On Saturday, October 20, I ran the Kansas City marathon with four friends. The original Team BadAss reunited with two extra members, both first-time marathoners, for this lovely tour of our city.
My friend Jon flew in from Boston to run his first marathon with me. Actually, this was his first race, and he did everything wrong: no formal training plan, only one long run, brand new shoes and socks, didn’t pace himself, and so on. So, naturally, he kicked all our bad-asses and easily finished in 4:25. I dig his style.
Lori and Amy both wanted to finish in under 5 hours. I didn’t have a time in mind; I wanted to finish without an injury because I’m running my first ultra marathon this weekend. I told myself that I’d stay with the slowest runner in our group, unless they all hauled ass, in which case I’d just putter along and enjoy the run. I did want to beat our Austin marathon time, which was 5:20, but I wasn’t really even tied to that goal.
Jon left us in the dust a few miles into the run. He was having a blast. One of the many things I love about Jon is his ability to enjoy moments and share his enthusiasm. He literally ran like someone left the gate open. (See that expression on his face in the group photo? He held that look for 26.2 miles, I’m sure.)
Darrah was staying consistent with a respectable 12-minute mile pace, and Lori and Amy moved ahead, going slightly faster. I think they finished about 18 minutes ahead of us. In any case, I stuck with Darrah, but I’m not sure whether she thought that was a good or bad thing. In my mind, I thought it would be more fun for her to finish her first marathon with a friend, but it’s possible my enthusiasm annoyed her for 26.2 miles.
The marathon route was ideal, with a nice mix of flat road and winding hills. The only problem I had during the race was my hips, which felt like they were on fire. I’m not a fan of running on pavement for this very reason. I also ended up with big blisters on both little piggies, and I’m not sure whether to blame the road or my shoes.
Darrah’s family brought my daughter with them to the race, and we saw them around mile 18ish. That really perked both of us up, especially Darrah, who was starting to hit a wall. We mixed a little walking in with the rest of the run, but we kept up a nice pace so I still finished with a 12-minute mile average.
My stomach started feeling icky around mile 19, which is when I started appreciating how running with the trail runners has changed my mindset. I swear I was looking around at bushes thinking, “I could go behind that, if I have to.” Fortunately, the gurgling subsided at mile 22, when we ran into a woman who was handing out dixie cups of Miller Lite. That was the best beer I ever had, so she gave me a refill. A few yards past her, a woman handed me a Twizzler, and the rest of the run was a blast for me.
Darrah, however, was no longer speaking and was focused on finishing. Her knee was hurting pretty bad by this point, but she kept going.
So I stuck with Darrah until I saw the finish line ahead, then I decided to finish strong and run as fast as I could through it. I finished in 5:14:20. As I was walking around, post-race, I ran into Bryan, a trail-runner friend of mine. He’d also had stomach issues on the run. Maybe he should have slammed the beer at mile 22?
The next day, I felt a bit stiff, but overall not bad. My daughter and I took Jon to his first pumpkin patch, which was a great way for us to stretch our legs as we walked around looking for that Perfect Pumpkin.
On Sunday, October, 28, I’m scheduled to run my first 50K. Several of my friends are also running it, but we aren’t sticking together and I plan to change my running technique a bit. At the Hawk 100, I paced myself from the very beginning, even though I felt great and could have upped my pace a bit from the start. I did the same with the KC marathon. At the 50K, I don’t plan to “go out like an asshole,” but I think I might go out a bit like an asshole and see how that works for me.
I figure the last 11 miles or so are going to hurt anyway, so I might as well get the first 20 behind me a little faster.