Friday, November 25, 2011

"Worst Parade EVER!"

That was one of my favourite signs seen during my first ever marathon. Last Sunday, me and 10,000 of my closest friends ran the Philadelphia Marathon. One of those people was Colleen, from The Fit Bee. You can read her report here. As she said, a big special THANK YOU shout out to ARCTIC EASE for helping to make this possible. They are a major sponsor of the event, as well as a big supporter of me and my running craziness. Their product played a BIG roll in my training and recovery from the event.
Imma start right off by saying that it was a great, wonderful, emotional experience. Sounds cliche, for sure, but for those of you who have been there, you'll understand. Sadly, my wife and kids weren't able to make the trip with me, but I am glad to have had some friends in attendance. One really cool thing is that I got to run into some family friends who I haven't seen in over 10 years. Talk about a small world!
The beginning of the race flew by; I was able to stay between 9-945 pace, which is what i had planned. My intent was to go for slightly negative splits over the second half, so if i had any chance of doing that, i had to go a little slower in the beginning. Good thing i did, too....
My main concern going into the event were my feet. One pair of sneakers makes my RIGHT foot hurt after 8 ish miles, while the other makes my LEFT foot hurt after only about 6 miles. I chose the former, and taped my left foot just in case. I was fine until near mile 10 when the right foot started to ache right where i thought it would. So far, though, the left was fine. The crouds were amazing; i did my best to pump them up as our little group passed them by. It was pretty cool to hear them come to life after i was raising my arms up in the air NFL style.
Around mile 15, i noticed that every time my left foot swung forward it felt like there was water sloshing around my foot. Strange. So of course i kept running, and around mile 17 (i think?) i finally stopped and took off my sneaker. My sock was soaked with sweat, and then i realized what the sloshing was; the tape had gotten pretty tight after my foot started to swell, and there was fluid trapped around the end of my foot. I quickly took the tape off, rubbed my foot a bit, put my sock and shoe on, and got back into the race.
Ah. sweet relief. for my left, but not right. the right continued to bother me the entire race, and by the end it was nearly impossible to run on. I knew that the funcitionality hadn't been compromised, so i pushed through the pain as much as i could. The real show-slower for me was the cramps in my left quad, specifically my VMO, indicated in this picture:

What was it doing? well, it was doing its own thing, actually. Sometimes, when i planted my foot, it would ball up, other times it wouldn't. Sometimes when i lifted my leg, it would flatten out completely; disappearing under my skin. Odd. So i stopped a few times to stretch it out, but then my hamstrings started to cramp, so i just interjected more walking into my pace. I watched sadly as the 4:30 pace group passed me and then disappeared out of sight. Strange.....I tried to drink some watered down gatorade, but almost puked it up, so i decided NOT to do that anymore and just gut it out. The last 3 miles were horrifically slow for me, but hey! I was moving forward and not passed out under blankets like a few people I saw off to the side.
As i climbed the last hill to the finish chute, people were cheering for us like banshees! It was great to see that many people still out there cheering, so late into the morning. The finish area was pure organized chaos. I've never seen a finish chute so long. the thing HAD to be 3 blocks long. well, maybe. i dunno. i ducked out early and headed to meet my pals.
The Expo was big, and fun, but not quite as big as I had expected. I met up with some other bloggers, albeit briefly, and that was pretty cool. What an intense group of young ladies I met!

Sadly, I can only remember Amanda (third from left). She has a better recap over on her blog. Their conversation started to turn to getting carded, etc., and I was all, "I've been OVER 21 longer than i was UNDER 21, so, yea. Nice to meet you, have a great race!" and I went back to my middle aged pals and probably talked about bunions, AARP memberships, and early-bird specials at Cracker-Barrel.
My (not middle aged) friend Colleen snapped this photo of me after the race. I am very greatful to have been able to participate in the event. As usual, my wife was UBER supportive, tolerand, and encouraging. ArcticEase was accomodating and helpful, too. Colleen,  Dan (@cubicledad), and others from twitter and IRL were helpful in keeping me going and keeping my head on straight. I greatly appreciate all that they did and continue to do for me. I've set my sights pretty high for 2012, but hey. That's what we do, right?
2011 Philadelphia Marathon 4:40:56


  1. Excellent! And you are still standing.

  2. Great race Gene! It seems like this time last year you were sort of a duffer runner, but now you are a speedy marathoner. Nice report!

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