On March 22 I completed my second marathon with only 10 weeks between them.  What follows is a “report” of my run that I sent to a group of fellow runners and in it you can see some of my perspective issues that I will speak to at the end.

I thought I would give you my update from the run this past Sunday.  I did complete it and for that I am pleased. It was not what I hoped for, but realistically, it was just fine. My training going into it was hindered from lingering sickness from the January runs in Florida as well as asthma and this “great” weather. So I knew it was going to be rough. But I did learn some things. DON’T TRUST PACERS! Well, I won’t be quite as extreme as that, but at least my first dive into a pacing group was not so good. I decided to hang with the 5 hour group thinking that I should have been able to do that. We headed out on the run and I was feeling great! We were talking and I was enjoying the course. After a few miles though I realized we were going pretty quick and then I overheard the pacer guy say that he generally had the problem of starting out pretty fast. Sure enough we were logging some under 10 min/mile times for a pacing group that was planned for 11:30. I suppose with some hill section coming up he was compensating too, but it pretty much wiped me out and then later I was hurting and toast. I can’t and won’t blame him entirely. As I stated, my training was not as good as it should have been, so I likely would have dropped back anyways. But I will use my devices in the future for pacing instead of relying on others.

The marathon itself was really nice. I have a new respect for Oakland as a city. I grew up in the East Bay and was in Oakland a lot, but mostly in really rough neighborhoods for jobs I worked at. We ran through some nice areas and the residents were out on their porches cheering us on and thanking us for participating. Apparently a lot of money is raised for local charities so they really were appreciative of our involvement. And despite the major uphill section at mile 7-9, the course is mostly flat. The hill section is long and sustained, but not really steep. Sawyer Camp trail is steeper. The downhill from the Mormon Temple to Fruitvale was steeper and also long. The course was well marked and monitored by traffic directors and police so it felt safe from cars too. The event was organized well and pretty fun. It was not a “Disney” run, but still very good.

As for my personal goals, I wanted to try a solo marathon to see if I really liked long distances. If you recall I did the Dopey Challenge in January at DisneyWorld (5K, 10K, Half, Full in four days) with the flu. I hoped that doing one alone would be more fun or easier. I don’t know, I just wanted to see how different it would be. Well, I don’t care to ever do a run longer than a half again. I felt so good on this run up to the half. Every mile after that became increasingly painful. I had no injuries or joint issues, just pain – everywhere. So I think that my conclusion is that at 51, and only running a year, and still being a bit heavier than normal, it just isn’t my thing. I will consider a marathon again in the future only if/when I get to a goal weight. Until then the pain is just not worth it. I am smart enough to know this decision may shift as I get further away from the memory of the pain. 😉 I have been pushing myself hard this year and I am glad I have, but I need to be wise as well. I just don’t know how you guys are doing these ultra runs. I am even more impressed.

I am so proud of all that I have done in such a short time. Five 5Ks, Two 10Ks, Four Half Marathons, and two Full Marathons in 13 months. If you take out the first 5K in the timeline, then all the other runs were actually done in a 7 month period. I don’t know if that is normal or not for most serious runners, but it seems like a lot of runs in short span of time to me. I have a 10K/Half combo planned in both May and in Sept so far and may throw in some others. We’ll see.

Thank you to many of you have been encouraging. Since you “get” running and the drive to push yourself, it has been nice to receive your encouragement. I will try to jump in more to the Saturday runs.

Oh, so time? I finished in 5:51:58, nearly a half hour better than my first. I was 649 of 836 runners, but in my old man age division I was 44 of 241. I’ll take it.

You can’t really hear, but it is in there.  I was discouraged and frustrated at my poor showing – pain and slow speed.  Call it being too hard on myself, call it being too competitive, call it being unrealistic.  However you look at it, my perspective was off.  It took a number of replies from the fellow runners to help remind me just how big of a deal this.  Only 0.5% of the US population has run a marathon and I did two in 10 weeks!  I shaved off nearly a half an hour from my first time.  I am 51, still a bit overweight, and a new runner (only running for 13 months).  AND it has been a relatively short time since my last marathon.  Apparently the recovery time for these things is a big deal.  I thought that once your body aches were gone, you were good, but there is a lot more too it.

What I learned from this was that once again the value of community, people who know better than I or at the very least understand the immensity of what I have really done, is so important.  It’s so easy to be myopic and expect too much of yourself.  Frankly it’s pretty easy to expect too little as well.  But when we are open to adjusting our perspective or reframing our expectations, then we can approach life in a healthier manner.  As is often the case, my experiences fall in line with where God is leading our church.  This week we start a message series (I am not presenting it) entitled Seeing through God’s Eyes.

It’s so radically important to not only lay our will, choices, and life before God, we need to lay our perspective down too.  My impressions, opinions, worldview…whatever word you want to use, must be realigned and rethought passing it through the filter of God’s word.   Many of us hold up our opinions and conclusions and project them on to God and His word, rather than let them be informed and shaped BY His word.

As for my running, I have already backed off.  I have not scheduled another marathon just yet and do feel that losing the rest of my weight is a key to doing better and enjoying it more.  That said, it’s not about if I will do one again, but when.  I have that personality to push myself.   I just need to do it in a way that is healthy and honors the steps along the way, instead of becoming frustrated at what I came to see as slow progress.  But it’s anything but that.

Celebrate the baby steps and keep moving ahead.