San Francisco Marathon RUNSFM


Lungs..Dont fail me now! Only 100 feet to go…

RUNSF Marathon 7/31/2005

This was the first Marathon and the only competitive sports event that I ever participated in. At the age of 50, I crossed the finish line for the 1/2 Marathon at 3:12:49 , I came in 1637th place …lol..but I finished.

I made up my mind to do this race back in April which only gave me about 3 months to get in shape. At the time , I knew nothing about walking a marathon. I didn’t even know you could..
After some research though, I found out that thousands of people do it every year, even people with disabilities. Could I really do this? After all, we’re talking about walking 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles not 3 or 4 which I was currently doing. Then there’s the small matter of having only a 40% lung capacity. Am I crazy? Is the prednisone finally effecting my brain?

I began my so called.. training , by following a 16-week walking schedule that I pulled off the internet. The only problem is that I had less than 16 weeks. I modified it a little bit and was off and walking..
After 8 weeks I was doing 3 miles daily plus a slightly longer walk on Saturdays . They say that the key to success in completing a marathon or half marathon are those” longer” training walks but, since I only had 4 weeks left, I had to jump from 5 miles to 10 miles in one week. Well, I did that 10 mile walk BIG MISTAKE… 3 days later ended up in the hospital for nearly a week. I don’t know what happened? Sure the walk was tough, it took a lot out me but, a few hours later I felt OK. It wasn’t until the next day that I caught a cold and every time I catch a cold it exacerbates my asthma and I end up in the hospital. Great..now I only have 3 weeks left and I’m still tapering off the prednisone.

I’d been out of the hospital for 3 days and I was drugged out of mind. So what do I do? I do a nice 3 mile walk and screw up my left knee. ( I forgot to mention that prednisone weakens muscle) So now I have a knee brace and I have to reduce my walks to 1 or 2 miles for at least a week. This is crazy.. Why am I doing this? There s no way I’m ever going to be able to pull this race off. I swear that went through my head everyday as Im walking, wheezing and now limping.
The only thing that kept me going ( except the fact that I would lose my $70.00 entry fee) was that I had already walked a 10 miler. All I needed was to walk 3 more measly miles.
The race was less than 2 weeks now and my knee is still giving me problems, but thank god my lungs are doing better and Im off the prednisone. The week before the race I decided I would try to do one more ” longer” walk . I walked part of the actual race route thru Golden Gate park. Total miles 8.2, not bad. I was feeling more hopeful.
My biggest fear now was that I would get sick the night before the race and all of this training ( and suffering) would have been for nothing. Lucky for me that didn’t happen.

On race morning I felt better than average, not great but, pretty good. Douglas dropped me off at the start line and we discussed back up plans in the event I was unable to finish the race. I had my cell phone with me so I would just call him to pick me up along the course. I wouldnt be caught dead by taking one of those SAG buses for the injured and sick, to embarrassing
Raceday….July 31 2005
(When you register to run or walk the half marathon at the RUNSFM , they give you the option of starting in the first half or the 2nd half. I chose the 2nd half which actually starts at mile 13.)

The first 5 miles the race were a breeze( this was my daily walk) One thing I noticed was that there were lots of walkers, in fact almost everybody was walking.( A lot of these walkers were actually runners who had run out of steam after the previous 13 miles.) Anyway, miles 6-10 were the hardest, seems I forgot that I was walking through SF which isn’t exactly flat. After crossing the 11th mile marker I called Douglas on my cell phone and said” I think Im gonna make it” I cant tell you how good could I felt.. The last 2 miles seemed like 20 ………17 minutes later ..I DID……. IT I FINISHED THE DAMN THING!
I couldnt believe it, neither could Douglas.

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One Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Steve,

    I’m proud of you for your dedication to walking and training. I think it’s great the way you work around the constraints of your limitations, and have developed a symbiosis of sorts. I’m looking for pics of the next one.

    The blog is terrific, btw. Now you don’t have to email everyone to keep us up-to-date. Great idea.

    Love,

    Sheree

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