"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Specifically, cured (at least for now) of my curiosity about ultramarathon running. Just the garden-variety 26.2 distance is fine. I was about to refer to this as the distance that killed Phidippides but apparently that story may be a total myth, and/or before he ran 21-something miles from Marathon to Athens, he had spent the two days before running 150 miles to Sparta and back. Nor was he on paved roads and rolling hills. So I don't fault him for dropping dead at some point. The only reason Dean Karnazes can get away with it is that he stops at 7-11 for donuts and microwave pizza while he's running, and his family brings him peanut butter sandwiches.

Technically I guess I did an 'ultra' since we walked about 4 blocks back to C's mom's place after I finished, and after I had spent a few minutes trying to decide if I was going to have to ingloriously decorate the lawn of our State Capitol. (Note: hot tomato soup is a bad chaser for marathon finish--took only three sips to figure that out.) On the drive back to Chico I was thinking about how much I will enjoy riding my bike, especially once the all-weather Surly is ready to roll, and it's getting close.

Nothing like actually running a marathon to take all the romance out of the idea of marathon running. But since I seem to keep doing it (this is where Dr. Phil yells "What's your payoff??") I must have a reason. I just keep forgetting how hard it is. It's good for me because even with the progress I've made with my running, this event never goes just as I expect and I always have a huge struggle with it. I can feel good about the fact that I got a significant PR (about 4:03, down from the previous 4:20), but humbled by how hard it was to do that, and I was really hoping to crack the 4-hour barrier. Then again, I feel like I gave it everything I could. Yet again, whether I run a marathon in 4:03 or 3:59 is probably one of the least significant details in the universe.

We'll see, maybe with some time I'll be up for another try. I know I'm faster but I can see that my distance training wasn't quite where it needed to be.

C has been very sweet and helpful this afternoon as I pretty much wiped myself out. I'm starting to perk up a little though. I took a shower at C's mom's place and was very grateful for the grab bars.

One highlight from the road this morning--a small group of somewhat portly unshaven fellows staged what appeared to be a protest of the marathon along Fair Oaks Blvd. They had handwritten cardboard signs reading "STOP THE RUN! DON'T BLOCK FAIR OAKS BLVD!" They also had built a fire in a little barbecue container, but nothing was cooking on it and they weren't gathered around it for warmth so I thought maybe they were just trying to replace the air pollution that would have been generated had the road been open for those few hours on a Sunday morning. Other than that it was very heartwarming to be cheered almost continuously for the length of the course. In some places the crowd was dense and noisy, ringing bells and yelling and clapping. Music played in various locations along the course, of course with the obligatory Queen "We Will Rock You" near the finish. I have to admit that the guitar solo in that song probably quickened my finish time by at least a minute. I wish they could have played Queen the whole way, I might have run a 3:40 and qualified for Boston.


Allie said...

Good job Em! 4:03 is impressive!

M.A. said...

Wahooo! You're so cool!!!

Emily said...

Thanks! though I probably could have achieved the same effect in a much shorter time by staying home and beating myself with a 2x4 (except that I probably would have missed out on the cheering crowds, and the gummi bears at the Mile 22 aid station.)

wordsfromhome said...

My heartfelt congratulations and gratitude that you survived to run another day. Consider that your time per mile is more than twice my best time for any distance on foot. But besting me at travel by foot is no great chore...