Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A mile by mile recap of the San Antonio Marathon

Mile 1- Everyone is smiling and running really hard right out of the gates. If it wasn’t for my running partner Jacob, I easily would have gotten caught up in the pack and ran way too hard in the beginning. There are clothes everywhere as runners are already shedding their excess clothing. You have to watch your step lest you get tangled up in orphaned neon colored windbreakers or a tacky Cape Cod sweater.

Mile 2- Awesome sign #1 “Run Like You Stole Something!!!”

Mile 3- Hey, look it’s the Alamo! That thing always looks way smaller than you think it will. History makes it seem so big. I gave half a thought about stopping in and asking to see the basement.

Mile 4- Awesome high school marching band playing off to the left shadowed by a giant inflatable cobra with a smoke machine in it’s mouth. The tuba player is totally in to it and is dancing like a madman. I am suitably pumped by this scene.

Mile 5- Awesome sign #2 “Free Lap Dance For Runners” as held by a very attractive and minimally dressed chica. Apparently marathoners are not great at basketball as none of them seem to be able to make their cups in the trashcans. Actually most of them don’t even seem to try to make it. Also, I just got passed by a man in a banana suit. This dude is hauling banana ass.

Mile 6- Just turned a corner to see a two or three story tall inflatable rock and roller complete with handlebar moustache, mullet and double neck guitar straddling the entire 4 lane street. Awesome! This helps take my mind off of my right knee, which is starting to get really tight and painful.

Mile 7- Awesome sign #3 “I Love Fast Women!”

Mile 8- I just passed Banana man. Apparently bananas are not built for endurance or it could be that running in a giant foam costume proved to be a little more difficult than he had anticipated

Mile 9- My right foot is really starting to hurt, it feels sort of like when you step on a few shards of broken glass.

Mile 10- Banana Man Just passed me again. I’m going to blame it on my foot and knee pain and not give him any credit for his obvious athletic prowess.

Mile 11- Headed into a very industrial area, the street conditions are pretty bad and I’m scared that I’m going to trip or twist an ankle.

Mile 12- Just ran past the Mission Concepción, which is the oldest unrestored church in the US. Beautiful site. Also right about now, the elite marathoners are passing me on the opposite side of the street. It’s a little over 2 hours in and they are already on their home stretch. I briefly consider hopping the median and joining them in pursuit of glory, but my conscience gets the better of me. Stupid conscience.

Mile 13.1- A really nice lady not affiliated with the marathon is handing out sliced oranges. They are the best tasting oranges ever. Now at the halfway point I take stock of my situation and decide that I can do this! I’m starting to slow down at this point so Jacob, who has really helped me keep a good pace, starts to speed ahead. From this point on I will be going it alone.

Mile 14- Now passing the Mission San José another beautiful 300 year old church. Them Spaniards really knew how to build ‘em. Also, my right knee is really starting to flare up.

Mile 15- I am now running the steepest hill on the course and it’s near several refinery like buildings. The smell and the sights are not very pleasant or motivating. There is a bright spot though. This crazy spectator who I had first seen around mile 11 is standing about halfway up the hill shouting at everyone and patting us on the back. I can’t tell you how much it helps.

Mile 16- I had just eaten some trail mix which is a welcome respite from the Cliff bar and all the energy gels I had eaten when a piece of a cashew gets lodged in my throat. Not enough to choke but enough to make me cough. Only as soon as I cough a wave of cramps races down my body from my chest to my abs, to my thighs and calves. Everything cramps up on me at the same time. I am 10 miles from the finish and everything hurts when I move, but I’m afraid to stop because I worry that if I do stop my limbs will completely lock up. So I keep moving slowly but surely.

Mile 17- I’m not going to lie, everything hurts at this point. Both knees are really hurting and my calves and thighs are still cramped. This would be the lowest point of the race. If there were a point where I felt like pulling out this would be. Runners will tell you that one the hardest parts of distance running is dealing with the logical part of your brain that tells you to stop because you are hurting your body. Luckily my brain is wired wrong and it puts pride and embarrassment over physical pain, so I keep on truckin’.

