I made my move at mile 22.
I’d been trailing my nemesis for a dozen miles. The half-mile cutoff was 2:50, and I rolled through at 2:43, so I had plenty of room to spare, although, by this point, I’d given up on my goal of 5:30.
My nemesis was wearing a red shirt. I could see them a quarter to a half-mile ahead of me for several hours. I’d get a little closer, and then they’d pull away.
At mile 14.5, a timing device was set up, presumably to ensure the marathoners were on the second loop. I noticed the guy monitoring it (who later I learned was named Nate) picking up the cones after I went through.
I asked, “Am I in last place?”
“That’s a new experience for me. I guess I have a goal besides finishing.”
“Not coming in last.”
I knew I had several hours to catch the person in the red shirt. There was no rush. I took it easy and just cruised through miles 14 to 22. My new friend Nate the Great was at each water stop, packing things into his U-Haul after I passed. Since Red Shirt wasn’t really pulling away much, I’d stop, fill up my water bottle, and chat with Nate.
At mile 22, I picked up the pace. The last three miles of the course were on the Rail Trail. The nice people in New Hampshire considerately paint all the rocks and tree roots on the trail white, so it was a particularly delightful place to pass Red Shirt. As I went by, Red Shirt kind of groaned, and I said, “You got this,” which seemed to be the mantra for this race.
Nate was waiting for me at mile 23, ensuring I was still on the trail.
He said, “Looks like you did it.”
“Yup. Second to last place is more fun than last, but I’ve still got a few miles to go.”
“You got this.”
Yup. I sure did. New Hampshire is State #26 on my quest to run a marathon in every state. I haven’t done many in the past few years, and I’m getting slower as I get older. But I know how to get 26.2 miles done, no matter what the pace (I haven’t had a single DNF in all my efforts.)
The small marathons are my favorites. Other than looking at Red Shirt’s back for a long time, I was alone for most of the marathon, which is one of my favorite ways to exist on your planet.
I received a lot of positive feedback on my post highlighting the 2nd annual Emerge Virtual 5k Run so …
It’s time for the 10th Annual Happy Smackah 5k Fun Run and Walk.
This would have been the 11th Annual, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we canceled the May 2020 event. But, it’s back, this time as a Virtual 5k in 2021. You can run it anytime between May 8th and June 8th. Register online!
Amy and I have been long-time supporters of Happy Smackah – a unique “focused giving” event in our community with a unique origin story.
Happy Smackah originated as a fundraiser for Dan Cribby, a Longmont educator who initially was diagnosed with strep, woke up days later to shoulder pain, and went to the hospital. He was becoming septic and was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating disorder”). He was air-lifted to Denver, where, to save his life, they amputated his shoulder, clavicle, and left arm, commonly known as a forequarter amputation. He was kept in a coma and required many surgeries to debride and skin graft his entire torso.
The community came together to support Dan through his ordeal. While he was enduring his surgeries and treatment, his wide social circle of students, teachers, and parents organized a 5k. Nearly 700 showed up that day for Dan, and Dan was there too, miraculously, fresh out of the hospital.
The event has continued over the past decade to pay it forward from the Cribby’s. The community nominates an individual facing medical hardship and provides them fundraising support to help with their situation. It also creates a powerful connection through people attending the 5k event, which generally has about 1,000 participants.
This year’s Smackah is Kaylee Stiffler, a senior at Longmont High School. A caring, clever, and down-to-earth teenager, she was born with congenital nevus, which is essentially a mole or birthmark on any part of the body. Kaylee’s is on her face, covering her cheek, nose, and eye. Four years ago, it started growing, changing, bleeding, and impacting her eyesight. She’s had 14 surgeries in the past five years. The Boulder Daily Camera just wrote a great update on Kaylee and her amazing attitude despite her challenges.
Together you can help us help Kaylee. Please sign up, find a great place to run or walk a 5K, get outdoors and do it, and prepare for an even better year as we continue to re-open our communities safely.
The Second Wind Fund of Boulder County is hosting a Virtual 5k run on Sunday.
Second Wind Fund of Boulder County has a mission to decrease the incidence of suicide in children and youth by removing the financial and social barriers to treatment.
We are dealing with three crises right now: health, financial, and mental health. The first two are getting most of the attention, but I anticipate an increasing societal focus on the third, which results from the first two.
Amy and I are supporting a number of organizations doing things around mental health. I especially like supporting events like the Virtual Emerge Family 5k since they combine a bunch of things:
I haven’t been running much lately so I’ll use this week to train for my first 5k in a while. Join me!
Her first Marathon. Second place in the Olympic Trials. She’s now heading to the Olympics as part of Team USA.
I don’t know Molly. I first heard about her yesterday when watching a video of the US Olympic Marathon Trials. As I watched her run, I could see both joy and grit on her face.
This is what sportsmanship looks like (Aliphine Tuliamuk cheering on Molly Seidel a few moments after crossing the finish line in first place.)
