My 3 mile run + Bonus

3 miles!!!

I ran 3 miles yesterday.  It went well (of course it was just 3 miles).  I was pretty tight in the beginning and then I loosened up and ran better.

Heading out to run with @BigBigBeek in our beautiful State Park.  I haven’t run there since before my marathon.  I’m looking forward to the run and getting to catch up with Neill.

Short post today.  Just trying to get back into the swing of running.

As an added bonus ( 🙂 ), below is a picture I’m going to purchase from my marathon 3 weeks ago.  This was taken at the end of mile 24.  I’m on the left and running with me was a neat guy I met around mile 22 and ran together until just after this picture was taken.  It really helped me get through those last few miles.

Mile 25

Mile 25

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Johnny’s Rant on The VIA Lehigh Valley Marathon

I read the funniest post yesterday afternoon (at least to me).

I was reading using an app on my iPhone and hangin’ with my Lovely Wife and I saw this post on a website called, “Johnny’s Rant on The Via Lehigh Valley Marathon”.  Knowing all that TJ and I went through from the traffic jam before the race to waiting for hours for a bus to take us back to the starting line, I had to read and see what Johnny said.

He and I must have been in the same area much of the time.  He mentions the issue with traffic (at least he didn’t go to the wrong hospital for the start of the race).  He mentions the port potties.  He mentions the buses (or lack there of).  But he also mentioned other details that I forgot to mention or didn’t write about in detail.

It was so funny, because as I said, we must have been close together, especially waiting for the bus.

Oh and by the way, he said that like me, they offered him a complementary entry into next years race.

Anyway, I have never read a random article on the Internet that so closely paralleled my experience that took place somewhere 850 miles away from where I live.

Here is the link if you are interested.

http://www.believeintherun.com/index.php/2013/09/17/johnnys-rant-via-lehigh-valley-marathon/ 

Good writing Johnny.  It made my night.

The rest of the story

The Lehigh Valley Marathon was special for me in that I finished it.  As I was running near mile 23, I thought to myself, “If I finish this, I bet this will be one of those moments that flash before my eyes right before I die.”  Funny what you think about when your body is close to collapse. 🙂

This post is about the unusual occurrences that happened before and after the marathon.

First, wanting to be careful and make sure we know where we were going, TJ and I drove to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Saturday afternoon.  I looked it up in my GPS and we drove there fairly easily.  We ran around a large parking lot for 2 miles and drove home.  I felt better knowing where we would be going in the morning.

That morning I woke up at 3:00 AM and never went back to sleep.  We left the hotel at 5:45 to get to the marathon starting line at 6:00.  We drove there fairly easily other than a traffic jam (at 5:50 AM on a Sunday morning).  They were working a bridge on the Interstate and had a lane shut down.  But we still managed to get to the hospital by 6:00.

Hmmm.  There was no one there.  No police, no runners, just a hospital.  My stomach sank.  We were at the wrong Lehigh Valley Hospital.  TJ figured out where the OTHER hospital was and I looked it up on my GPS.  Fifteen minutes later, we were at the right hospital, in another traffic jam.  Talk about nerve wracking!  We were 45 minutes away from the start and stopped in traffic trying to get to the parking lot.

We finally got to the parking lot and ran for the porta potties.  There were a total of 6.  We waited another 20 minutes, did our business and headed to the starting line.

Marathon Starting Line

Marathon Starting Line

They counted down the start and we were off.

(See Finishing the race! for details of our run).

The finish line was chaotic for me.  I just crossed and couldn’t hear anything because of the loud speaker and people and just lots of noise.  I told my mom and brother (that I had FaceTimed a few minutes before the finish) that I had to hang up (since I couldn’t hear them) and hung up on them.  Then I looked up and TJ was coming towards me.  He was a sight for sore eyes.

Just finished

Just finished

Getting Finisher's Medal

Getting Finisher’s Medal

I got my finishers medal and a water and just tried to make sense of the situation.  TJ suggested I go to the medic tent and get checked out.  I didn’t look very good I guess.

The medic tent was well done.  I got and IV after 3 needle pricks and laid there for an hour while it filled me up with fluids.  I felt badly for TJ having to sit and watch me get an IV for an hour, but he never complained.  Finally, I got up SLOWLY and we walked out to find the shuttle back to the starting line.

This is where everything went wrong.

