As I was driving home today from my absolute implosion (spoiler alert) at the 大田原マラソン (Otawara Full Marathon), I thought back to this scene / quote from the awesome movie The Color of Money with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.
Towards the end of the movie when Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) gets back into playing pool himself he has this great short scene in a pool tournament:
I (Ted) would be playing the role of Duke in the scene...
Click on the above image for a portion of the scene - love it!
Anyway... what an absolute disastrous race today. Wow. I would have never thunk it before the race.
To review for those keeping score at home I am trying to break 3 hours in a full marathon before I am kicking up daisies.
And towards that goal I managed to take a big fat step backward today...
So anyway, here was a picture prior to the race:
I was absolutely ready to go! While I was coming off an injury from July - September, I was (am!) 100% healthy on the injury front now, and as I know my body and my running pretty well, I realistically figured I would come in around somewhere between 3:05 ~ 3:08.
Earlier this spring I was in really good running shape (for me) and I thought I had a real chance to break 3 hours, but it didn't happen. And while for this race I had not built back up to that level after my injury, I thought if everything went perfectly I could find myself in the hunt at the end for a sub 3.
Well... ... ... err... ... ... Not so much.
So here is how it went down...
Prior to the race I ended up relieving my intestinal track too much, and that coupled with it being a later start (10:00am) found me hungrier than normal prior to the race.
So I got a bowl of udon noodles - I only ate the noodles, and while udon noodles are super plain I am thinking that as I don't eat them that much, this is what messed with me (read on).
Anyway, the race go underway, all was normal for about the first 3 or 4 miles.
Then I started getting a pretty good side stitch. Although I figured "Ok, I have got plenty of these before, it will go away after a few miles, just run through it". So I figured I would.
I had it on and off for the first half of the race, and crossed the half-way mark of the race in 1:34 on my watch and figured "Ok... I spent the first half of the race dealing with this side stitch, and thus didn't spend a lot of 'real' running energy, I am good to go here, while I may not break 3 hours, 3:05 should still be in the cards".
And so I was rolling normally around until about mile 15, when my right side stitch spread to my entire stomach area and stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't even walk!
It was massive pain and it was wrecking my entire race... Argh... what a total-total pisser! "What have I done to deserve this after bringing myself back from injury since September!" I thought.
I then had to walk bent over for about 2 min, and then slowly could at least walk normally, and I figured "Crap, this really, really, really, sucks!!! I am going to have to just cash in my chips and call it a day".
But then I thought, "No, I have got to respect the institution of the marathon, suck it up, take your medicine (metaphorically speaking), swallow your pride, and finish this S.O.B. out!".
So I tried... I really tried... Respect the institution of the marathon Ted!!! I thought to myself.
But my whole stomach area was cramping like crazy. And the weird thing is that I never have such problems during my long runs... What the f***!?!?!
From like around mile 15 to mile 18 I could hardly walk. I was in utter disbelief. What had I done to deserve this crap-a** fate.
So I was like "Screw the institution of the marathon, I am done with this bull-s***!!!"
And so I asked volunteers out on the course if there was a way to cut the race to the end, as I was D. O. N. E. done.
I was told if you can make it to the 35km mark, then you are at the stadium ending area. So I was like 'great'. And so I fully planned on dropping at that point, so was just walking, talking to people, being the fun foreigner in the race (I counted 3 others out of about 5 thousand), screwing off, and again planning to just cash in my chips at 35km and call it a day and DNF. Screw the institution of the marathon. I could hardly walk.
Then I got to around the 35km mark - I was thinking I would be at the finish area (and the course would take the runners 'out' for another 7km, it was not the case - I was still a ways away). It was actually an explicit place to "リタイア" (retire). Side note: when you call it a day in a race in Japan it is called to "retire" - the word is taken from the English word to 'retire' so it sounds pretty much like the English word (just like it in Katakana). I love that. I don't know why, but I find it hilarious that one would "retire" from a single race. Having said that I was fully planning to 'retire' from this race..
Anyway, at this place to 'retire' / cash in your chips I learned after conferring with people there for a few minutes, that I would have had to wait at least 30 minutes in the "retire" area to get a bus back to the finishing area.
S***... ... I could walk to the finish faster than that.
So I just sucked it up and started to mix walk-jog. And I was stopping to give just about every volunteer, and 100% of every kid out on the course a high five - actually I was giving high-tens (both hands) with most of the kids, and thus was the resident joker most of the rest of way in chatting it up with everyone around me the rest of the way in. It was fun to now be having fun and making something enjoyable out of something so crappy.
I had been walking so much and intended to quit so I had no idea what my time would be.
3:45... 4 hours...? Had no idea.
Then finally around 39 or 40 kilometers my stomach massive stitches went away...
Are you kidding me!!!?
So I went into like a 6:30 pace for the last 2 kilometers of the race just for the hell of it, swerving around giving high-fives, and was passing people like nobodies business.
"Ohh... ... Mr. Big Shot running fast the last mile of the race after completely screwing the pooch up until then".
Anyway, I learned at the very finish my time was 3:35. What a joke. My first marathon ever was a 3:39.
BTW I don't mean that in any way other than to comment on what I - myself should be capable of. As finishing a marathon no matter what someones pace is is awesome. I only mean that as much as I run, that is not a good time.
Anyway... so here I sit eating a big piece of metaphorical Humble Pie...
But you know what...
I will realize my dream of running under a 3 hour marathon. I just wasn't to be today. And in reality with my injury in July - Sept I know I am still not there yet but it is coming around. I will have my day!
I am going to get a running coach over the Holidays back in the US to help me get there. I need it. I am banging my head against the wall at this point.
Even with all of this I am not to be deterred though. Running is still so fun. I love absolutely everything about it!
And whether you run slow, fast, semi-fast, or whatever it is pace that you/I run at, it has in my case, besides my awesome family, given me such happiness in life. And thus I find it hard to be mad at running...
So after I (continue) to drink here tonight and eat a bunch of crappy food for a few days... (why did I eat all these fu-fu foods for like 9 months - all for nothing! Time to eat crappy for a bit!) I will then be back at it baby!
So how about something kick-ass, as this blog entry is not. How about this awesome MSU Spartan Nike commercial....?!
Finally... Running is Awesome!!!