Mile 18- Awesome sign #4 “It’s Not Sweat, It’s Your Fat Cells Crying!” This sign really picks up my spirits and literally makes me laugh out loud, or as I like to call it LLOL.

Mile 19- I was just passed by a guy in his mid to late 60’s. He is wearing a shirt that says he is part of the 50 state marathon club. This blows my mind. A marathon in every state? This man must be crazy. I designate him as the person I have to beat. He pulls ahead but I manage to keep the same pace and not let him get to far in front.

Mile 20- Awesome sign #5 “Your Feet Are Hurting Because You‘re Kicking So Much Ass!” I remember how everyone was smiling and joking when we all passed the starting line, well not so much anymore. Everyone has that same kind of grimacing look on his or her face. At this point I notice my knee brace has begun cutting into my skin and it hurts quite a bit. I decide to run without the brace the rest of the way, hoping my knee doesn't buckle.

Mile 21- Just passed a runner sprawled out on a stretcher being tended to by the paramedics. Only 5 miles left and I’m scared I’ll be the next one being loaded in to an ambulance.

Mile 22- I just caught back up to 50 state marathon old guy. He has slowed down quite a bit so I take the opportunity pass him. Also we are running by a pretty nice golf course. The golfers don’t seem to appreciate the cheerleaders cheering us on as they are trying to putt.

Mile 23- Back in the really industrial part of town with the horrible roads. If there was a place that I’m going to bite the dust it would be here, but as luck would have it 50 state marathon old guy passes me again and takes my attention off the roads and gives me a little motivation to speed up just a tad.

Mile 24- Awesome sign #6 “Chuck Norris Never Ran A Marathon!”

Mile 25-The Mile 25 sign is actually missing, but there is a nice man holding a yellow legal pad and scribbled out Mile 25 for us. I thought this was awesome. Just as I pass this mark I get a welcome surprise, my friend Nick who had finished an hour earlier is walking towards me and turns around and runs with me for the next mile. This is the biggest boost of the race for me as I was just about out of energy and will. He runs with me up until right before the home stretch and then heads back into the stadium to wait for me to cross the finish line.

Mile 26- Not finished yet! Awesome Sign #7 “Look Alive, This Isn’t A Mortuary”

Mile 26.2- I somehow find enough energy to run as hard as possible forgetting about the knee pain and the muscle cramps. All that matters is crossing the finish line. I see my Dad screaming and cheering right before I cross and it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s all over. Something I never thought possible. It was the single most painful, most difficult and most rewarding experience I have ever had.


MIchele Reeves said...

Adored reading this Tyler!!

Tyler said...

Thanks! It really was a unique experience.

breezy said...

Tyler I've said it once and I'll say it again. You need to seriously look into writing as a career my friend, not joking!

i would read stalk your ass all over the place! Reading this made me go through a number of emotions, it started with "wow what a clever break down of the miles", literal out loud laughter, a flash back to when i used to run remembering the pure excitement-pain-joy-frusteration-adrenaline-acomplishment-the fight you have with your mind vrs body who's gonna win constant conversation, yeah all of that goodness that makes up a running junkie. I even teared up towards the end when nick came back to run with you, and then the idea of seeing your dad, because lets face it the love and hate relationship with anyones family no matter whats going on when competing and seeing them cheering really pushes you more then anything you could imagine. but most of all i am proud, proud to know you and call you a friend, proud of you for finishing this race and still wanting to run (insert running junkie title here :)) and i'm just excited i found this, this morning while eating breakfast, who needs a lame depressing paper with a story to read like this! hope to get to run with you someday buddy, big hug, keep it up!

ps since my injury when my running junkie title was ripped from my clenching hands. It's all i can do to not curse at runners when we pass them in the car, or jokingly try and bribe the driver to run them over with rewards such as points or money (who am i kidding jokingly HA!) this is the first time i have read anything about running that has not made me bitter but made me enjoy the run through someone else, something i never thought possible. so thank you for that. :)