Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tallahassee Marathon - 2/1/09

What a difference a week makes! I had my fastest (although still slow) marathon in almost a year. I was smoking - 5:12:12, lol! At one point, I was thinking that I could even break 5 hours. Silly me!

I felt great all day. It could have been the very flat course, the wonderful weather, the pressure of a 6 hour cut-off, or just luck. Whatever it was, I'd like to bottle it up and save it for my next marathon.

This was my first time running the Tallahassee Marathon in sunny Florida. About 22 miles of the race is on a bike path. The local cyclists were very courteous and encouraging. It's an out-n-back course, starting and finishing on the campus of Florida State University, home of the Seminoles. The 2 miles to and from the bike path are not the most scenic areas of Tallahassee, but the bike path makes up for that.

I lived in Tallahassee for about 3 months in 1993 during a summer internship at Florida A&M University. Not having "free" access to a gym, I took up walking outside. And more walking. And even more walking. I would walk about 10 miles a day, every day. But since it was taking up so much time (time away from my research), I decided that I needed to throw in some "run" breaks to shorten my workout time. I slowly increased the running time but probably never ran more than 2 or 3 miles within each 10 mile session.

I had never been a runner. I tried out for the track team in Junior High School because one of my friends was trying out, and I was promptly cut on the first day. My friend, however, went on to make the team. And up until Tallahassee, some 10 plus years later, I had not run. But I have been running ever since that stay in Tallahassee. So I've come full circle, so to speak, running the Tallahassee Marathon.

There are pros and cons to running an out-n-back course. I love to see all of the elite runners coming toward me on their way to the finish. The guy that won was all alone. The second place guy was a good 10 minutes behind. I saw a couple of my running buddies ahead of me. Peter from NY was way out in front. Phil from AL and Andy from FL were also ahead and looking strong. Not only do you see who's in front, you get to see whose behind. Vicki Sue from FL was race walking at a blazing pace. I really do need to learn how to do that!

And the cons . . . you realize how many people are in front of you and how few people are behind, lol. It's a humbling thing, I tell you.

The finisher's medal is nice, but the pizza was all gone by the time I finished. Oh, well . . . I still have my 5:12:12!

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