Did anyone else see this sign near Mile One?
” JOHN, I’M PREGGERS ”
A keen eyed follower of this space has informed me that a runner who entered the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday went left instead of right ( See my previous post) as opposed to me who went right instead of left and completed the full marathon.
The full story is here:http://6abc.com/society/teen-accidentally-runs-full-philadelphia-marathon/1096751/
If the link doesn’t work I’m sure you all know how to look this stuff up by your own bad selves or get your kids to do it.
But apparently it’s true. So a tip of the hat to the kid.
Thanks for all the likes, it’s nice to get positive feedback especially on something that’s important to me and clearly all of you.
My purpose in writing that post was a reminder not take things or myself too, too seriously especially when I look around the world today.
If I had gone left instead of right I probably would have gotten a room at the Manayunk Hilton where I’d still be holed up.
If you’ve run the Philadelphia Marathon you know there is a point about 12.5 miles into the race where the course splits left and right. Go left and it’s another 13 miles. Stay right and the finish line for the half comes into view.
Yesterday knowing myself as well as a runner can I took the fork in the road towards the cheers and leaned right as looked left and waved the full and what would have been my last marathon goodbye.
Undertrained and trailing nagging injuries is not how I wanted to run a full marathon yesterday. I took the pass and will always have the pleasant memory of my seven previous Philadelphia Marathons.
I wrestled with my decision for the first six miles and at six I realized that I didn’t have another twenty in the tank but I sure could dial up a seven point one.
I probably could have run 18 miles yesterday but that would have left me many miles from the finish line and headed in the wrong direction.
Discretion, in the long run, is the better part of not being stupid and a left turn at the split would have been a nightmare.
So there was really no ” Lady or the Tiger” decision to be made. I’m glad I knew which way I was going to go when I got to the point where I would have had to decide because who knows what would have been going on in my head if I had to choose in real time at the exact time I would have had to made that choice. Got all that? I probably would have stopped running and caused all kinds of running traffic problems.
I finished the half with a fine sprint, got my gear and finishers’ medal and never looked back wondering or wishing or hoping what might have been.
I’ve graduated to being a confirmed half marathoner from here on out. Another full might be fun but I’m done. Running more halfs definitely will be fun.
The weather was great, heard Bill Rodgers speak at the expo, bought some guaranteed instant pain relief cream which sorta works. Bill and the Mayor were at the starting line working the crowd.
The crowds were terrific as usual, almost everyone had a smile on their face and that includes me when I crossed under that big banner that read “Half Marathon Finish Line.”
Thinking today about what makes us and me put ourselves through 26 miles at one time. My brain offers this:
It’s an adventure and as we age and get older we don’t get the chance to have adventures anymore.
Scout camp – that was an adventure, family vacations at the shore, going to Uncle Louie’s for Thanksgiving, an adventure for kids and maybe not so much for adults. All bona fide adventures when you look a them through your young eyes.
It’s a personal triumph for you your heart, your body, your will and spirit. A chance to say, ” I did this” and something that no one can ever take away.
Years back I worked in a scenery shop for a while and Friday afternoons were always special. Around 4 o’clock work stopped, beer appeared and we had what the boss called ” Admiration Time” wherein we sat down, relaxed and admired all that we had accomplished and built during the week.
Sometime on Sunday afternoon and into Monday and for as long as I can stand myself I’ll be in admiration mode for that something I accomplished on Sunday morning.
On Monday morning at 30th Street Station I know I’ll see dozens of people wearing their marathon shirts and maybe a few even still sporting their medals.
And it’s special because we’ll all share that common bond of what we did on Sunday. Even though I probably won’t know any of those fellow marathoners a simple nod is all it takes to say, ” Yeah, we did this didn’t we”?
Before I write the rest of this pat myself on the back post script for Sunday I better make sure that I get out and do what needs to be done.
It’s something that I’m looking forward to in 3 days, 9 hours and 23 minutes and counting.
It used to be June when all this started and now what looked like a speck on the horizon is only 3 days, 9 hours and 22 minutes away.
3 days, 9 hours, 21 minutes.
Having a good day. Feet don’t immediately hurt getting out of bed in the morning. Blue sky, cool temps and big plans. I’m on a roll and I haven’t even gotten started yet.
I’m at my local farmers’ market or as we locals refer to it, ” Market.” Say you went to Market everyone knows where. Not “The” Market, just Market. It works.
The morning is chilly so I slip on my jacket with the logo that proudly proclaims ” Philadelphia Marathon, 2005.” The logo is grey on a black jacket, nothing flashy. I bought it back in the old days when the marathon provided chicken soup and other refreshments to all finishers and the expo was in a tent at the start/finish line. Is soup still on the menu? Is there still a menu? I don’t know, doesn’t matter.
At market purchasing apples and a youngish adult spots behind the counter sees the logo and asks ” Did you run the marathon?”
I proudly say yes and add that I’m planning to run another one on Sunday. Heh, heh, ain’t I great or what?
He says, and I quote,” Well, pardon me for saying this but you look kinda old to run a marathon.”
The comment was not intended to be mean, just an honest observation I suppose. Two points for honesty.
We continue to talk about nothing in particular but then I move on to pick some other essentials like brownies and pears.
Looking forward to a sunny day and a long, cool run on Sunday with the wind at my back and that brownie in my pack. Kinda old? Why I oughta …
Mostly I just laugh at myself. And remember to use the episode as a reminder not to take myself or Sunday too seriously. The finish line? I’ll get there when I get there. After all, I’m kinda old. Ha!
