Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The So-Called "Cold Wall" Of A Marathon!

Oh, its dark, cold and one mean mother scratcher! I ran into the nasty witch at mile 18. Sure I had to stop, regroup, stretch and decide if I wanted to keep fighting. I choose to fight and keep my sloooow jog motoring!

This past Sunday some 18,000 people roamed the streets of D-town on a pretty chilly morning. When the gun went off it was about 37 out and I was shaking. I think I was shaking more from being nervous than physically being cold. I started in coral B, this was the second wave. I registered early and I think that's how I got up front. I did not put any type of finish time. Most of the group I was with were not rookies. In fact most were sub 3 hour F.F.G.'s! (effing, fast, guys)

My ultimate goal the last month or so has been to JUST FINISH. I'm still trying to focus on wrapping up my MTB'ing addiction. The final race of the season is November 8th in Traverse City (Ice Man/Party). Knowing this I just tried to relax as much as possible and just get it in my head I was going to go out for a long jog.

Long jog it was. I started off great with an easy 8 min pace and buried the 1/2 at 1hour 46 minutes. Felt strong and thought I could keep up the pace. Only a few more miles down road we entered onto the bridge to Belle Ille. I have heard and read all the horror stories of this part of the event but never processed them without having any experience. Well, miles 17 - 20 are on the Island and I got my ass handed to me something fierce!

I ran into Don Green a (Just Finish) teammate who I ran the relay with last year on the exit and he shouted a few words of encouragement. I told him I had an hour left in me and I was struggling big time...this was right at about mile 20.

At this time my pace slowed down dramatically. Each mile got slower and slower. 9:35, 9:40, 9:50, 10:10, slower, slower. I kept this trot up for the next 4 miles.

With about 3 to go you start to see the city scape better and the streets are just packed. People yelling words of encouragement, beer stations (unofficial) but yes, beer, and the noise of the pure pain pounding in my head!

The 4:15 pace leader come running by me by herself and told me to pick it up. It's amazing that these pacers can run the entire marathon with a sign on a stick and coach, talk, and encourage all that join them to keep pace. We had 1 mile to go and I tried to pick it up, but there was no gas in the tank. I was on E and had been there the last 7 miles.

A few turns and I saw it. This overhead aluminum structure with a large banner...FINISH. I shit myself a few times and couldn't of smiled more if I tried. I kept rotating my bones over and over until I crossed the line.

This was my first marathon!
Today I'm confident I will attempt another one. I will also condition my body better. I'm in fair shape...just not marathon shape. I ride the ol' mtb around in the woods, but running is such a different beast to tame. Different muscles, the pounding and jarring of your legs takes it toll.

People ask me why do/did you do this? My response has been...well I did it for a variety of reasons one is because it has been on the 2-DO list for years and now its not! Another reason why is because I can. There are many, many more but I don't want to bore you...I'm sure you have a reason that is just as important...GET AFTER IT!

I have learned many valuable lessons about trying to accomplish goals in life. This is a stepping stone to allow myself to do that.

Kevin Green one of my closest friends, encouraged me to attempt it. He has accomplished many great things in life and I recognize and respect that. I kept asking myself...what am I missing, why would he keep pushing me to do this? Now I know and I can't thank him enough for reaming my ass about running and doing something challenging and uncomfortable in life. I learned in the end it has nothing to do with running, but has everything to do with the ol' line of JUST FINISH! time...does it really matter. Today I could give 2 shits what the clock said when I finished.


matt mccluskey said...

Todd...Awesome to see you did the marathon. Way to go!!

Todd Shorkey said...


Way to go you animal! Congrats on running the marathon, finishing, and most of all, reaching a goal!

One word - Awesome!

Steve Kinley said...

Congrats on your accomplishment. I don't know that i could every do one of those. Give me a solo 24 hour race anytime before I would run a marathon.