I am a marathoner, again

I could be mad. I could be sad. I could feel sorry for myself. But this isn't the time for any of that. If I'm hard on myself or upset about how today went, I would be doing a disservice to myself.

Today I overcame some crazy challenges that life has thrown at me in the past month and finished the Richmond Marathon in 4:45. In what was easily the worst race when it comes to pace, I can't be disappointed with pushing through it.

I left whatever was remaining in me after all this training and knee problems and recent illness on that course today. Sure my knee gave me hell -- it started bothering me about 3 miles in, and I was oh-so close to just packing it in a few miles later. But when I saw my wife at the first party zone, I just kept going.

I started walking through the water stops very early on and after those first stops through the halfway point I would feel pretty good. Through mile 16 or so, I took a walk break for about 30 seconds or so at some point in every mile up until about mile 19.

For the last several miles I did a run-walk as best I could: I would run until my back and legs would tighten up. Then I'd walk for a quarter mile or so. I was pleasantly surprised that my mile times were staying between 13-14 minutes.

Just before mile 25 I saw a familiar face as my wife had walked from the finish line to meet me. I had sent her a text near mile 23 saying I'd probably be close to 45 minutes before I got to the finish. Then for about 3/4 of a mile she stuck with me during my run-walk. It was truly a special moment in this tough day.

You can tell a lot from my splits. Things were actually rolling along just fine until halfway, but at mile 20 it pretty much unraveled: 9:09, 8:57, 9:29, 9:59, 9:44, 9:36, 9:28, 9:15, 9:20, 9:22, 10:08, 9:54, 10:09, 9:45, 9:41, 10:16, 10:50, 11:47, 11:45, 13:50, 14:02, 14:01, 13:18, 12:52, 12:59 and 15:36 (final 1.2).

After I decided to stick with it, I made a big mental shift to do whatever I had to do to make myself not suffer too much pain and to prevent too much damage to my body. Seven hours after the fact, my lower part of my body is feeling like it should after a marathon and my knee hurts like everything else does. I hope that's a good thing.

There are a lot of other things on my mind with how today went, but I am a marathoner for the second time. And nobody can take that away from me.