Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memphis Marathon Thoughts and Pix

ORN: 5 miles, still with ITB pain

In no particular order, various items from the marathon last Saturday.

We had a great dinner on Friday night with David and his wife Gayle.

While the conversation certainly had a lot about running, it ranged much wider than just that. A most enjoyable evening, indeed!

Running an even pace Darrell alerted me to data in the results section which I find fascinating. We ran a very even pace overall from the timing mat data. Through 6.2, 13.1, 20 and 26.2 miles, we had a per-mile pace of 10:25, 10:26, 10:34 and 10:34, respectively. Interestingly, in my 55-59 age group of 70 finishers, I was in 44th, 43rd, 41st and 34th place at each split. I obviously didn’t go any faster, yet kept moving up as others faded. Finishing in the top half of my age group is a major accomplishement.

Race morning photos

Darrell is lookin' good, ready to roll. The shin thingie on his right leg held up well. Our hard-earned tape kept it stuck in place perfectly.

I however, being a card-carrying male person, had not even remotely given a thought to the color scheme of what I was going to wear on race day; I only was concerned about managing the cool temperatures and so packed the shirts to do this. But when I pulled this on, I suddenly realized I looked like a “Salute to the Green Bay Packers.” As a Chicago Bears fan, this is a Very Bad Idea. But, I had to go with it...I had no options in the bag. At least I had no Packer logos anywhere. And, bad color and all, it was the right combo to wear on a windy day in the 30s.

Tastes like chicken, part 1 In previous marathons, I’ve had trouble with my stomach; not last week. Somewhere around mile 19, we ran past a row of coffee houses and small grills; the smells were wonderful. Since it was around noon by then, I was getting hungry. I asked Darrell “So what do we want to do for lunch after the race?” “Dude, we’re not even to mile 20 yet.” “No, seriously, what should we have? I’m thinking a nice burger would taste good.” “Joe, really, lose it.” I backed off…but thought about food all the way in.

Fantasy Baseball I really liked the idea of ending the race in a baseball stadium, a wonderful intersection of my favorite two sports. While driving down, I had an idea of how to link the two. When Darrell and I surveyed the finish line area on Friday night, I realized it was possible. Around mile 5 of the marathon, I told Darrell what I was thinking, if I was still in good shape at the finish. He laughed and realized (again) I am a little wacky. I debated for much of the last couple of miles whether to do it or not (when I wasn’t thinking about food). As we rounded the last turn and headed into the stadium, I decided to do it.

We came into the stadium through the outfield wall in right-center field and made a sharp left onto the warning track. About 40 feet from the foul line, I began angling from the grass side of the warning track to the wall side, shouting in a baseball-announcer type voice:

”There’s a deep drive!! It’s hooking down the line!! It could be trouble!!! Ely’s back, back, back, at the wall!!! He leaps….”

At which point I jumped as high as I could with an imaginary Rawlings baseball glove on my raised left hand and crashed into the outfield wall at the base of the foul pole. Seriously, I really did crash the wall. And I kept announcing as I did it.

…AND HE MAKES THE CATCH! The Cubs win the Series!! The Cubs win the World Series!!!!!

And the assembled people along the front row, waiting patiently for their family member to stagger home, suddenly woke up with this crazy man in a yellow shirt crashing the wall and they all started clapping! What a hoot! I ran towards the infield (and finish line) with the imaginary ball held high over head.

I was disappointed in my leap…the wall was only eight feet high and I really wanted to get above the top of the wall and pull back a home run. But I didn’t have the hops in my legs at that point, so had to be content to simply rob the imaginary hitter of a double off the wall. Yet it was a crazy, fun way to end the race. I had about three other cool baseball moments, but I’ll spare you those details.

Tastes like chicken, part 2 The Memphis folks had one of the better food spreads for runners afterwards. Greeting us first was a big table piled high with Krispy Kreme donuts. I told Darrell, “I’m going to have one of these for Rob” remembering his recent downing of several Krispy Kremes during the Seattle Marathon two weeks ago. Boy, were they tasty. So much so, I had a second one a little later, also for Rob.

You are so very welcome David, Darrell and I were all impressed with the degree of community support the marathon had in Memphis. We all noted we had never been thanked so often and so sincerely for running a race. As a fund raiser for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, folks in town appreciated the race and what it meant. The hospital is a point of pride for the city and justifiably so. We felt incredibly welcomed and supported.

Tastes like chicken, part 3 Well, we never did get any lunch, what with the spread after the race which we could nibble on. After cleaning up, though, we did head down to Beale Street for some real Memphis BarBQ. Here we are in our race t shirts, ready to dive into some serious pulled pork, BBQ beans and cole slaw. Real comfort food after a long run.

It was a great race and a great weekend. I recommend the event highly, even if you are not a baseball fan. It was a wonderful way to cap off a full year of running.


Darrell said...

Great moments in running (and baseball) history!

Frankly most of the food tasted WAY better than chicken. 8-)

david said...

love the photos....hope your recovery is going well.

crossn81 said...

that is hilarious. I wonder what the medical personnel thought as you started veering towards the wall!

Wes said...

Realizing I was going to miss out on good BBQ was a sad moment for me. Not being in those pics was another!!! LOL... You pulled off a great race. This is definitely a marathon to be proud of!!

Backofpack said...

Looks and sounds like you guys were having fun Joe!

Pat said...

I would love to end in a ballpark. The Cincinnati Reds have a 5k that ends inside their ballpark.

I would have done the same, but to take it so far as the Cubs winning the WS?

glad you had a great time.

jeff said...

what a great race report! you're not a nut, you just like to have fun. now, if you can scrounge up a photo of you catching the winning out, that'd be classic.

Ginger said...

I love reading your account of the race! The ending made me chuckle, as did the Green Bay colors. I know how serious the rivalry is between da Bears and the Packers.
You are really a great inspiration.

robtherunner said...

Nice even splits, Joe. Thanks for thinking of me and making the sacrifice to eat a couple Krispy Kremes for me :)