Sunday, April 20, 1997

4/20/97 Freds Marathon

Somehow I learned of a small marathon to be run on the day before Boston, on the grounds of the Devons Air Force Base. It was billed as a race for the common man, no need to qualify. Far from the madding crowd. 85 of us started out on that Sunday morning. Prior to the start the official asked if anyone was planning to also run Boston. Two crazy person’s raised their hands. One I had met earlier. Horst Pressler from Germany was looking for a ride to the subway station after this race and I offered to give him a lift. He claimed to hold the world record for most marathons run. I looked him up in the Guinness Book of World Records and there he was with over 500 marathons completed. He told me that he would run Freds in about 4 hours, but he would be about 20 minutes slower at Boston. He was correct in both counts. Looking back I wish that I had run with him. My goal was 4 hours and he crossed the line in 4:02. I passed him about a mile or two after the start and I think he wished me luck and said that he would see me at the finish. He said the same thing as he passed me 15 miles later.

The Fred’s course had a few small hills and was closed to traffic. The real tough part of the course was that it was an 8.73 mile loop that we had to complete 3 times. It did not occur to me that I could be lapped. I was not in fact lapped, however as I crossed the start/finish line ending my second lap, I could see that the few spectators were getting excited and as I looked back I could see the winner not so far behind me. One of my most depressing moments in my running career came there at about mile 17. I was getting tired, the race was already over for one person, I did not really feel like going on. The course took me right past my car and I thought about hopping in and driving away. No one would ever know (except Horst who would be waiting for a ride). The next hour and a half was pure misery. I started to get pains shooting up my legs. I walked and jogged and ran a little. Mostly I battled very negative thoughts. Why was I out here, this is stupid, I will never run another marathon in my life, what a waste of time, this is killing me, why don’t I just walk the rest of the way? I did manage to keep shuffling along and it was the moment that I crossed the finish line when my attitude changed. Immediately I started thinking about how next time I could do better. I had started too fast, I had barely trained enough and so on. I was also very proud of my accomplishment. I gave Horst his ride home and rested the next day. It is a whole different thing to watch the Boston Marathon on TV when you have run a marathon the previous day.

65th of 85

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