- Location: New Mexico: The Duke City Marathon
- Date: October 21, 2012
- Age: 46
- Time: 4 Hours 43 Minutes and 35 seconds.
(Mourad and I post race – he had time to go take a shower and come back for me!)
Friday October 19, 2012: (9:45 AM on the Southwest Flight)
Can’t believe we are on our way to Albuquerque! It’s fun being with Mourad as this is a mini vacation (much needed) for us. The weather report for race day is gorgeous! (51 degrees at the start, high 60’s by the end.)
We check into the Doubletree Hotel which is one block over from the starting/finishing line. No bus to take this year and a much smaller crowd (roughly 400 in the total of 5,000 for all races vs. 10,000 plus just for the marathon in Virginia.) Very different vibe as well – I can already tell this is a much more laid back crowd.
After we have some lunch we meet a couple that lives in Florida. The husband is here to run the race and his wife in support. He ran the Chicago Marathon two weeks ago and he has to be in his late 60’s. God love him. Running is one of the few sports which people actually thrive as they get older. So much for the wives’ tale that running hurts the knees! We are resting a bit before going out for good old New Mexico cuisine. As luck would have it, I am battling the first cold I have had in years. I am praying that I will stop blowing my nose by Sunday otherwise it shall add a rather dynamic slant to my marathon experience.
Saturday October 20, 2012:
Had a very restful evening last night while watching the San Francisco Giants keep their National League playoffs hopes alive! We had breakfast at the same place as lunch yesterday: Nick’s Route 66 Café. It is owned by a delightful Greek family. We also met another couple, Tom and Fran, from New Jersey. They have run 40+ marathons just THIS year. Again – another shining example of the beauty good health can bring you. They are amazing.
Just when you think you can’t meet anyone more phenomenal, we cross paths in the lobby with a gal named Sandy. She is here with her boyfriend. She STARTED running at age 66. She is currently 74. This marathon is #44 for her (yes – 44 – that’s what I said.) Did I also mention that she took off 3 years to have 2 hip replacements? Wow. Double wow. (And I feel lucky that I am here for my one a year!) I asked her if the doctor told her not to run and she said yes – initially. She tells me know that he uses her as an example of someone who is running WITH a hip replacement. She also cross trains lifts weights and works on her core. She exudes good health. My hero!
Later in the PM:
Getting ready to turn in after a magnificent Italian dinner at a restaurant called Scalo’s in the Nob Hill area. I hope we sleep tonight. We can literally see the starting line from our room. It doesn’t get more convenient then that!
Sunday October 21: (5:45 AM morning of the race)
I slept the best I ever have before a marathon. I gaze outside of my window and begin to see people gathering together at the start. I feel terrific except that I have to take medicine in order to stop the drippy nose. I know that this will affect my heart rate but I can’t keep blowing my nose for 4 hours. I am ready to take on Marathon #4 (Mourad – #10.) For my Honey, this is his first one outside of the state of California. What adventures await us today? Stay tuned to this station for news, official bulletins and all kinds of nonsense! Later dudes!
At the starting line – 6:55 AM:
Mourad and share one last smooch as we part ways (he to the head of the group and me to find the 4:30 pace group.) I meet our pace leader Annie. She is all of 27 and is an active duty Air Force soldier at a local base (later I will learn that many active duty soldiers volunteer at this marathon. It is a fundraiser for cancer research and prevention.) We have a few people in my group including a very interesting guy named Robert. He is an amputee running with a prosthetic leg. Residing now in Utah, he is originally from Southern CA.
7:00 AM – We’re off!
The sun is coming up and we are off! This is going to be the sunniest and warmest marathon thus far. I am wondering how the altitude is going to play a role today. So far I feel good except for the runny nose.
Around 8:00 AM:
Our first 4 miles are through the downtown area, after that we will connect to a running path along the river. This course is 13.1 miles out and back. When we are in the city there are people cheering but a relatively sparse laid back crowd. No big signs like you see in other marathons. Our little pace group is basically Robert, Annie and me but others come and go. We chat intermittently and talk about all kids of things but mostly I listen to Robert. He is amazing with this leg.
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM:
If you love flat, peaceful country type trails this is the marathon for you. The Hot Air Balloon Festival was last weekend in Albuquerque and you can see the balloons all along the path – very cool. Other then that it is VERY quiet. I look forward to seeing the ROTC volunteers at the water stations. No one looks like they are more then 18 years old – very nice kids though. I thank them for their service. I stop at some point for a potty break and lose Annie and group for a while. I catch up but lose them again as I had to “sprint” for a few miles to catch up (long line.) I never did get to see Annie again as the pace group changed leaders at the half way point. Now I am on my own.
As it is with all races, I fall in line with some different people. The next guy I meet is Bob from Alabama. He has five kids and another one on the way. (I swear I’m not making this up.) He is at least 10 years younger then me. He passes me, then poops out and then I pass him. We chat for a while and say goodbye when he gives up all hope of running.
More birds, more balloons, more nature…..a little too rural for me and too quiet. I sing to myself and say my prayers – a marathon ritual I have since they are on Sundays.
11:00 – 11:45 AM:
I know we are getting back to downtown but where are all the people? I feel like I’m out for a run. There are only a few people around me. I fall in line with a fourth year film student from UNM named Alex. He is very cute and I almost give him my daughter’s e-mail at college but I can see Alex is VERY tired. It is his first marathon and he is doing well but he is VERY tired. I pass him and take water at the last station. We are now at a park by a school. I don’t remember this school. Did I take a wrong turn? Maybe I am delirious. I know I am thirsty. I ask one of the people there if I am going the right way. They assure me I am so I soldier on.
The LAST Mile:
A very bubbly aerobic type teacher is cheering us on. I wish I had her a few miles back instead of the birds. She is assuring my small group that the finish line is just around the corner. Where are the people? I feel like I am intruding.
The FINISH LINE!
Yeah! People and the clock! I did it! No streamers, rockets or canons go off but at least there is SOME noise! I cross the line and am happy to say that Number 4 is finished. It is my slowest time ever but I did it and am happy that I ran the whole way. Mourad and I find each other. He smells nice and clean (unlike me) as he has had time to shower and change clothes since I finished. I limp to the medal area, grab water and thank God that I am strong and able to participate in this marvelous feat.
Next year? Not sure where but “God willing and the creek don’t rise” I will be there, in a new state and ready to take on the next challenge.
Thursday November 15, 2012