Superman is amazing. He saves the world, never ceasing to amaze the average Joe. He's not cocky and conceded. He just does what he does, loves what he does and lives his life not being affected by his awesomeness (yes, that's a word).
I'm married to Superman. Did you know that? I didn't think so.
This past weekend Tom and I went to Akron for the marathon. We've heard that it's one of the top 10 up and coming marathons and I know why. Every detail was perfected, from the water station volunteers wearing gloves and holding the cups by the bottom (that's a big pet peeve of mine - I hate people's fingers in my water) to race director shaking your hand at the finish line. It was high class!
We went up Friday to check in. The expo was great - small, but worth the 45 minutes or so that we spent looking at all of the booths. We were staying about 15 minutes away and went straight to our hotel after the expo to just hang out for the night. The hotel was great - brand new, comfy beds, a continental breakfast for runners starting at 5am... what more could we ask for? We just laid around Friday night, although very unconcerned with the run Saturday morning. This wasn't like us. Were we setting ourselves up for failure? Why wasn't it a bigger deal that Tom was running a marathon and I was running a 20 miler? Why did we think it would be okay to eat Italian subs, calzones and cookies for dinner instead of our normal pasta dinner? Why were we alright staying up to watch the Presidential Debates, even though the alarm would be going off at 5am? Maybe we're just different now that we're training for an Ironman. :)
When I signed up for the race, I registered to do the full marathon, although I knew that I didn't want to run the whole thing. Tom didn't run a full marathon last year and I was a little worried that it would take too long to recover from. There was a 5 person relay team event that had an exchange point at 6.2 miles. They even bused the second person of the team there. Sounded like the perfect way for me to get my 20 miles in while Tom ran the full marathon. Saturday we got up, ate breakfast and headed downtown for the race start at 7. Parking was easy which was nice. I was super worried that I wasn't going to be able to get on the relay bus. I hid my yellow bib and just played stupid, kissed Tom goodbye, got on the bus and got to my spot. Tom had planned to carry my time chip for me so that it activated (although we found out when it was all done that it never activated - oh well). I sat for about an hour a half until the marathon runners were in full swing around me. Still with my bib covered, I waited for him to get to me and I would just jump in and take my long sleeve off like I'd been running all day. Our plan worked like a charm!
Tom had a great first 6 miles. We took off together and were easily running a 9:01 pace. Sure that we'd not be able to maintain that, we cautiously kept an eye on things and kept telling each other that we'd slow down if we felt like it was too fast. Our goal was to run a 10min/mile. Akron was hilly - much hillier than we are used to. Not only ups, but very steep downs. It was kind of fun - a definitely change of pace. The course was pretty - through campus, residential roads, on a crushed limestone footpath. They had great "you might be a runner if" signs the whole way which kept my attention (it doesn't take much). The miles just ticked by.
Around mile 22, my foot was burning a little (something that I'm having problems with and associated with the uphill miles and landing with my toes bent a little). I stopped to fix my sock and told Tom to go ahead. He was on track to PR and I didn't want to stop him. I could feel myself slowing down a bit. He gladly ran ahead of me and that was fine. The last 4 miles were uneventful for me. I felt kind of like a poser when people yelled for me - I had only run 20 miles that day. I felt like if they knew that, they would have been disappointed or something. It's like I was running with a secret. I just kept going though... what could I do at that point?
I got to the finish line and Tom was there cheering. I was about 6 minutes behind him. He ran his fastest 2 miles at miles 25 and 26!! How about that for training! And, he PR'ed by 36 minutes to boot. (that's according to the race time... our Garmin said that the course was 26.56 miles and that he finished the marathon in under 4 hours at a 8:57 pace which would have been closer to a 28 minute PR). From now on, it's subs for dinner, 4 hours of sleep and no thinking about the upcoming race for us. It worked!!!
Tom's superman. That's all I can say. He gets diagnosed with diabetes and proceeds to do amazing things. And the best part - he's the most humble human being I know. Now if he can only get over his fear of public speaking and realize that he's got an amazing story to tell and should be an inspiration to other diabetics, then his speech this weekend in front of 6,000 runners and walkers for the Cure for Diabetes JDRF 5k should be a piece of cake.
Guess my superman is human after all!