s fast. The speed fell off as the temperature passed 80 and by race end it was a chore to schlump along to the finish.
But I did. I set the goal of doing the race and did it. I even trimmed a little time off of last fall’s race in much warmer conditions. I practiced what I preach in Navigating Adversity. (I missed my time goal by less than 16 minutes, so pretty happy still!)
The best part of the race? Justin Morris, a young friend (who is a fire fighter) from church was running his first marathon and told me his goal was 5 hours. I told him I’d wait for him at the finish line and cheer him on as my goal was 4:30. He lapped me three times during the race. He finished an hour ahead of me, and took 3rd place in the standings! Now that’s one heck of a first marathon.
I got to the finish line and he and his cousin, a young lady from my church named Codie, were there cheering loudly as I crossed the timing strip.
I’ve finished countless 1/2 marathons – I mean, I literally lost track at around 20 of the things. And of all those 1/2 marathon finishes, I don’t remember a sweeter experience than seeing those two there at the finish line. It was a complete, and wonderful, surprise.
And here we are at the finish. I love doing this, I love my wife, my church, my work, and these two friends. Life is good.