On the Road and Going Long


Joel M. Tejeda
Missourirunner

EDITOR'S NOTE: Joel M. Tejeda has been a regular the past few years at our races, though he lives in Missouri and his work schedule keeps him from joining us except at races. He stays in touch through our online forum, and his schedule has been even more limiting this year. Here he tells us about his first race of 2013, a marathon in Cincinnati, finishing in 4:43.

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Check out our archive for previous travels On the Road, and remember we invite you to share your own story, cause or advice with our members.

While some of you Roadrunners were having fun running in an inaugural endurance race with freezing snowy conditions (south of the Missouri border) somewhere in the Ozarks, I was in Cincinnati running the Flying Pig Marathon on Sunday, 05 May. A few things I learned:

Next time I will fabricate my expected finish time ... I was placed in Corral E (4 hrs 15 mins to 4 hrs 45 min) because I wanted this marathon to be a "training run" to evaluate where I am with my training. Since this was my very first race of 2013, I was looking forward to maintaining a 10 minute/mile pace. Being placed that far back led to me to walking forward at first, dodging slower walkers, but gave me an impressive view of Paul Brown Stadium. When the pace picked up and a slow jog was easy to maintain my first mile was 9:59.75.

I learned that runners who wear costumes or weird attire are the ones who have the most fun. I can only imagine their experience. I see them as not really connected with the race as they seem to gab, wave at spectators, and run slow, but I see them as an important underpinning to this race — they seem to connect to everyone easier with their outgoing friendliness. Without these type runners I would imagine a less exciting event to cheer from the sidelines.

Did that make sense?

The course was well marked and lined with an abundance of volunteers, and I personally made the effort to put aside my "agony, why am I running this race, too tired to go on, I should stick to 5Ks" facial expression and switched to my sexy, good looking, handsome (okay, I'm only joking) face and gave each little one that held out their little hands one huge smile and a "high 5." Of course some runners ignored them but I viewed it as taking a few seconds off my overall time to help achieve what these little tykes wanted — they wanted to be "high fived" by a racer. That to me is worth it.

To me that was worth my effort in running. Hey, they could have been elsewhere. Right?

I clocked a 2:05:53 at the halfway mark, so I was a little faster than what I wanted but I was feeling good. I had to remind myself to be more disciplined and ease up because the hills toward the end of the race would slow me down. By mile 20 I was hurting. Hurting can be described as I took frequent walk breaks (keeping them to 60 seconds). Both soles were aching (I believe it to be my shoes that I need to replace) and my thighs tightened up but I pushed forward.

Ever notice that people will yell out things things that seem ... seem ... oh, I don't know. An example is I would hear: "You're almost there. Keep going," and I react, like, thinking: "You think?" Another might be "Just three more miles" and I react like thinking: "I heard that three miles back" and yet another (which is my all-time favorite) would be "looking good" and I react like thinking: "Sister, I look horrible. I'm covered in sweat, I'm in pain, I stink, I have no desire to put on a tap dance routine and YOU HAVE THE GALL TO SAY I LOOK GOOD!" Oops, sorry. I got carried away — not you, sister; it's me.

Ahem.

Lifting me is to see the "Finish Swine" and hearing hundreds upon hundreds of cheering fans that lined both sides of the streets. Hearing cow bells. Hearing hand clackers. It's all worth it. The pain goes away. I have renewed energy. I leap into the air at the end of the race. I cried (no, I can't say that) and after making the sign of the cross, I said to myself, "This is all worth it." Indeed.

I hope this short video clip works and is viewable to you Roadrunners.

P.S.: Only person missing from the race was my best friend.