Sunday, August 29, 2010

Santa Rosa Marathon

I ran my third full marathon today. That sounds so absurd to me. THIRD FULL MARATHON. How did I do at this race? THIRD. Third overall!!! Yup, you read that correctly, I finished THIRD overall! Third from the bottom, that is!! Yes, I struggled to get to the finish line, but I got there. I say all the time that I am not the fastest in the pack, but I always finish, and when I do, I feel like I've won the Boston Marathon. That's right!

I'm quickly becoming a regular on the marathon circuit! I like that I see familiar faces at these events. For the second straight week, I got to see Yolanda "Walking Diva" Holder. This lady is a big inspiration to me, so seeing her instantly motivated me! By now, I may sound like a broken record, but Yolanda is pretty amazing. This woman is walking her way into the Guinness Book of World Record. By the end of this calendar year, she will have walked 101 marathons. Never underestimate the marathon walker. These people are athletes.

The other person I bumped into was an old college friend. I had not seen Kathy in about 20 years, so it was a very pleasant surprise to see her at the Santa Rosa Marathon. The funny thing was that I recognized Kathy pretty instantly, so I called her name. She kinda looked my way but went on her way. I then called her name again and she looked again, so I knew it was her. I then approached her. What a small world. We ran together for the first mile before I had to bail. The girl is fast!

Finally, the last familiar face that I saw is a face I see quite frequently! The half marathon poster girl, Christine Clark, kicked some major butt and scored a PR at her 6th half marathon. I bumped into her at the cross over, and she looked strong. Christine did not look like she broke a sweat. She's been working very hard and the dividends are really beginning to show. Next up for Christine: The Lake Tahoe Marathon. Yes, you read that correctly. Christine Clark will be doing a FULL marathon.

I love seeing people I know on and off the course on race day. It always gives me that boost to keep plugging along.

I really enjoyed the first half of this race. 13.1 miles has become pretty routine for me, so I knew what I needed to do to get to the halfway point. I was actually doing pretty well all the way up to mile 17. My problems started at mile 18. I'm not really sure what it was, but I experienced a colossal meltdown. I believe it was all mental. I walked for about four miles and then something happened at mile 25 that I did not expect.

After I took a little break at the aid station, I picked up my sluggish body and embarked on that final mile. I turned around and noticed someone struggling just like me. Introduced myself to this person and he boldly said to me, "let's just do it!" With that, my tired legs became a non-issue. The two of us picked up our pace and plowed our way to the finish line. I swear, we were like soldiers in combat who saved each others' lives. Seriously.

Marathon guardian angels come in many different forms. At the Modesto Half, I had Erin Hardie Sperry. On the Extraterrestrial Highway, there was the Walking Diva. In Santa Rosa, an IT guy from the Silicon Valley saved me. Thanks Pete, you're my hero.

I am not bothered by the fact that it took me 6 hours and 45 minutes to finish. I'm new to this marathon thing, so every race is a learning experience. I've mastered the half marathon, so now I just have to work on the full. The good news is that I improved my time by a full hour from my last race, so I know I'm doing something right.

Wow. Endorphin Dude finishes his third full marathon. By crossing that finish line in Santa Rosa, I not only get another cool medal, but I earned my credentials. I am now officially a Marathon Maniac. I am very excited to be initiated into the insane asylum as Marathon Maniac #2810! I worked hard for this, and I deserve it.

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