Around the middle of this past October, I was struggling with motivation to exercise. I would do one occasionally, but I couldn’t force myself to get in the pool, and cycling sound awful. However, after seeing the newly-redesigned Tallahassee Marathon course as a lead cyclist last February had me thinking…A $94 entry fee, a challenging course, and a community of athletes that would hold me accountable for whether or not I showed up and raced…
DONE! I registered for the full marathon. It would be my first standalone marathon—as I had “run” (completed, with about 10 miles of walking) the marathon at the end of Ironman World Championships in 2013.
And from the beginning of November through race day today, I really did stay far more motivated than before my registration.
I suffered some ups and downs, as most athletes do during training. I took some time off for sickness; I skipped workouts I didn’t enjoy or think were fun…Frankly I struggled with developing a comprehensive, cohesive plan, with me, myself, and I as coach. Ultimately I lost one or two CRUCIAL long runs as a result of some extreme groin tightness/pain. But I did get to the point where I was no longer NERVOUS about the impending race. Just apprehensive.
Come race morning, I felt good. The weather was chilly, I slept well the night before, and woke up easily.
I even had enough energy and breath around mile four to joke with the videographer who was roaming around on a golf cart about how I thought getting low and shooting up into the canopy of trees on Calhoun street would be cool. And not only did he take my advice, but I’m in the shot!
Onwards I went. Plowing ahead with ease. 7:05 pace was a breeze on the hilliest section of the course. For the first 15.5 miles, I was CRUSHING IT. On pace—feeling good.
Around mile 16 or 17, I realized that missing a long run over 17 miles was going to be an issue. My quads were getting really tight, bordering on cramping, and I was running out of gas. In fact, miles 18 through 22 were probably the hardest miles mentally and physically that I’ve ever done. And they were slow.
I split 1:32 for my first half marathon, and dropped to 1:52 for the second…Ouch!
But I refused to give up. As a fundraiser for the for the Hang Tough Foundation, I thought about how if those little kids could battle cancer and win, I could suffer for three and a half measly hours and live to tell the tale. I thought about close friends battling chronic illnesses, and how they manage to amaze me on a regular basis, and new I’d be betraying them if I quit over some discomfort. Pain. Yeah. Pain. So I ended up walk-running the last six or so miles.
And most importantly, I knew if I gave up and put a DNF (did not finish) on the score sheet at the end of the race, I’d be letting down all the people who gave up their Sunday morning to come and support me.
What sort of lesson would I be teaching to the seven little swimmers I coach that showed up in various places on the course to cheer me on? What would I be showing the close family friends who made signs, mentored me, and frequently gave me advice?
No. Quitting was not an option.
And I did finish. With a final time of 3:24 and change, I wasn’t displeased, but I certainly wasn’t HAPPY.
It was one of, if not the hardest race I’ve ever done. Both mentally and physically.
Most wonderfully though, I got to hug my mother, and then my dear girlfriend Madison at the finish line.
And Madison gave me my medal…! ❤
But really, I just wanted to say thank you to the number of people that went out of their way to encourage me, cheer for me, and just in general motivate and uplift me.
It really meant more than they (you) could ever know.
Thank you for your time—hopefully you won’t have to hear about me doing a marathon again any time soon (or maybe ever)…
Thanks again all,