Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"for dad, grandad and diabetes" -- marathon no. 2 -- june 21, 2003

It's fairly accurate to say that I was a bit scarred—mentally and physically—from my first marathon, hence the year+ gap between events.

after my marathon debut, I experienced IT band problems that put me out of commission for quite some time. I also decided to focus a lot of my energy on cycling (then-bf was a semi-pro cyclist) and completed the seven day RAGBRAI (Regent's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) in the summer of 2002 (a must-do event...a complete blast).

I knew my promise to "never run another marathon" wouldn't last, though. thus, when I started fishing around for marathon no. 2 ideas, I stumbled across a flyer for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) advertising their "Team Diabetes" marathon group. my father had been diagnosed with type 2 the year before and my grandfather had passed away due to complications from the disease. I knew I had to sign up (plus the event was in Hawaii...hello!).

the $5000 fundraising minimum scared me (I don't do well at asking for money), but I knew the many generous people in my life would be supportive. I'm a writer so I figured a letter would be my first plan of attack (see above). and whoa, was it a success. at the time, I also worked at a restaurant to augment my just-out-of-school salary. many of my regulars were also so giving. by the time the june fundraising deadline rolled around, I was golden: over $5k in my account. sweet!

so how did that whole 26.2 training part go this time around? well, while the CODA was great at providing fundraising support, umm, training support? no so much. thus what did I do again? I found my way to runnersworld.com and that dear old beginners schedule. witness below how I keep track of all my training. such a nut!

training went seamless and I went into race day fairly fit. I also went into this 26.2 a lot smarter: I had a race plan and more than one Gu! I, however, was not the focus. I was doing this race for my dad and my late granddad aka Sport. race morning I wrote their names on my quads so I could look down and be reminded why I was running.

they weren't they only ones I was journeying for though. the pre-race pasta party stories left me completely awestruck—and absolutely inspired. so many of the people ready to run the next day were diabetes sufferers...running marathons in large part due to insulin pumps and other advancements made possible by funds like the $5k I had just raised. story after story left me more and more excited to be a part of this great organization—and to be helping so many in as many ways as possible.

naturally, I was pumped on race morning and ready to rock the course. I knew I was running the legendary Ironman Championship marathon course and I wanted to do it proud. as the race was in June, we started early—6am I believe—in order to avoid much of the day's soon-to-be scorching heat. the sun rose quickly (nearly the longest day of the year) and we were spared little. as we headed out to the notorious "energy lab"—aka black lava rocks EVERYWHERE—the temperature rose quickly. by the time I reached halfway, it was over 100F and rising. the blacktop and clear day were only making it hotter.

I rarely have problems with heat, but the day proved to be a tough one for me. I did everything to stay cool, but I knew I wasn't having my best day. no worries. I kept smiling at the wonderful volunteers and talking to many of the runners I encountered. I was here for daddy and Sport and so many others; whatever my time, the day would be a success.

after 4 hours 6 minutes and 29 seconds of pounding the kona pavement, I crossed the finish line exhausted, but elated. mission accomplished. 6th in my age group. 29th female. that would do. plus, this time I was ready for another. bring on marathon no. 3!

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