Randy Woodward (MM15271) – What’d ya do this weekend?
Woke up at 4am Sunday morning. Couldn’t sleep. Thought to myself “Self, there’s a local marathon that starts in 3½ hours and you need the training”. So instead of doing the smart thing and go back to bed I scrambled to feed the dog, shower, get run clothing together, do the pre marathon stuff (band-aids, body glide, safety pins, trim the nose hair, take pain pills for the back, grab a half dozen gel packs, etc), take the dog outside again, grab the flag and pole, the back support and rush out the door. Made it to Greenway near the dam at Percy Priest Lake 30 minutes before start time. Found race director Lynda de Paulis and she was gracious enough to get me registered. At this juncture I was not thrilled about running the marathon with the flag. Still slowly recovering from Pikes Peak Marathon two weekends ago and St Joseph Marathon plus Quad Cities Marathon last weekend. Lynda understood if I didn’t use the flag, but preferred I did if possible. Those that know me well know it hard to turn away a good challenge.
This years Nashville Greenway Marathon was special. Tomas de Paulis (Lynda’s husband) was the race director and local running legend. He and Lynda started the Music City Marathon in 1988. Nashville did not have a marathon prior. He was an accomplished runner, triathlete and did a lot for the running community in and around Nashville. We lost Tomas recently. This years Greenway Marathon was a tribute to Thomas and all he has given to the running community. As for the flag, now you know why I had now problem telling Lynda why it would go the distance with me during the marathon.
I started of strong and without issue. First couple of miles held a 8:45+/mile pace. Too fast! It’s easy to over work myself. Still fighting chest and heart related pain when overdoing it. It causes high pulse rate and zaps the energy out of my body. Target pace needed to be 11min/mile. Wanted to finish right at 5 hours. Lots of hills. Lots of tree limbs to dodge. Finally slowed myself down and got a little rest at the water stations. Started walking a few uphills and jogging down. Unfortunately the earlier fast pace took its toll and energy level plummeted. Not a worry as I was still on track to finish around 5hr 30min. That is if I could keep my eyes open. Strange feeling to want to sleep while you’re jogging.
Somewhere around mile 19 encountered a runner sitting on the deck of a bridge having leg and foot issues. Named Angela, she was fighting pain from months prior injuries. Once Angela was able to walk again I committed to staying with her, making sure she crossed the finish line. We walked and talked approx 4 miles together. Angela did quite well considering her injuries and taking occasional breaks.
Close to mile 23 Angela and I met a very young man named Salvador. Salvador was sitting on the edge of the trail, left shoe off and trying to re-wrap his foot with pieces of clothing. This was Salvador’s first marathon attempt. We used my sweat wipe bandana to wrap his ankle area and get the shoe back on. He doesn’t know what happened to his foot. Once back on his feet struggled to hobble along and put pressure on the foot. We were moving so very slowly. Angela went on as she was still able to get a decent finish time and get off her feet. I stuck with Salvador moving a few feet and stopping frequently to give his foot a rest. Ended up removing the flag, draping it over my neck (like I did during the NYC marathon), collapsing the pole and giving it to Salvador to use as a crutch. It worked! We were stopping less for breaks and my Garmin registered us doing a whopping 39minute/mile pace. We got a good chuckle out of that. I’m sure I talked his ears off, but it helped make the miles go by quicker. We had one of the water station volunteers ride by to check on us. Offered to let Salvador ride the bicycle back. Was a very kind gesture, but I said no. Told her Salvador has made it this far, we can’t allow him to diminish his efforts and get a DNF. If he still felt he could keep moving, that’s what we’d do. I believe her name was Amanda. She ride on to let the workers at the finish line know we would continue to trudge along. Salvador was able to complete his first marathon just shy of 7hrs 40mins. No matter the time a finish is a finish. He was already taking about training plans for another marathon once his foot heals up.
So that was my Sunday.
Oh, there was also a Monkey King sighting. Flying Monkey Marathon local Trent Rosenbloom graced is with his presence.
Photo and Post Credit Randy Woodward