Running makes me whole. I started running marathons because I enjoy training with friends.
I didn't follow a specific training plan. I averaged 35 miles per week.
Race Day:The clock turns 2:00am. I roll over on my side, the ice pack on my throbbing foot having melted. I take my pulse by the throb alone waiting for the minute on the clock to change. Fifty four beats per minute, a little high but it should be from the pain. I drift off to sleep.The alarm goes off at four am and all I can think is, "What possesses me to do these things!". I climb out of bed and as soon as my foot gets on the floor the dull pain turns sharp. I stumble out to the kitchen, fill a basin with cold water and ice and immerse my foot.
Gout is a cruel trick my genetics have played on me! It is one of the worst pains I have ever felt! I have broken bones, ruptured my Achilles tendon, endured cracked ribs and watched Rosie O' Donnell on the view but I never had a worse pain than gout!
The big toe and joint on my right foot is swollen, hot to the touch and the redness runs up my arch. This is the fourth day I have been suffering. I downloaded a book that offers a two hour cure and it had me taking baking soda dissolved in water every four hours. Needless to say their 2 hour cure was optimistic at best! The only thing I have ever tried that would get rid of gout for me was to run 20 miles. Normally the foot will throb for around five or six miles and by then the increased blood flow will take the swelling down and it will start feeling better. I ran seven miles Thursday and it did feel a bit better after the run but came back with a vengeance last night. Lucky for me! I have a marathon this morning, if I can just get the swelling down enough to get my darn shoe on!
I drove down to Wildwood and stopped at my friend Rita's and she gave me a bag of ice. I iced the foot again for about 10 minutes then it was time to walk down the boardwalk with a couple friends Doc and Bob to catch the bus to the start. The race also has a 10 mile option and Rita's house is only a few blocks from the 10 mile finish. We walked up on the boardwalk and were met by a strong east wind and stinging rain. We got to the area where we were to meet the bus and the first bus was full and pulling away. We stood in the rain and wind for about 20 minutes before the next one came. It filled up quickly and drove us down to the start. My foot was throbbing and I could again take my pulse just by the throb! I hit a "Port o Lav" and must have dropped my ear-buds for my MP3 player. No music for this trip! There was a nice warm lodge open for the runners to stay warm before the race start.
We lined up for the pre-race announcements and national anthem. It was crowded because they run the 10 mile and marathon at the same time. When we started, I didn't hear a gun or anything, everyone just started running! I did my best to block out the pain in my foot but I almost stopped after the first couple of blocks! Bob was running with me for the first half mile but he wanted to run a slower pace and he was going way to fast. I saw friends Keith and Dee to my left so I tucked in with them. The plan was to run 9:00 miles for a four hour finish. We went by the first mile in 9:17. It seemed like Keith picked it up the second and he did! We hit the second mile in 17:45. I was trying to get them to pace a little better but you have to know Keith! We started up a large bridge and a good incline heading out of Cape May. I tried to coast the down side but the foot was stinging on the bottom now. We turned on a causeway into the teeth of the wind. By the time we hit five miles around 44:00 Keith and Dee were about 30 yards ahead and pulling away. I was expecting my foot to ease a bit around mile five or six but it didn't at all! I just tried to stay steady knowing if I favored the foot I would cause something else to crash. After mile nine, I gave serious consideration of DNFing and just walking over to my car at Rita's. Her house is about the 9.5 mile marker. We turned up on the Wildwood board walk and I ducked in a vacant Port o Lav. I went by 10 miles in 1:32 and the boards were making my foot feel a little better. The running path was crowded with finishers of the ten mile stumbling around and not paying attention to the marathoners continuing on.
The marathon course headed out of Wildwood and crossed a draw bridge. The hill up and down felt good after running most of the course that was flat as a pancake!
We turned on Ocean Drive and I started talking with a guy who was walking but started to run again when I got along side of him. We ran together for a mile or so talking and joking. When I told him my name and he told me his, I recognized he is a hasher from Philly! He only was running the race because I posted it on the "A Clowns" Yahoo group! We got a laugh out of that and we ran together for about five miles. My foot finally started feeling better around mile 16. We came to a T where the course makes a right then goes about a half mile and turns around. Who do I see?!! Keith and Dee! I told Keith I smelled blood in the water and he better not slow down! He has used that phrase on me in the past. Shortly after the turnaround, I pulled away from my hasher friend. I was finding my stride and even ran a few miles under 9:00. I went past 20 in 3:07 and felt surprisingly good! The only walking I would do was when I got drinks from the aid station. I have cramped way too much in previous marathons so I made sure to drink Gator Aid and took several Gel packs.
I was still a bit spooked about cramping up in the last six miles so I ran controlled. Around mile 22, who do I see? Keith! He was alternately walking and running. When I came up behind him, I said," Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ned Beatty from behind?" He said he ran out of gas so I just kept my form not wanting to make his situation worse. I stayed as smooth as I could trying to encourage the runners I was passing as the miles wound down. They had a clock with the one mile to go sign and it said 4:01:30. I picked it up and ran a fast last half mile and finished in 4:09:29. I ran the last mile just under 8:00 minutes. Dee finished in 4:07 something. I told her she should have run with me from the beginning and we both would have run faster! Keith finished a few minutes after me. He usually destroys me at the marathon distance!
I got a ride back to Rita's and got a shower and changed and iced my foot for about 20 minutes. It actually is feeling better now and most of the swelling is gone! I got two blisters but don't feel as beat up as usual. I guess my gout remedy has worked again!
I'm not sure how Bob made out. Someone said he got lost on the course! That was the most comfortable last 10 miles of any marathon I have ever run! I guess having to hold back the first 15 miles or so has its benefits!
I had no intentions to run this marathon but Dee told me last Tuesday if I consider it a training run then I don't have to have trained for it!
The Marathon Fairy finally sprinkled her fairy dust on me! For those of you that have never heard of the Marathon Fairy, She flies above the crowd at the starting line and sprinkles magical fairy dust on runners who haven't trained enough or are injured. The dust allows them to run a good marathon when they shouldn't be able to. The down side is that for every one runner she sprinkles the dust on, she takes a dump on ten! And Keith thought it was a seagull!
No recovery problems. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jimmy Buffett for Land Shark Lager!
Tips/Words of Encouragement:
Don't run too slow! Some times it's a lot better to run in your comfort zone, your normal training pace than slowing down too much and using muscles you aren't used to.
Plans to Run Another:
I'm planning to continue running marathons.
From: Browns Mills , NJ (Male)
Age on race day: 54
2009 Ocean Drive Marathon - Cape May, NJ
This was my 9th marathon
and I finished in 4:09:29.