Cape Cod Marathon, 2008

Just before I headed off to China for the Beijing Marathon, I ran into Dane in the fitness center.  He's training for the JFK again, and would be running the Bay State Marathon on the same day as Beijing.  He mentioned that he'd be running the Cape Cod Marathon the following week, and that I should join him.  I thought for a second or two, and figured that if I didn't cripple myself in Beijing, why not?  So I ran back to my office, registered just before the cutoff, and headed off to Beijing.

Roll forward a few days, I'm back from Beijing, feeling surprisingly good, but probably feeling better than I looked.  My friend Xuan, perhaps out of sympathy for me, or perhaps out of a moment of sheer stupidity (it's contagious), told me I shouldn't run Cape Cod, and that she wanted my number.  I knew that it was pretty much impossible for somebody who's never run more than 6 miles to just jump in and finish a marathon, but who am I to tell somebody that they can't do something?  So I told her that if she could run 13 miles during our training run the Thursday before the marathon, she could have my number, and I'd run as a bandit in support.

7.5 miles later, my number remained in my possession (drats!), and Xuan was signed up as last 10k pacer.

Friday night before the marathon, I developed a little cough and congestion, which by Saturday had turned into a full blown head cold.  Wonderful.  We'd made plans to meet in the Cisco parking lot at 5:30 AM Sunday morning, so I headed off to bed early Saturday, only to stare at the ceiling all night long, with a splitting headache, and unable to breathe.

Now I know what you're thinking.  A normal, sane person would just stay home and rest, but for some reason that was not was was going through my admittedly twisted mind.  I just kind of figured that I could lie in bed all day Sunday, miserable, or I could plod along the Cape Cod seashore all day Sunday, also miserable, but hopefully losing weight at the same time.  Besides, if I ever did get to sleep I'd still have to wake up at the crack of dawn to tell the others, and if you're going to wake up at 4:30 AM, you may as well stay up.

Around 2:00 AM, my trusty (ha!) Samsung Blackjack phone beeped at me.  I grabbed it, because I figured if somebody was paging me at this hour it must be important, but no, it was just the phone asking me if I wanted to adjust for daylight savings time.

Whoo hoo!  Thank God for this wonderful device!  I'd just gained an extra hour!  I could use that time, either to hopefully get some sleep, or if not then to stare at the ceiling for an extra hour!  Yay!  I know, I've cursed this device in the past, because for the most part, it doesn't work as either a phone or a data device, but now, finally, it was proving it's worth!

I finally fell asleep at the *new* 2:00, and woke up at 4:00.  Ok, now I had a nice, leisurely hour and a half to get ready.  At 4:38 I started getting calls, first from Dane, then from Xuan, wondering where the heck I was.  Ha!  I laughed at them, didn't they realize it was the end of daylight savings time?  Go back to sleep!  Dane cursed at himself, Xuan cursed at me, and both promised to be ready at the *correct* time.

At 5:00, I was enjoying a nice bowl of Wheaties (breakfast of champions), and I happened to notice that the clock on my computer said 6:00.  Huh?  What's the matter with this piece of crap?  Doesn't it know that daylight savings time is over?  Just to be safe, I did a quick search on "2008 daylight savings time", and discovered that this year it changed the first week of November.

WTF!!!!  It really *is* 6:00!!  Holy crap!  The marathon starts at 8:30 AM, and we're a couple hours drive from there!

A quick call to Dane and Xuan, who were now both cursing me, and we all rushed to hook up ASAP.  We raced down 495 to the Cape, and actually arrived before 7:45, which wasn't too bad.  Fortunately, Captain Pat's lovely wife had picked up our numbers the prior day, so all we had to do was meet at the starting line and pin them on.

For me, the whole race was kind of a painful blur.  Despite 4 Aleve at the starting line, at mile #2 my hips and knees started hurting, and I knew this was a big mistake.  Who the heck am I to think I could do this kind of nonsense two weeks in a row?  Captain Pat and his family were running this event as a few relay teams, kids vs girls vs guys, so hopefully I could find them at one of the transition areas and try to collapse gracefully.  By mile mile 7 my knees and hips were in agony, and at mile 8 I decided I'd quit at mile 9, the second transition area for the relay runners.  But when I got there, Pat, Xuan, and the entire crowd were cheering frantically, and for some really stupid reason I just kept running.  I got about a tenth of a mile further down the road, and realized that I'd kind of forgotten to quit, but turning around didn't seem like an option at that point.  Besides, Ranger Dave would probably beat the crap out of me if I quit so early, so I decided to hang in there until at least the half, or the next relay transition point, which it turns out was at mile 15.

I can't remember much, except that at mile 10 I pulled out my remaining 4 Aleve, dropped one, and was in so much pain that I picked it up off the ground and swallowed it along with the others.  I think I would have retrieved it after dropping it in a porta potty, I was hurting so much.  All I had to do was make it to mile 15..

Well, as luck would have it, there was nobody at mile 15 to collapse in front of.  Pat and crew either hadn't stopped, or were so far in front of me at that point that they had to get to the next one.  So I had no choice but to keep moving forward.  I was begging for drugs at every water stop, why don't they serve drugs at marathon water stops?  Seriously!  I mean, is *water* supposed to make you feel better?  The only thing water is good for is washing down drugs!  Next time, I'm just going to forget about running, and just camp out at mile 15 with a case of Aleve.  I think I could become rich selling drugs to people like me!

I finally stumbled into the transition point at mile 20.5, and there was Xuan, all ready to run, and with a freshly peeled orange waiting for me!  She also had her cell phone with her, and I noticed she'd already dialed a 9 and a 1..

I've got to say, having a pacer for the last part of a marathon really makes a difference.  Those last 6 miles were somehow easier than the prior 6, and with the sun out it had turned into an incredible run along the Cape Cod seashore.  If only someone wasn't driving spikes into my knees and hips, it might have almost been pleasant.

We made it to the finish line, Pat graciously hosted us at his house for pizza and a hot shower, and I died.

Dane is going for 3 in a row next week in Manchester.  There's no effing way I'd ever consider it.

Unless I'm feeling better tomorrow..

Pictures can be found <here>.