For many years, even before I started running, I wanted to run a marathon. I've always though running was harder than biking or hiking, and I thought the challenge would be fun. Last week I accomplished this goal when I completed the Philadelphia marathon.
The training for me didn't really start until after the Lake Oneida Elite Series event. I had been running a lot prior to that, but not fully training for the marathon. As fishermen, running is the one form of a workout that we can do on the road. I thought about bringing a bike on the road, but it just isn't feasible with the amount of space we have.
At probably the most important point of the training, I hit a road bump. Just a few weeks before the event I came down with walking pneumonia and that really affected my training. It probably happens to a lot of runners.
Philadelphia was awesome. With 33,000 participants, I never was more than a few yards from another runner. I met a lot of people along the way and never once did someone ask me about my favorite drop shot hook or worm. Before the race, we walked around the city and checked out the history. I got a tour and saw the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell and some other historic locations.
I thought the course was going to be pretty flat, but I found out it was far from that. It seemed like I was constantly going up a hill or down a hill. I started a little closer to the front than I had for previous (non-marathon) races, which I think helped my time a little. At one point, I was running in the opposite direction of the winner and got to see him run toward me for a few minutes. He was doing a 5 minute mile pace.
This was the hardest physical test I have ever given myself. I have backpacked 100 miles and mountain biked 30 and neither was close to being as physically tough as running a marathon. Miles 21 through 25 were extremely tough, and as much as I wanted to stop and walk, I didn't. I wanted to keep my pace for my 3 hour and 40 minute goal. I ended up doing 3 hours and 56 minutes. I’m satisfied with that.
During the run, I drank a gallon of water and ate 30 times. Not full meals, but the small fuel pack meals they were giving out. I still lost seven or eight pounds during the four hours of running.
When I crossed the finish line, I was spent. I left it all on the road; I had nothing left. I challenged myself and pushed my body as far as it can go. I love challenges, and this was my toughest challenge yet. After the race it was hard to even walk. It's been ten days now, and I’m still not fully recovered.
There were a few things about running a marathon that I didn't realize until I completed one. First, if you can run a marathon you are in good shape, period. Second, if you like to eat, then you need to run because I ate a ton after the race. I ate three hamburgers the night of the race — not small ones either, one pound hamburgers. Plus, I have a six pack now, and I never did one sit up. Over the course of training and the marathon, I didn't lose a lot of weight, but I did gain a lot of muscle. I went from a size 34 waist to a size 31 waist over the past 6 months.
I'd like to give a big shout out to Ken Hoover for teaching me how to Eat to Compete (which is also his company’s name). Replacing the calories that are burned is critical, and Ken's expertise was essential.
I will run more marathons — hopefully at least one a year from now on. Maybe Chicago or Washington D.C. would be a good one for next year. I will have to check the schedule and see what fits in. I'm even thinking that going to Europe and running a marathon would be cool. They have them all over the world. I think going overseas to run one would my best chance to get Lesley to run one with me.
With the Bassmaster Classic less than three months away, I’m turning my focus back to fishing, but I will continue to run. I'd like to tell everyone to get out there and run or do something that will get your heart rate up. You'll have more energy and be much healthier.