Above: Post-marathon picture and medal
Things went bad for me in Memphis. On a course far easier than the Kansas City course in which I qualified for Boston, I could not maintain my energy level; I was running a 7 minute and 13 second per mile pace until my legs went out at mile 22. I was beyond frustrated and disappointed. I have decided to reevaluate my training and my diet; I have even considered seeing a nutritionists. I know I must train harder. I ran a 3 hours and 20 minute race…10 minutes slower than I wanted…. Oh, and there is The Wall:” The Wall.” It evades easy definition, but to borrow from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of obscenity, you know it when you see it—or rather, hit it. It usually happens around mile 20, give or take a couple of miles. Your pace slows, sometimes considerably. Some runners say that it feels as though their legs had been filled with lead quail shot, like the stomach of Mark Twain’s unfortunate jumping frog of Calaveras County. Others can’t feel their feet at all. Thought processes become a little fuzzy. (“Mile 22, again? I thought I just passed mile 22!”) Muscle coordination goes out the window, and self-doubt casts a deep shadow over the soul. (reference)
I finished 17th out of 262 runners in my division; I was aiming for a top 10 finish; I placed 88th overall out of 2,416 runners in all divisions. I took yesterday off, but I am ready to resume training for Boston; I will compete in two more races before the Boston Marathon — a half-marathon in Austin, and an 18.6 miler this Sunday. I am scheduled to complete 80 miles this week. I will do 6 – 9 miles of it in a pool today.
An hour before the race, U.S. Congressman Cohen of Tennessee and his deputy came over to chat with me about my training, family, and academic work; we discussed Memphis BBQ and the greatness of the St. Jude Marathon. However, we avoided heavy matters of politics.