TJ and I literally limped to get the shuttle.  The race is run in a straight line, so we were a half hour away from our car.  No one could tell us where to go to get the shuttle, but just pointed us in a general direction.  We finally found the spot…  Two hundred marathon runners stood in a line for a shuttle.  We waited about 10 minutes and the first shuttle pulled up.  It was tiny.  Probably 20 seats total.  It filled up with some runners and took off.

At this point I was becoming desperate.  I had to check out of my hotel in an hour and my 2 youngest sons were waiting for me.  On top of this, my phone battery died and TJ’s had only 4%.  I had to get back to the hotel to get a shower and head to my mom’s birthday party 3 hours away.  I walked around SLOWLY and looked for anyone I could ask for help.  I saw a police officer and told him my situation.  I asked if I could get a cab.  He said the wait for cabs was really long.  He was nice, but no real help (not that there was anything he could do).

A half hour after the first shuttle left, another shuttle arrived.  This was a full sized bus.  The line made progress.  A half hour later the tiny shuttle showed back up and took a few people.  There were probably about 50 people in front of us to get the next shuttle.  I should be able to make it.

I love runners.

We all stood in line after running 26.2 miles and everyone talked, laughed and waited.  A nice lady in front of me lent me her phone so I could call the hotel and my kids.  It was getting late and I had to make a decision.  Did I make my boys pack the room and sit in the lobby until I got back or did I bite the bullet and stay another night in the hotel.  It was now 1:00 PM.  I knew it would take 30 minutes to get back to the starting line if I could get on the next bus.  Then it would take about 15 minutes to drive back to the hotel.  I knew what I had to do.  I called the hotel, paid for another night and had HR call my Lovely Wife and let her know we were staying.  She called my mom and told her we would miss her birthday.

Now the frustrating part of the day.  We waited for the bus.  We stood in the sun for another hour with no shuttle and no explanation.

Nothing.

A runner forced suggested we move the line to the sidewalk where there was some shade, so everyone reluctantly moved.  As we waited on the sidewalk by the main road, one runner held out a $20 bill to passing cars asking them to give him a ride.  Finally one stopped and loaded about 4 people.  Everyone cheered.  We all talked, vented, stood, sat and baked in the sun.

Finally a guy came up with a couple cases of bottled water.  That was nice.  But we still stood with no bus.  In fact 2 large buses went past and just kept going.  Talk about some upset runners.

Finally a bus came by and stopped.  Cheers.  Only 2.25 hours later.  We started to load.  I wasn’t sure I could get on this one, but I knew I would give it a try, even if I had to sit in the toilet.  Then another bus pulled up behind the first bus.  BUT… It didn’t wait for the first bus to load and then move up, it just opened its door.  So we were in the back of the first line and others were loading in the other bus.  I was an unhappy camper.  Fortunately, TJ and I made it on the very back of the first bus.  People were actually sitting in the isles.

30 minutes later we were back to our car.  3:00 PM, 3 hours after we got in line, we arrived back at the hotel.

I wrote the race director and asked about the transportation issue.  They were apologetic and gave me a free pass for next years marathon.

Sorry for the long post.  I wanted to get all this out.  I must say that although it was a tough afternoon, I met so many great people.  Exhausted runners standing for hours and smiling.  Everyone was great.  It wasn’t fun waiting and I was upset to miss my mom’s 85th birthday, but I will remember this marathon for a long time to come!!!

Finishing the race!

I finally arrived at my mom’s and will help celebrate her birthday a day late. Better late than never!

Here is a recap of the marathon… I will write some more later about the interesting time we had outside of the actual race, but I want to write about the race alone in this post.

We started at exactly 7:00. I was so nervous at the start, but after we got 1/4 of a mile into the marathon, nerves turned into running. It was really crowded for the first 4 miles or so and then it spread into a manageable amount of runners.

For me, I started at an 8:00 pace. Fast for me, but I had my reasons. I really wanted a chance at my dream of running it under a 3:30 and I figured if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know if it was possible.

It wasn’t. 🙂

I ran an 8:00 pace for 12 miles. Not bad. But that was about all I could do. Almost out of nowhere I lost the steam to keep the pace. So, knowing I wouldn’t make my first goal, I settled in to finishing the race and enjoying the run!

