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HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN… — BY REILLY SMITH

June 3rd, 2009 No Comments

Last week were all rooting for Reilly to meet his lofty, but logical expectations running the marathon.  Here he tells you how it all went down. (BTW, he is a blogger you would enjoy following.  We just need to convert him to tumblr.)

It always happens at mile 20, always. My insides started twisting and a pain shot through my abs and sides, slowed me to a trot. By mile 21, I was grinding and my pace had slowed to something close to 9 minutes per. Over my shoulder, I could see a runner was passing me. In his hand, he was carrying a balloon labeled 3:10:00. He was the pace I had to keep up with to make my time and I told myself that this was the exact fight I set out to pick. I stayed with him for a half a mile before I started to fade…and then I became helpless. The distance between us grew and he slowly drifted away, like I was in a dream and fighting and pushing and pumping my legs but I wasn’t moving.

At 23, my calves and hamstrings started to cramp and freeze and by then there was nothing I could do, like handfuls of others on the side of the road stretching and not moving and so close to the finish…helpless to the cave of their bodies. When it was all said and done, I came in at 3:25. I finished 370 out of 14139 runners. My 10k was 43:04, my half was 1:31:33, my 30k was 2:13:39…which means that everything was going exactly as planned until I hit the “guts” segment of the race, the last quarter. My pace went from 7 to 8 to 9 to 10 and I can tell you that it had a lot less to do with guts than I hoped it would. 

I crossed the line and my hips and shoulders hurt terribly, and my steps were swaying and I felt relief for being done, but I wasn’t relieved. It was the opposite. Truth, I’m a maniac for self abuse, and the fact that I set out to get 3:11:00 and didn’t, it cut me something awful. Then something else happened. I got hungry…and I couldn’t walk but was immediately thinking of the next fight I could pick, the next city that could host my chase. I told myself I want to run the Boston Marathon in April, and I’m not the kind of person to be daunted by setback — skin of a writer. And when someone is holding a running party somewhere in the world and I find myself not invited because I’m 14 minutes too slow…that doesn’t sit pretty in me. Not one bit.

So sleep tonight, back tomorrow. This one’s gonna take another step…or two or ten. I’m alright with that.