How Broken Foot Marathon and The Running Community Led To A New Lifestyle
In my exit row seat (The Clydesdale needs his leg room) I am reading Runners World during taxi and take off (no electronic toys allowed). As the airplane is taking off I have put the magazine away and I am preparing myself for lavish meal I am sure to receive. Ha! During this time of the electronic free zone, I am noticing across the aisle, sitting in the dreaded middle seat, a guy reading Runners World. Not only is he reading RW but he is reading the same exact article as myself, and now I wonder what kind of runner is he. Is he fast or slow, does he run Marathons or 5k’s, is racing against his DNA or is he compulsive with his race times.. I feel this immediate kinship that runners feel and yet we have not spoken to each other….YET!
How Did I Get Here?
This is making me think about the craziness that is the “Running Community”. I am new to the community by many standards. I am basically 2 years into running; I have finished 5k’s, 10k’s, Half Marathons, Full Marathons. I basically got into running on a dare by my sister in law, who after completing her first marathon and taking the obligatory teasing from me, “Why run, you do own a car”, said I bet you can’t finish a marathon! “Oh, it’s on!” and so the plans were made to meet at the 2011 26.2 with Donna Marathon and I would show her a thing or two! Let’s just skip to race day, because my training was a joke, to call it training would be an insult to all those that had trained. I arrived at the start line of the marathon with a very sore foot, cockiness in my head and not enough glycogen in my muscles to push a shopping cart through the grocery store. I was not schooled on race terms, such as carb loading, body glide, cotton is rotten, hydration, pacing, for that matter I wasn’t even good at running.
The race went as follows:
Miles 1-5 running on adrenaline and my foot hurts
Miles 6-10 running slowly and my foot hurts – Why do they keep trying to hand me packets of slime?
Miles 11 – 15 running really slow and my foot hurts – Why do they keep offering me Vaseline?
Miles 16-20 running, not really but I am calling it running and my foot hurts – Why are people looking at me with looks of pity and shaking their heads?
Miles 20-25 Keeping it real, I was walking but my arms were moving fast and my foot was hurting. – Why do the medics on bikes keep circling me like buzzards over their next meal?
Mile 26+.2 I believe in my heart I was running, but I am not sure I was even moving. I kept thinking someone was talking to me, and then I remembered I had headphones on with music playing. Several people check that, all the people were asking if I was ok, I must have been quite a sight. Then, up the road came this loud voice attached to a 6’5” hulk of a man, it was my little brother. My family was worried and they were hungry and tired of waiting for me. My brother came out and ran that last mile with me. I crossed the finish line in a time of 5 hours 48 mins, they put me in a wheelchair and dumped ice on me. I had a displace fracture of my left foot, dehydrated, and starving. I was chaffed so badly, it looked like I had been dragged down the road instead of running on it. But I put that medal on, and people clapped for me like I had won. It was my first exposure to the awesomeness of the “Running Community”
I spent the next 12 weeks in a boot as my foot healed. I read about running, talked about running, and waited until the doctor gave the ok. On August 14, 2011 I went for a run. I ran 1.87 miles and just about collapsed from exhaustion. The next run I ran 2.01 miles and was just as tired, but I kept pushing and training and working. I travel 200 nights a year for work, so I ran in little towns and big cities, in hotel fitness rooms, and mall parking lots. I ran, in the morning and at night, I just ran. On February 12, 2012, I lined up at the 26.2 with Donna for my comeback. This time, I used BodyGlide, wore tech gear, carb loaded, hydrated, took advantage of the porta johns before the race and set off. I finished my 2nd marathon with a time of 3:59:10 and I was hooked.
So now I sit on this airplane having competed 5 marathons (3:41:42 PR I think it is a requirement to disclose your PR). I sit in the airports each week and try to pick out the runners. I see you in line at
Starbucks with your Garmin taking the place of your Rolex. Standing in line for security, I spot bags received at races that have now become your carry-on luggage. As we all sit putting our shoes on after disrobing to go through the x-ray, I see the wear on your shoes…heel striker – mid foot, etc. So if you see me, stop me, because I would be happy to talk running.
We are descending now, my ears are popping and the pilot is talking in that pilot voice. I am going to hold my Runner’s World Magazine in an obvious way so any runners on the plane can spot me. Maybe, I gain a running partner, or maybe just another runner to talk Long Runs and SpeedWork with for the rest of the flight. We are part of a supportive, diverse, awesome community and I love it!
I will let you know what brand of running shoe Middle Seat guy prefers!