Crazy, cranky, nervous, happy, unhappy, worried, confident, obsessed, compulsive, irrational, calm, collected and double checking the packing list daily just to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything like socks or shorts or energy bars or sunglasses or body glide or shoes or your confirmation email.
Mood swings and thoughts ranging from “Why did I do this to myself again?” to ” I think I can do it” to ” I got this” ( note – this thought does not occur often during taper).
I’m visualizing the course and also the wait at the starting line. What do I wear extra and when do I toss it? What snacks to I carry and when do I eat them?
Makes me crazy but it keeps me sane if that makes sense. If you’ve run 26 then I think you get it. I think I get it. By 1 pm on Sunday afternoon it will be a wonderful and sore memory.
I can’t wait. That’s the true translation for the word ” taper.”
Bill Rodgers is scheduled to speak at the Expo. Watch this space to see if I get to meet him.
An observation on the power going out downtown today and what happened when all the traffic lights went dark.
Somebody hit a pole or something but the end result was that power was cut to a section of downtown. The city ran cops out to control major intersections and traffic moved smoothly.
But on the smaller streets no longer controlled by stoplights an interesting thing happened. Public works dropped off four foot high stop signs and placed them at intersections where police officers were not stationed. And then something pretty cool happened.
Drivers politely stopped at the stop signs, looked left and right, made eye contact with other drivers and pedestrians and everyone took turns driving through the intersection. Traffic ran smoothly, there was no stop light grand prix getting from light to light since we all knew that we’d have to stop anyway.
Amazingly, I got across town faster than I would with traffic lights in normal operation. Right turn on red was no longer a take your life in your hands situation. Pedestrians rejoiced.
All on a beautiful, windy and sunny November afternoon. Have a great weekend and be careful out there.
There’s a lesson somewhere in this I’d say.
I’m 15 days and 13 hours away from the starting line in Philadelphia and so with that in mind my mind has started focussing exclusively on me, what I need to do to get there in a timely manner, what to eat, what not to eat, when to get up, what to pack, what to wear, when to toss away the first t shirt, how long to keep the sweatshirt and on and on.
All summer long it’s been lace ’em up and go. Sometimes long, sometimes short and sometimes not at all. Those choices are gone in about two weeks as my only option is to head east as the sun rises over the Delaware River, make a right turn at I-95 and follow the crowd for the next 20 miles.
I can see where family members get fed up with all this marathon me, me, me stuff so my apologies in advance. I could take up some other destructive habits like smoking, drinking, texting while driving or day trading stocks so back off.
There is no snow in the forecast so that narrows the wardrobe selections down a bit and the temps will not be near freezing so that also influences the choices.
One year in Philly it was cold, so cold in fact that water spilled at the stops froze on the ground and luckily someone had the foresight to provide sand and ice melt at the water stops. A helpful note – Gatorade freezes too just in case you were wondering.
Aside from the externals like food, hotels and train tickets is what is beginning to go in my head and not that it’s unpleasant but it’s part of marathon.
Show of hands – How many of you who have run a marathon walk around the expo and think to yourself “Geez – All these people look like real runners, they will all probably run 3:30’s and I’ll be following the trash truck that sweeps up litter.”
The expo can be intimidating can’t it?. One year I met Bill Rodgers at the Philadelphia Expo and got his autograph. Nice guy and a pretty fair runner too I hear.
Today during my run as I passed through three miles I tried to remember where three hits in Philly and how I have felt at that point in the past. And how it feels at 5 and 7 and so on.
Also in my memory banks are the feelings of watching the above mentioned 3:30 runners heading towards the finish line while I’m on my way out to Manyunk and the turnaround. Philadelphia may be fast and flat but it’s cruel in that way. You get to watch everyone faster than you heading in while you are still heading out.
In the spirit of fair play I have to add that at a certain point in time and mileage I’m heading in while others are still running away from the finish line. Life and 26 miles can be cruel.
There is a blog post from yesterday further down the line with a link to an article from The New Yorker. It’s about what we (the enigmatic running public) think about when we run. Go find it if you can.
And what do we think about? What do we wish, what do we dream about, what do we pray for, who do we think about on our 26 miles?
I think of the Astronauts Prayer which goes something like this “Dear Lord, don’t let me screw up.” My version is ” Dear Lord, let me finish.”
I think about songs, I sing out loud, I tell jokes, I make friends. The crowd at 5 hours plus is very receptive to humor since we generally have a lot of time to talk and get to know one another. One time I ran into a guy from my town in the middle of 30,000 people. Our kids went to high school together. Go figure.
So back to the thinking – when I’m 5 miles from those lovely electronic timing mats at the finish line I imagine that I’m running a local 5 miler and using those mental mile markers against the actual marathon miles. Sometimes it works but most times it doesn’t. There are not too many unknowns in running a marathon. It’s Point A to Point B. Pretty simple except for the unknowns in your head, heart and legs.
On the surface running a marathon for anyone would seem to outsiders as just being a case of lacing ’em up and running. But we know different don’t we?
In a couple of ways I have been looking forward to these last few days before the marathon for the introspective thoughts they bring and the terrific feeling of being alive and attempting to do something ridiculous and wonderful for myself.
These two weeks are part of my marathon training too.
This is gonna be great.