Long Version: Danny Boy ran the Medina Half-Marathon today. After volunteering the previous years, but running the course as a training run many times, this would be the first "official" one. He starts slow, running with the 2:20 pace group, and then eventually catching the 2:00 pace group. He talks with several folks along the way, including pacer Shari Geiger, who introduces Danny Boy as a "legend".
The moniker appears to stick for the remainder of the race, as other friends and acquaintances, new and old, keep referring to him as such. Some of this may also due to Danny Boy's blog post about the very first Cleveland Marathon. The thing is, he's not feeling very legendary. First, there are the toes. They're bad; really bad. They're so bad that Danny Boy has had trouble just getting socks and shoes on. Although he's got them wrapped up pretty good now, they are beginning to announce their presence.
And then there's that other result of last week's Cleveland Marathon: general soreness and fatigue. This is taking its toll: even though Danny Boy is speeding up just a little after those early easy miles, he's still not exactly setting the world on fire. He's doing about nine minutes a mile - almost exactly the same pace that he did at last week's thon.
As the runners approach the half-way point, they run along Medina Lake. Danny Boy likes this part. It certainly is scenic. There are puddles along the trail, and most runners skirt around them on the adjacent grassy sides. Danny Boy does this too, until he sees Angela Demchuk running right through the middle of the puddles, experienced trail runner that she is. Danny Boy follows suit, and this suits him well.
Danny Boy struggles on the uphill sections of the course. Although there are no huge hills, there are plenty of smaller ones. Appropriately named Foote Road is Danny Boy's biggest challenge.
At mile nine, Danny Boy gets some Gatorade from an aid station, takes a gulp, and nearly upchucks entirely. It was thick as pea soup, and sweeter and saltier than anything you could imagine. The volunteers had evidently not diluted the super-concentrated solution with water as instructed. Good thing Danny Boy is able to spit most of his big mouthful out without swallowing much. Disaster averted.
The later miles get tougher and tougher for Danny Boy. He's still maintaining the same pace, but now he's going anaerobic. Just before he begins to redline entirely, he hits the twelve-mile mark and starts on the final downhill mile. Downhill, that is, until the very last uphill climb to the Medina Square. People cheer as the legend comes in and crosses the line. Danny Boy loves it when the Square is alive with activity, as it is now. The volunteers are great!
Danny Boy's time is 1:57 and change. He's sixth in his ancient age group. His pace is only a second or three better than last week.
Now his toes are worse.
|Yes, they're worse|