Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harrisburg Marathon 2016

I know this is my first post in a very long time, and I should get back to writing these race reports so I will try to.  I heard it can be therapeutic, and right now I could probably use it.

Anyways the Harrisburg Marathon 2016,  was 6th time running this event (which I calculated in my head so you know it is probably wrong). 

I had the goal of running a sub 3:05 which is a guarantee entry into Boston (also a guarantee into London, but I don't think the mini-van will be able to cross the pod), a 3:10 is a qualifier but you have to wait to see if the time meets the qualifying time to get in (to qualify for Boston you have to have a qualifying time to enter it, they keep the registration open for a week so everyone who has one can enter, then they calculate using some algorithm using the number of entries and the number of people they can have in, and they come up with some number between 1-300 which will be the seconds they will take off the qualifying time.  So when I ran it the number was 97 and I had a time of 3:07:53 which is more than 97 second off of 3:10 and so I got it. Got all that?). Now to the race and the race build up.

For this marathon I was training with my new friend Bud Hostler who I met though mutual friends Craig and Dee Ann Murphy.  We both had a goal of breaking 3:05, his was a 3:00, but said 3:05 as a back up. We had two training runs one was 20 and one was 15 with the last 5 being race pace.  So I met up with Bud Sunday morning and we did some warm up laps around the island, and then I did my usually porta-john stops for my warm up after that I stopped by my car to drop off my sweatshirt and I headed to the start line.  I met with Bud at the start line, which was on The Market Street Bridge, and the plan was to keep a 6:30 to 7:00 minute mile for as long as we could.  

The plan was working great we stuck together and a good solid pace just around 6:30-6:45 a mile (my watch would vibrate me if I went slower than 7:00 and if I went faster than a 6:45).  My watch was vibrating but I kept checking it, and as long as I was close to 6:45 time and if I felt fine I would just keep going.  At mile 5 miles my stomach started to rumble and I thought I might need to make a pit stop, which I did at mile 9 on the island I called out to Bud to tell him to go and I will catch up, I was out for about 20-30 second and got out of the porta-john as quick as possible.  I turned the corner on the north side of the island and could see Bud so I knew I didn't lose to much time and heard Dee Ann and Darrin say to take it easy and finish strong.  I kept my wits about me and just ran my pace I was already faster than the 7:00 minute mile so I knew I would be okay if I could keep this pace.  I slowly caught back to Bud around mile 18 or 19 we were back on Front Street at this time and could tell he was struggling, I was starting to struggle around this time too.  I told myself just run it mile by mile and I will eventually get to the finish line.  I slowly pulled away from Bud, Bud told me just to go and he would be okay.  I think Bud and I were on the same wave length here, if I was in trouble I would want him to go as well.  He also knew I was younger and my qualifying was faster than his time, and the ultimate goal if everything else failed was to get a qualifying time to Boston, and maybe that is why he told be to go (to be honest I really doubt any of us has a good memory of what actually happened, it just did, and I was grateful for him to be there to support me and I was glad to support him too).  I saw him at the turn around and he was still looking good.  This is when I started to feel the wheels falling off of the wagon.  I knew Mile 17 was the first mile slower than 7:00, and mile 20 was my first mile slower than 7:15 (which is a 3:10 pace) but I kept telling myself my first half was so good I have some time to loose if I needed too (and boy did I).  At this time I started hearing Bob Rudolf, Jason Foggleman and Susan Cappelli cheering for me.  They were on their bikes riding the course, I think they were following me, but again I can't be sure at this point of the race (I might of been delusional) .

At this point I remember what 6-time Ironman World Champion, Dave Scott, told me in a speech. Which was during any endurance event you will hit a point where you feel like stopping, but you will get through it, just keep going and you will get through it.  I believed that so I just told myself that everything was okay and just keep running these miles and this pain will pass.  I turned down Green Street and I saw my friend Emily, from HARRC and the River Runners, going the other way and I gave her a high-five and wished her luck (I think it was Emily, again at this point in the race things were getting fuzzy).

The aid station on Green Street was the first I walked though, I grab a water and Gatorade and just started running again (knowing if I walked the legs were just going to hurt more). I kept telling my self to push just to the end the current mile and I will feel better.  I was around mile 22 when I turned back on to Front Street, and just said one more mile and we only have a 5K to the finish.  My quads at this point were screaming for me to stop, begging me to just walk, and I just told them to shut the hell up I will stop when we get to the finish line.   Right before the 24 mile marker I met up with, Mike Rebuck a cross country coach, and a one of his other friends running the race too.  He kept me running, with words of encourgement and he was helping to keep my form together.  At this point there were two miles to go, and how two miles was really like 16 or maybe 17 minutes, I can survive 17 minutes, right?

At this time I remembered how I ran my first marathon with my friend, Matt Smith, and we ran a 4:40 and at this point of the marathon we just wanted it to be over, and at the finish line I told him "NEVER AGAIN!!" and I was looking up other races later that evening.  I also remember how lucky I was to be able to run, I was able to run a sub 9 minute mile pace when my legs are screaming for me to stop.