It was an interesting course. Fairly hilly in the beginning. Then we got to the river and the trail beside the river. For about 8 miles we ran this trail. Two grooves of dirt with grass in the middle and on either side. So runners settled into a groove and did the best they could to pass when possible. I fell in behind a guy who was keeping an 8:00 pace. For several miles I just ran his pace. That was nice, until he suddenly stopped to walk. Ugh. That messed with me a bit. But I kept going and finally got through that 8 mile stretch.

At the half way point when my steam ran out I ate gels and drank Gatorade to keep me going. That was a good plan. I ran for a couple of miles and walked through the water/Gatorade stations. As soon as I downed my sugar, I was running again. At mile 15 a woman handing out Gatorade asked me if I was okay. I said yes, but I guess I didn’t look that great. After that, I turned off my app and just ran as I could run. Not very fast, but not walking either. In my mind I kept thinking, “If I walk, I won’t finish as fast”.

At mile 20 I fully hit the wall. We had just run 16 miles of river trails and gone up a hill and now were running on gravel. I had to walk a bit. I then got a text from my Lovely Wife saying to keep going and she was pulling for me. I thought, I can do this. Not long after, I started running again. I never walked longer than a minute or two. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Finally around mile 22 we got back onto asphalt. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a road again.

This was the hardest part. Between mile 22 and 24. I hurt a lot. I would run a while and then have to walk because my whole body hurt. After a minute I’d start running again. Then I made it to mile 24. Another runner, about age 35 came up beside me and we began to talk. He told me he had run 3 other marathons but not run one in a couple of years. We talked for almost 2 miles. Wow, that really helped. At the point where the finish was a half mile away (uphill), he asked if I was doing okay and I told him I was and to head on as I could see he wanted to run strong at the end. He took off up the hill.

As I ran up the hill and onto the final stretch I was feeling much better. The finish was visible and I could hear the announcer on the loud speaker. So I went to my phone app and FaceTimed my brother. He had suggested that a few days earlier, but I didn’t know if I would be in a place to be able to do it or not. So I ran my last .2 miles with my brother and mom cheering me on. I saw the finish in front of me and was running well. Suddenly my right calf cramped. Ugh. Only a couple hundred feet to go and I was limping as I ran. It then worked its way out and I was running again, though a bit more carefully.

The finish line

My running friend of the last two miles finished ahead of me with his two toddlers running with him. How cool. I ran over the finish line only to see TJ there to greet me. I got my finishers medal and a water.

I did it. I finished. 4:14. I then, at TJ’s and my Lovely Wife’s request went to the medic tent for an IV. I was a bit out of it. After about 30 minutes I felt fine and finished with my Intravenous beverage and headed out to catch a shuttle home (a whole other blog post).

Tj finished amazingly fast at 3:08 (3 minutes off Boston Qualifying time). I am so proud of him.

Special thanks again to my big bro Jeff and my Lovely Wife for posting all the updates. Also special thanks to all of you. The support I have received from the blogging community was way more than I ever expected and had a huge impact in my marathon. When I felt the wall hit and wanted to give up, I would think of YOU. I couldn’t face not finishing and having to post that to this blog. Thank you so much!!!

That is it for now. I am more sore than I have ever been in my life. Right now my 85 year old mom could beat me in a race! 🙂

Ahhh. Life is good!

Quick update from me (Tom)

Thank you!!!

First, thank you to my brother Jeff and my Lovely Wife for posting updates and keeping you all updated on my marathon.

Second… Thank you for all your support.  This was a rough run, but a good one.  I had a great 12 miles and a tough 14.2 miles.  I will post a race recap tomorrow , Lord willing.

Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed running this marathon.  It was my first and I’ll never forget it.  I was thinking during the difficult times about the fact that 2 years ago I couldn’t run a 1/4 mile.  Well I did, but I had to stop and walk home!!!

Now I am a marathoner.  Crazy.  After a quick stop in the medic tent for an IV, I was back to normal… Sort of.

Anyway, you have been wonderful and I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement!!!

God bless!

Tom

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

We did it.  We have completed our first maration.  Our time was a very respectable 4:15 and in true Geek fashion our hero put his iPhone on FaceTime so his Mother could watch him cross the finish line.  Best birthday present a Mother could ever have.

Well, It’s been my honor to be able to post these marathon updates on this blog.  I’ll be signing off now and like the rest you, I’ll be anxiously waiting to se what comes next in this incredable journey!

We’re all very proud of you young man!