20 May 2010


If you are just visiting this page, let me encourage you to check out a very nice set of photos taken by son Chris, along the Big Sur International Marathon Route. He began the 21-mile walk at milepost 5 of the marathon route, and took some great shots of the course from there to the end. The same photos, with my own captions, and some extras taken by my Karen and Kathryn, are here. To get the race weekend report, start here.

Better yet, since you can never recover the time you might feel is wasted, go read a good book!

My Karen and Kathryn woke up in Chris's apartment in San Jose on Sunday morning, and had a leisurely start to their day and drove to Carmel.(Kathryn's leisurely start included a 3-4 mile run on the lovely Los Gatos Creek Trail.) They staked out a spot along the final stretch and settled in for the long wait to try to see me and then Chris hit the finish line. They arrived there in time to see the first female marathon finisher, so you know they had a long wait ahead of them!

I had assured them that I would be the last of the gang of four to cross the line, and that it could be as much as 30 minutes after the real runners among us. Also, they were looking for my white t-shirt. They kept alert and saw and cheered Todd with his 3:58 finish and - to be fair given the information they had, they probably let their guard down. What they did not know was that the night before Todd had talked me into using his spare shirt, a technical tee that would wear well over the long course. It was the right decision, no doubt about that. But it was red, and that was one strike against the girls identifying me. Also, it turned out I was not 30 minutes behind Todd, but 11. So, again, they are well excused for missing me. And to be fair, I didn't see them either.

I went through the finisher's gate, got my medal, and funneled into the food tent. This was all so well prepared and staffed. I walked out within a minute or two, with a box of food including soup, fruit, bagel, water, and I don't know what else. I found a table to set things on, and phoned Karen. Or, rather, Kathryn, since Karen never has her cell phone on! They were disappointed to learn that they had missed me, but in moments were in the arena and that was my second and greater emotional moment in the day. To see Karen and Kathryn at the end of an amazing effort on a beautiful day ... that was just too much. They kindly watched me and encouraged me while I ate, and then we thought we'd best get back out to see if we can watch Chris cross the finish line.

And, we all 3 missed him! His time (somewhere around 4:58) was astonishing, and since he had started 30 minutes before the marathon gun, he was across the line in hardly any time after me. We had a great connection, and soon Todd found and joined us. In moments, too, Rick and then Adam were through and we created quite a mob. No way I should have got in before Rich - but I've explained already how that happened on the way up Hurricane Point - or Adam. Adam, it was just because he took over 100 photos along the way. Clearly  he did this route the best of us all, for the sheer enjoyment of it!

Free massages for all marathon finishers, so we got our numbers and hung around for that. When we were all through ... and, my, was that a great massage! ... we took our final photos, said our good-byes, and the men headed back to Big Sur to shower and get lunch. While the fam walked to the car, and to an excellent Mexican lunch near where the car was parked. Leisurely, outdoors, and very welcome. Then our own drive back to Big Sur to recover Chris's car. Kathryn stayed with him, while Karen and I headed back to San Jose together, and we managed to arrive at Chris's within moments of each other. A light supper preceded a drive into San Francisco to get Kathryn on a red-eye flight back to Chicago. And then, to bed!

Monday was quiet and relaxed, and it was nearly noon before I attempted the stairs down from the apartment. It was a revelation to find that while the quads were a little sore, I was not debilitated. In fact, to my very great surprise and relief, I had no recovery issues at all. Took a nice walk before supper, and the next day on the flight home only had to stand and stretch a couple of times. I got right back to work, and life pretty much went back to normal.

How do I account for the recovery success? Well, I only think about it because people asked, and assumed I would be miserable. So, here's what I think: a) definitely have to start with acknowledging God's mercy in my fitness and health; b) without question I have to thank "Coach Rich" for good counsel, training runs, etc.; and finally, c) I think I could have pushed harder on this run. I may have survived so well because I didn't work hard enough. And that is perfectly fine with me! Because the point all along was to enjoy the course and the time with others, and that made this first marathon a success in every important way.

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