Monday, February 1, 2016

Twelve Marathons in Twelve Months Part One: Callaway Gardens

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.--LaoTzu

After months of posturing. After all of the talk. After a 20 week training program. My journey of twelve marathons in twelve months began this past Saturday, January 30, 2016, in Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know the terrain. I didn't really know how I would do. I only knew that this is one of the most exciting things I've ever done athletically.

I spent the last few days stuffing my face with whatever food I could find. I couldn't think about much else than relaxing when I could and never being hungry. I tried to remain hydrated and I monitored the tint of my urine like a freshman in his dorm in college looking at a pregnancy test.

The cool thing was that it was a family affair. We woke up at 4 ish and drove down about 90 minutes. The wife and kids were knocked out but it worked out. I drove with my music low in the dark and relaxed. I was so geeked up about the beginning that it helped to calm my nerves. I've run a few marathons but they have all been big city deals with lots of spectators. I realized immediately that I was no longer in Kansas. Actually, I was absolutely in Kansas. It didn't matter though because I had my fan club. 

I didn't expect the hills. It was 1300+ feet of elevation. Certainly that isn't a great deal but it's like Mt. Everest for a city kid from a predominantly flat place. It crushed me. I came into the halfway mark at my third fastest half time and my fastest half in a marathon. It was a double out and back so my family waited for me at 13. I looked good for them but after I passed them, I decided this would be a good opportunity to take some pics. After 14 miles I went into survival mode.

My feet burned and my thighs screamed but when I saw my wife and kids at he end, about 100 yards from the finish, I felt no pain. I scooped up my 2 year old daughter and began to trot to the finish line with my 5 year old son galloping next to me. I figured I would cross the line with them but then I remembered that at around mile 22 I bust my ass like an old lady without a medic alert bracelet. There were so few people that I laid on the ground for about 40 secs or so with my phone 6 feet away. With that memory in mind, I put my child on the ground and creeped in to a PR finish. I missed my goal time but I was a beautiful start, to a wonderful excursion.