My today race consisted of 4 stages.
The Serenity Stage - Miles 1-6
The quiet and calm of an early Sunday morning before daylight, leads the mind to ponder thoughts about the virtues of running. I'm reminded of what a wonderful life I lead; from the family support I receive to the amazing physical and mental benefits that running a marathon provides. Smooth jazz songs flow through my headphones in time with the gently rushing waters of the Little Blue River along the trail. The sun slowly rises above the horizon and promises to take the chill off my body. At the moment, there's no place I'd rather be.
The Delusional Stage - Miles 7-13
I'm warmed up and now into the race. Things are going well, my pace is good and thoughts of a personal best dance in my head. The magic number to me is 4:20 or averaging a 10 minute mile pace. There's no mile markers on the course and I wear a Bulova Accutron, not a Garmin, so I'll have to rely on feel for my pace. I'm most certainly running below 10:00. And I feel great! I begin thinking about how close to a BQ I would be if I keep this up. The adrenaline is pumping as my mind is racing as fast as my legs. Yeah, this could be the day I put it all together.
The Faded Glory Stage - Miles 14-20
Somewhere around mile 14, reality begins to set in. My shadow looks up at me and laughs, "I told you to take it easy, you didn't even train that hard and you expect to set a PR?" I'm still hanging tough and begin to try and think of a Mantra so I don't have to listen to my shadow. "I've got inner strength, that will keep me going." I try to keep reciting, but along comes a new pain I've never felt before. Soon, this pain in my left foot hobbles me enough to where I need to walk. Walking provides little relief and the pain intensifies. It feels as if my shoe lace is too tight, so I loosen up the bow, but to no avail. After walking a half mile or so, I give running another attempt. The pain hasn't completely gone, but at least feels bearable for now. The aid station around mile 16 is approaching and this is located at the start area, so I am considering calling it a day. I reach the aid station and miraculously, the foot feels OK now. I grab a couple of Aleve and continue on. The Aleve works wonderfully, at least for a couple miles. Here I am, nearing the 20 mile mark and the pain has returned with a vengeance.
The Hallucinatory Stage - Miles 21-26
My mind now has to deal with the constant pain in my foot as well as the tightening hamstrings and a mental state that can't focus on anything positive. I'm past the point of no return so I have to finish. My pace has slowed dramatically as I watch Survivor Man pass by. Wow, a celebrity, what's he doin' out here? After a quick blink of the eyes, he's gone. Damn, I had some questions. I bit later I notice a 5 piece band playing in the adjacent meadow. Journey to the Center of the Mind? Is this a 1960's experiment? Wow, I need water. I need to lay down. Or is it lie down, I don't know, I'm confused. Eventually, the gates opened and I entered the 26.2 zone.
I have no idea how I made it through the last 5 miles!
Finish Time 4:44:01