Last Sunday I traveled 26.2 miles by foot. I ran most of it, walked the last bit. Before we get to the end though, I have a few thanks.
There were three coaches for the Team in Training folk. One, Sheri Hoppner, was a 'walk' coach. Even though I aspired to be a runner, Sheri always seemed the most accessible and she was a frequent source of info during the five months of training. And, during the marathon she caught up with me at some point (later then 15 miles, but before the 20 mile point) and walked me in. I mean, wth? But that was the thing. I was in Purple and so they had my back. And, by highlighting Sheri, I don't want to minimize the run coaches. If I asked they told. And I used their schedule to get me from couch to course in 5 months. Thanks to Rich and Tony as well.
Under the Team In Training coaches, organizationally, are mentors. Each mentor had a handful of trainees for whom they were responsible. Making sure we made it to practice, answering questions, and providing support etc. My mentor was Judy Seibold and she was terrific throughout. But on race day, after she finished her half-marathon
, she tracked me down and became a one person swag source. Around mile 20
Judy showed up to see how I was doing. At that point, the answer was 'not well'. She handed over pretzels, water, Gatorade, M&M's - i.e., everything she had on her that might help. And then disappeared. Only to reappear at mile 24 with even more (and different) stuff. And then again at the finish. She was great.
Other team mates and mentors were incredibly supportive as well. I might have been able to do this without the purple folk, but it wouldn't have been as rewarding.
My good friend Larry Sharpe, a Pacific Grove
resident, came up to cheer me on. I thought it was nice enough that he was in the neighborhood, but he decided to ride along on his bike. At first he was going to just ride the first half, but he had so much fun that he postponed his other morning plans and stayed with me. It was great having him. We solved some serious software problems in the first half of run and I was grateful for the distraction. Larry likes to ride his bike. Last summer he rode from Folsom back to Pacific Grove. So, this 26.2 miler was a cake ride.
Patty Hoffman is a new friend, also a marathoner (like me....) and offered run the last half with me. She was great. She'd been there, done that. Her job was to give me her life story so I wouldn't be thinking about my current story. She kept pace, as long as I could, suggested strategies, monitored water intake and outflow and generally kept me upright. As a former Team in Trainee, I think she enjoyed being back in the fold and seeing old friends.
Finally, Steve and Ed. Steve White and I have been having lunch or breakfast together for eons. Steve was also a Team in Training runner & mentor and even did the database for the local chapter. (Patty was one of Steve's mentees, I think.) Ed Ryan, a friend of Steve's, also a runner and Patty's husband, joined the lunch cabal about a year ago and I became a runner due to periodic proximity. It's all their fault. They were of no help during the prep. Typical advice was 'suck it up' and "stretch? why would you do that?"
Ok, still reading? On with the day.
It started early. The run started at 7:30, but Team In Training wanted us there at 6:30 for pictures. So, we were out of the house at 6:00. Molly was up from Oakland to handle transportation and cheering responsibilities. She'd been home for the first three months of the training and continued her supportive ways.
During the night, the Team In Training fairy came by and posted something in the front yard.
We were in a hurry, so I had to leave that there all day. Sigh.
Molly dropped me off and I wandered around Land Park taking it all in. Found Larry and we talked while Molly went for Lilah so they were both back for the start of the marathon.
And then we were off. The first 13 miles (the first lap around the course) went pretty well. Here I am, smiling at about mile 8:
There were about a half-dozen bands playing along the way and it was all pretty entertaining.
A special treat showed up at mile 10. I turned a corner and saw some munchkins holding a sign, which I couldn't read until I got a bit closer:
The Steele's (minus John who was visiting his dad) were out to make sure I was properly inspired. It was great to see them. They curved back around with the sign at about mile 16.
The first half went well. I was pretty chipper as I went past what was the finish line for the half-marathoners. A little sore, but in the game.
But shortly thereafter I had a new symptom - nausea. That hadn't happened during any of my training runs and I really wasn't sure what the treatment was. The faster I moved (and 'fast' was a relative term at that point) the worse I felt. So, the solution was to walk. The last 6 was at a slow walking pace. Up to that point I was on a 6 hour pace, but that was gone.
And that's where the support was really helpful. Tony, one of the run coaches, rode along for a while, but it was mostly Patty, Larry, Judy and Sheri keeping me going. Larry turned down some pretty serious money for his bike.
But, really, after all that training and all that support, there was no way I wasn't going to finish.
It picked up again once I got back to the park and was within the last mile. Ed was there, Lilah, Molly and Jeanine were there. Mom even met me at the finish line (to tell me she'd made a pest of herself with race staff.)
It takes a village to get Lee across the finish line.
I got my cowbell and I was done. I pretty much bee-lined to the meeting point where Molly was going to pick me up. I needed to crash. This picture of me smiling is a joke. I was feeling like crap.
Judy wasn't done providing great support, however. In my zoned-ness I hadn't officially checked out and received all of my tchotchkes. So, Judy covered that for me. It was great. I want these people on my side for my next hair-brained idea.
The rest of Sunday was recovery. I crashed at LEWJ's and the family went out for food and two bags of frozen peas. I got recovery tips from Ed, via text and I slept a bit. Lilah was really sweet. She hadn't been around for the training and she expressed a lot of pride in the old man. That alone made the previous 5 months worthwhile.
Amazingly, by Monday I was ok again. I was sore, but I've been sore since I started this, since the training has all been about doing more this week than you did last week.
Tomorrow I'll try to run again and that will be informative, but this week has been fine.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for the emails, the phone calls and the financial support for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Thank you for the tweets and the Facebook posts. Because of your support quitting was never an option.