My first marathon and sadly....the death of the hulk shoes

Go Mr. Johnson! GO!

Ran my first marathon 2 weeks ago! (I am using the term "ran" very loosely as the first half was more or less "jogging with a hangover" while the second half was shuffling along like an old man trying to break out of a retirement home.) The race itself was called "Hammer Hamrick's 26.4 on highway 264." I'm relatively certain they gave it a clever name so that you will forget that you're doing something incredibly stupid.

   We started out around 5:00 am and the first several miles I kept about a 10 min pace while the rest of my teammates blazed ahead. (I am still not totally convinced that they aren't from the future, sent back to kill some dude named John Connor.) I hit my aid stations taking gatorade a couple of times when around mile 9 I started to get a faint pain in my ankle. No problem, mind over matter...just push through it. Then right at mile 13 (the halfway mark for all my non running friends) I felt like I had cracked a bone in my ankle. I was crushed. I tried to think about how long it might take me to shuffle along another 13 miles on this thing and finish and realized that that just probably wasn't going to happen. I limped along for about a half mile wondering where the next aid station was when I decided that I could probably have less pain if I took my shoe off. Suddenly it was like a light from heaven shown down on me and said "You can do this." And since I've never been one to deny the voices in my head, I went with it. I walked and the pain was GONE! I tried jogging a few steps and still no pain! Two words came to mind: GAME. ON. It occured to me that running in just one shoe couldn't be the best of ideas to I took both off and started running. (I can only imagine what it looked like to people riding down the highway and looking up to see a guy running in the early morning light with two neon green shoes in his hands and an alarmingly  happy grin on his face.) 

My son....this is a dumb idea...

I hit the next aid station with both shoes in my hands and that same son-of-sam grin on my face freaking out the girl at the aid station. I looked at her, my shoes, back to her and responded with...."I can..uh...explain this, but uh, here!" Thrusted my shoes into her hands and took off in my NIKE socks. (Nike if your reading this I could really use an endorsement deal here.) I then took off and ran the next 13.5 miles or so (not counting the one bathroom break at a gas station where the attendant gave my "shoes" a funny look on my way out. I looked down at the swoosh logo and explained that they were Nike's new super minamilist shoes. The new Nike Soft Run. Craziest damn part is I think she actually bought it)

The "Nike Soft Runs" at the end.

   The 10 or so miles were surprisingly ok. It was when we got back into the city that my feet, hip flexors and just about every other part of my body had just about had enough. But I had to keep pushing. I had people who would jog beside me to keep me going and several asked me if I was going to finish. The only response I could think of is "why the hell would I quit now??" I eventually came up on the end of the race where you have to do about a quarter mile loop. It was then that the guy who the race is named for decided to "run" with me to show me the route. If you ever decide to start running (and god help you if you do) find a guy like this. Definitely one of the greater guys I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and befriending. As we rounded our loop and were coming back to the small crowd who were checking the watches and yawning with excitment he began to speed up.I matched. He speed up more. I matched. He speed up more. I matched. At the end we were clipping along at just under 7 min miles, which for the end of a marathon, half without shoes, I feel pretty damn good about.

The last quarter mile kick (I'm the one in socks)

So I finished my first marathon in 5:15:32. I feel good, the tops of my feet have felt less like the mob tried to get me to pay back a loan by taking a hammer to them over the past couple of days, and I get to have an awesome story. The only thing I don't feel good about? The death of my beloved hulk shoes.
They will be missed...

I have TWO thats right count 'em, pairs of running shoes now, and am really starting to feel like I belong to part of my running cult. er, club. (Maybe they'll even let me have some of the Kool-aid soon! It looks so good!) One is the updated version of the hulk shoes, the Nike Lunar Glide2. The other is a pair of Nike Free running shoes. While they aren't as excitingly colored as my last ones, (which is kind of a let down) they will get the job done. I have been to several races on both sides and just out of my state and have been recognized by my shoes, so it's kind of a mild hit to my ego. All in all though, I figure that the next time I have to get new shoes I am going to find the ugliest damn colors I can and make this my trade mark. after all it worked the first time right?

The new guys...
 As always, thanks for reading guys and I hope you enjoyed it! Any feedback for this newbie runner is always appreciated!!


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