We made it to the river front and I broke up the race into sections at this point, and used land marks as starting position for the sections.  The first sections was the Walnut Street bridge, just get there and the next one will be the top of the hill, just a short few yards up a small incline (which everyone hates), then the Harvey Taylor Bridge where we turn around and make the final approach to the finish, then to Pine Street  then Second and then I will be able to see the finish.  I kept telling myself just a few more seconds and I will be there.  I finally made it to Second Street and Mike was cheering me on, and I can hear the crowd cheering for me to finish.  I finally crossed the finish line and the volunteer grabbed me and as I was trying to catch my breath, but before I could they took me to the med-tent.  I guess I looked really bad, I was trying to tell them that I was okay but they weren't having any of it, they took me in checked my blood pressure and my temperature, apparently I was okay, and then I got a massage and then I left the med-tent.  I then picked up my medal and saw my family, we chatted for a bit and they went off to the Whitaker Center, and I went back to thank Craig, Dee Ann, Darrin, Bud, Mike and anyone else I could find for helping me finish this marathon.  It was really tough and I really did want to quit at some points, but I knew I wouldn't forgive myself if I started walking.  I am truly thankful for Bud for keeping me on pace for the first half of the marathon, and training with me.  I am also thankful for Mike for getting me through the last sections of the race, I really couldn't have done it without you two.

I went back to my car which was parked on City Island, I went to reach for my car key which is always in the pocket, which has a zipper on it, that is attached to my shorts.  The zipper was open and there was no key to be found in it.  I lost my key, and my phone was locked in my car so to call my wife I needed to walk back to the finish line.  So I slowly walked back and found Dee Ann and used her phone to call my wife and thank God she had one of the spare keys.  I went to the Whitaker Center and got the key, and then I contacted my friend, Kelly who was working the finish line, to see if she found a key, which she did and it was mine.  So some really, really nice person found it on City Island and put it in the lost and found, thank you nice person I owe you one.

I really do want to thank everyone who came out to cheer for me, and cheer for the people running the marathon and the relay on that day.  It has been said by Katherine Switzer, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."  I have to say I was starting to lose faith in human nature that week, and I was so glad to see everyone cheering everyone on.

I also want to thank Lind Beck, she is part of the River Runners, which is a Facebook group that has over 1,000 members and her and two other River Runners took the 47 members of the group that were running the marathon and wrote a small piece on them, which I include here:

Over the next few weeks, Jeff Paladina is profiling River Runners who are competing in the Harrisburg full marathon on November 13. The idea is for you all to get to know them, so you can cheer them along the course on race day. If you can't cheer them on race day, you can support them virtually. (Feel free to post a message of support below). Kelly Leighton and I are helping out since we are almost at marathon day, and still have quite a few runners left!
Allow me to introduce you to another one of our “fast kids,” Keith Evans. Not only is he fast, but according to Norbert Randolph, he is also “the nicest guy ever.”
Keith ran short distances when he was in high school into his early 20’s. But, he says, “Life kind of got in the way in my mid 20’s” and he didn’t run again until he was almost 30. Why did he start again? Because he had gained enough weight to have it affect his cholesterol; instead of going on medication, he asked for 30 days to prove he could start making a difference. (And, time has shown he certainly did.)
At first, he rode his bike until it had to go into the shop. That forced him to run every day which “made me think I could run a marathon—something I have always wanted to do,” he said.
Athlinks lists him as completing the Harrisburg Marathon on November 9, 2008 at a time of 4:40:48. Between then and now, he has completed 13 other marathons, including Boston in 2015. He said he felt overtrained and didn’t get the time he wanted there—especially with poor weather that day--so his current goal is to get back to Boston with a finish time of 3:05, hopefully on Sunday. (Talk about a little bit of improvement!)
Now, he loves “just running and letting my head clear of all the problems I may have.” He also said, “I think the reason I still run eight years going is the way I feel now compared to how I felt in my 20’s. I remember I always felt lethargic and now I don’t.”
Many know him as a dedicated triathlete. Keith says he enjoys the cross training of bike riding and swimming but he says he also enjoys triathlons because it’s a “lot of fun doing more than one sport.”
More than just a triathlete, he can also be called an IRONMAN, having completed Ironman Texas in 2012 with an overall time of 12:47:13.
Dee Ann Murphy had this to say about Keith: “He is a sweet guy who is dedicated to his family, uses races in triathlons and running to give back. And, he’s a total stud on the race course.”
He’s given back by raising thousands of dollars for Team in Training (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and the American Cancer Society. “When I was running, I always thought I could do more,” he said, so when Team in Training sent recruiting materials, he decided to get involved. Since then, he’s lost a family friend (Georgenna Pulitti) to Leukemia and his Uncle Larry this past summer to cancer. Those losses have prompted him to continue to want to give back.
Those opportunities have also given him two great friends, including Jason Fogleman and Bob Rudolph (aka Norbert Randolph). “I would like to give a shout out to Jason. In 2013, when I ran my qualifying time, he ran the last six miles with me keeping me on pace. This year, Bud Hostler and I are planning to run together for the whole race and I’m hoping I can stay with him.”
Keith has been married for 11 years and has two beautiful girls, with his lovely wife, Lisa; they often cheer him on at races and plan to be there on Sunday. He said family activities keep him very busy so that he often completes his training before 7 am!
Authors Note: Since I know his mom, I had to ask her for a few words and this is what she had to say: “His dad and I are so proud of him. He amazes us with his times. He doesn’t like me bragging about his races, but I do anyway.” Spoken like a true mom!
Keith, your whole family and the rest of us are rooting for you to get that BQ on Sunday. May the wind be at your back so you can nail down that 3:05 time!
When you see Keith on November 13, give him a loud River Runners cheer! Good luck Keith! River Runners Nation is behind you! Send Em! Ole Ole Ole!

Thank you for reading,