Molly is incredibly inspirational, not only in this performance but in her return to competitive running. Since I’d never heard of her, the internets helped me learn a lot more about how The Olympic Marathon Trials Are Just the Start of Molly Seidel’s Comeback.
Injuries. Disorded eating. Obsessive compulsive disorder. Two jobs while training. A sacral stress fracture after an event that caused a teammate to say:
“You look like you’re dying,” Seidel remembers her friend saying. “You need to get help.”
The quote from the NYT article that made me smile over and over with inspiration was:
In the hours after her performance, she repeated the same thing a handful of times. “What is happening?” she said, looking upward, shaking her head, struggling to contain the smile stretched across her face.
Molly – count me as a new fan.
I had a nice run this morning around the Charles River. It’s a version of a run I’ve done many times in the past when I used to live here.
There was one “category” of problem, which I’ll refer to as the Scooter-Bike challenge.
I started at 8:52am, which was at the absolute peak of the “rush to get to work/class/wherever” experience. I didn’t think much about it as I often run at this time in Colorado and rarely notice any humans.
I started at the Charles Hotel, turned right, and headed toward the Charles River zone. 30 years ago, I would have noticed the cars, but not thought much about anything else.
I hit a wall of scooters coming at me with humanoids on them. There were a few bikes, but most were in the street. But the scooters were on the sidewalk. Going 20+ miles per hour. Right at me. In a wall.
I immediately realized that I was in an AI video game called Scooter Bike Runner Survivor. Kind of like rock paper scissors, but involving actual humans. The AIs were controlling us from a parallel universe, kind of the way I used to play Defender or Tempest.
The first fifteen minutes of the run were nuts. I figured that when I got over the bridge onto the Charles River loop paralleling Storrow Drive it would calm down. Nope.
When I crossed the BU Bridge at the halfway point, I hit another wall of treachery. This time it was cyclists who decided that the bridge, sidewalk, and path was a lot more fun to be on than Memorial Drive. There were a few stretches of human-created single track next to the sidewalk that regularly ended abruptly with big orange cones blocking them.
I’m safely back in my room having survived Scooter Bike Runner Survivor, but I’ve recalibrated my expectation around a casual bridge loop around 9am.
I love the idea that Eliud Kipchoge is the “Roger Federer of Marathon Running.”
If you are a marathoner or a fan of the marathon, you likely know how amazing Kipchoge is. If you don’t, following is his marathon performance history.
The performance level – both time and place – is almost unfathomable in contemporary sports. It’s reflective of Roger Federer in general, or Rafa Nadal, especially on clay.
While I don’t know Kipchoge, I’ve been hearing for a while about how wonderful he is as a human. This New Yorker profile prior to him running the INEOS 1:59 Challenge was beautifully written and included the line:
He is, perhaps, the sport’s Roger Federer
If you are a tennis fan, you know what this means.
Simply put, in addition to being an extraordinary athlete, he is a human that wants to use his success to make a substantial positive impact on the life of other humans on this planet.
The hashtag that he uses on Twitter is #NoHumanIsLimited. I have deep appreciation for that.
Sunday is the Knoxville Marathon. My plan was to run it, collect the finisher medal that has become part of the marathon ritual, eat whatever I wanted for dinner on Sunday night, and head home Monday morning.
Amy and I are heading home today. While some aspects of our week in Knoxville have been good, I came down with a nasty cold early in the week. I hoped it would only last a day or so, but each day has been worse than the previous day so we decided to bail yesterday.
Knoxville is a neat town. We stayed downtown and mostly wandered between the hotel and the area at Market and Gay. I
The deep nerd in me enjoyed seeing the fastest computer in the world. MDF was 3D printer experimentation heaven. Everyone in Knoxville was super friendly and accommodating. There’s a burgeoning foodie scene here and even though my taste buds stopped working on Tuesday, Amy and Ian said the food was delicious.
My favorite moment of the trip was when someone asked me if I was running the Covenant or the Barkley.
In the category of “try again next year”, I may be back in Knoxville in 2020.
My running is going well so I’ve decided to do the Knoxville Marathon on 3/31/19.
I’m putting a running team together for this, so if you are interested in being part of it, the only requirement is that you commit to doing the Knoxville Marathon. If you are interested, email me.
2018 was a tough running year for me. I was injured in the spring (calf injury) and then again in the summer through the fall (bone bruise). I’ve only managed 290 miles for the year (I’ll break 300, but that’s less than 30% of my norm for a year.)
However, the last four weeks of running have been solid:
Distance is improving and pace is improving.
I love running at the time of the year, especially when it’s 50 degrees and sunny in Boulder.
If you are a runner, then I expect Sir Roger Bannister is one of your heroic figures (as he is one of mine.) He died today at 88.
Enjoy his narration of the video of him running the first sub-four-minute mile. It’s delightful.
I love his number (41) – a prime, and somehow signaling something about the first sub-four-minute mile, along with Chataway’s 42 (the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.)