Sunday, November 2, 2008

My 3+ Hour Test Of Will.

If I ever had any doubt about the human spirit, it was all put to rest today.
As you all know, I’ve been having bad tightness in my right calf, since my stupidity from just this past Wednesday ( I will never ever do that again. Taper. Taper. Taper.)

Well, this morning in antartica, or rather I should say Fort Wadsworth, I had dread in me as I duck under the covers. The pain in my right leg was very noticeable. I had doubts whether to even run at all. Between the Ben Gay self-adhesive patches that I put on, and continuous massaging, I convinced myself that I can take on Goliath.

I will make this short, because I will give a full play by play later (and re-edit this blog), and then once again when the pictures are in, but I will say this. I went for broke. And I am glad I did. At one point I did one of my miles in 7:58. By the time I hit the halfway point, I was at 1:50, 11 minutes faster than last year. All this would have been believeable, except for the fact that I started developing cramps in the calf at mile EIGHT.

For 18 miles or so, I ran with pain. That’s over 3 hours of pure torture. I tried everything like mental (think of Jennifer, think of Palm Trees on a nice island resort) or physical (keep the strides short, keep the feet low to the ground, don’t weave around people). But nothing helped. By mile 11, the left leg began to go. That’s what happens when you depend on the other leg to save the bad one.

I was a mess.

So, was this my slowest race ever?


Was this my second slowest race ever?


Was I able to beat my 4:31 mark from 1984 when I did my first NYC Marathon?


But I didn’t run faster than last year (4:20:11), did I?


All along I have been saying that I would break 4 hours. Of course, that edict was handed to all of you prior to getting hurt. And yet until Mile 23, I still had a shot at breaking it.

Unfortunately, I was unable to. Even miracles have their limits.

However, despite running with pain for 18 miles, and at the age of 43, and 7 pounds overweight (tipped scale at 167 this AM), I have accomplished something that I have not done, since the ripe of age of 20.

I set a personal record for the Marathon.

4:08:19 is the unofficial time.

It bested my previous record of 4:09:47


And considering that Runner’s World listed the NYC Marathon as one of the toughest courses, I am mad pleased.

After the race, they gave us our medal. This year’s is beautiful with an image of Grete Waitz crossing the finish line. Superb.

Crowd control after the race was a helluva lot better than last year. I guess the corral system seemed to do it’s deed. And, despite the mile and half walk from exiting the park to the bus, that bus was the greatest move ever for me. I’ll be on it again next year for sure (at least getting to Staten Island)

I will be giving a mile by mile recap, along with tons of photos, some taken with my iPhone and some possibly scavengered from other sites, as soon as I have the energy to do this. But I will say this. If it wasn’t for a) my preparation for the race, and b) Jen’s beautiful emails that she sent me the other day, for which I laminated them and read them as I ran for encouragement, I would not have even been able to finish. She is the love of my life.

I was going to make something to eat. But I am beat, and my calves are hurting me (though not as bad).


DebbieJRT said...

Way to go, Alex! Congrats on the PR. Can't wait to hear all about it.

DGA said...

Amazing! I have no idea of what kind of music is debbiejrt talking about!
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BEST PERSONAL RECORD! I somehow knew thst by encouraging you to focus on one goal only, the sub-4, you would break your PR as a consequence, even without running under 4 hours. YOU DID IT.
Now take a good break to get that leg back in shape!
Here is your new objective now:
PUT A PICTURE OF JENNIFER on your next blog so we can all us get to know her too!

DGA said...

As usual, typing without a light, typographical mistakes, which I am not correcting anymore. But they are there.

Staci said...

Congrats on your PR!!! We had a gorgeous day for running, didn't we?