A man. A plan. I ran. DNF. Disappointment yesterday. Felt like I disappointed Killer Coach, my friends tracking me, my non friends tracking me, Linda, and myself.
It started out as a near perfect morning with a ride to the start line on the elite bus, the coach with the bathroom in the back and plenty of leg room. Relaxing banter with old friends Kelly Keeler and Jim Ramacier. Arrived at the start line and was ushered to the special holding area that my vip pass allowed, so far so good.
Sixty degrees at the start with a 5-10 mph tail wind. Beautiful. Settled in to a comfortable 7:45 pace, a couple of quicker miles with the brief rollers on the early part of the course. 23:52 at 5K, a wink over 47 at 10K, 1:17 and small change at 10 miles, 1:42 and a nod at the half way point. On schedule.
The temperatures had slowly climbed to 63-64 degrees and it still felt good. Taking powerade and water at each opportunity, taking the offered ice and putting some in my hat, some in my britches, squeezing a sponge over my head, keeping cool.
Just after the half I was surprised as everyone when the wind began to shift to a cross off of Lake Superior, the clouds rolled in, and the temperature dropped fast. And for so very many runners this would turn out to be just the thing to achieve a fast race and their personal goals. But not me, and as I later found out, for Linda either.
Just after 15 miles I began to shiver, and then to cramp. By 25K I was in worse shape than the Edmund Fitzgerald. Kept telling myself that I could get over it, stopped and stretched the tightening muscles, rubbed them hard to generate some heat. Back into pace, now over 8s but still encouraged that the 3:25 pace group hadn’t yet gobbled me up, oopsie, spoke to soon.
The next three miles were a reminder of my worst days with the marathon. Legs as stiff as the beam work gracing the cottages lining Scenic Dr. And by the way, this was the most beautiful marathon course I’ve ever seen. The vistas of Lake Superior, the quaint villages along the route, the trees and bluffs and breathtaking views seemingly enough to keep one distracted for the miles and miles.
By 18 miles I was reduced to a painful shuffle and the realization that my day was done. I came up to an aid station where they immediately wrapped me up, began pricking my finger, taking vitals, asking me if I knew where I was and what I was doing. Up ahead at mile 23 Linda was getting an even more thorough going over, her core temperature being aggressively monitored, protocol.
And so our Grandma’s Marathon dream was finished. Cruel mistress indeed. There is no doubt that both of us are in the very best shape of our lives but that is why the gun goes off, why there is a line out in the distance that must be crossed. That is the test then, and yesterday our mortal bodies were not up the positive spirit and fitness we brought to Two Harbours.
I’m over my disappointment this morning. Will stick to the planned time off, recharge and refocus my intentions and aspirations.
A man, merely, after all.