So, when we last heard from our hero, he was bravely talking smack about how much he loves to suffer and about how he was gonna march in the footsteps of some of his heroes, stare the Richmond Marathon straight in the eye, purse his lips and squash that thing like a bug.
Been watching a few too many action movies lately, maybe.
Richmond Marathon: Typhooned it. Needed a sub-3:30 to grab a Boston Marathon qualifier. Finished in 3:47. And tweaked my right hammy. Ugly work, this Richmond. Butt ugly.
Given that 8:00 miles is 3:29 and change, I started out at a reasonably comfy 8:10 pace for the first five miles, then began dialing it down from there. Hit 10 miles at 55 seconds slower than BQ and the half-marathon mark at 40 seconds slow. Peachy! Also pretty hot. As in “we’re calling for 58F and 20mph winds but what you’re really getting is 70F and, well, by the time the stand-your-scrawny-***-straight-up wind is in your face, it ain’t gonna manner any more anyway.”
Reduced to a jog by 18 or so. Reduced to a head-down shuffle by 19. Thank God my ultra buddy Mike Lipton cruised by at 20 so that I had somebody to snivel with as we did a 4-minute run/1-minute walk routine from 21 to the end. Felt decent by Mile 24 or so, but still was very glad when it was over. Mike, you carried me to the finish, bud. I owe you big time. And thanks to Michelle for hanging out with me for a couple hours afterward while I licked my figurative wounds, and to Heidi J. for letting me commandeer one of her “old” half-zip pullovers so I didn’t get hypothermia as the sun went in and the temps dropped to quasi-normal mid-November numbers. Strong reminders all that I am little without my friends.
VHTRC 50km: Speaking of friends, I took the show on the road to Clifton a month later for the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Fat-Ass 50km, a gem of a run on single- and double-track trails at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. Ran the first 21 miles with Mike Broderick, with whom I once shared the entirety of a Mohican 100-Miler and who I haven’t seen nearly enough in the three years since. Great fun running, laughing and route-finding through the Do Loop with Mike before he pressed on from the final aid station a bit faster than I wanted to go. Not long out of that final stop, I lucked into the delightful company of Rick Kerby and Jim Miller, good runners and two of the sharpest wits I know. Good times sharing the final 4 miles and change with those two knuckleheads as we finished in 6:28, a stronger day than I’ve had at that run in many, many moons. Much fun at the post-run pizza fest too.
Richmond – rugged. And then some. VHTRC 50km – a veritable walk in the park.
There are no guarantees. Part of the fun of it all.