I’ve got a seriously entertaining post for you guys today. Could there be a more perfect way to close out my Marathon Tuesdays series, than from the man who
tries to takes credit for my running ability? (Kudos to anyone who just read that sentence in a Chandler Bing voice.)
He needs no introduction … here’s some words of wisdom from my dad!
1. What half-marathon(s) have you completed?
I completed the 11th
Annual Derby Festival miniMarathon in Louisville, KY in 1984. This was the first year of the Triple Crown of Running, which consisted of the Rodes City Run 10K through downtown, the Run for the Arts 15K (sponsored by Liberty National Bank) through Seneca and Cherokee Park, and the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon 13.1 miles through Iroquois Park in the south end and finishing downtown. The entry fee for each race was only nine dollars back then.
2. Did you have any certain time goals in mind?
I was just trying to see if I could actually complete it and survive. I wanted that t-shirt! My goal was to finish in less than 2 hours.
3. How long did you train?
If memory serves me right, I trained for about three months, just enough to complete all three races of the Triple Crown. I was definitely not a serious runner.
4. What was the longest distance you ran before the race?
The longest I had run before the Rodes 10K was 4 miles. I completed the Rodes in 48:57 coming in 2020 out of 5000 runners. That became my longest run before the Run for the Arts 15k, which I did in 78:20 coming in 1768 out of 4500 runners. By the time the Mini rolled around, the longest I had run was the 9 miles in the Arts. I always figured the excitement of the crowd would carry me the extra miles at the end of each race.
5. How did you feel right before and right after the race?
- Before: I think I was young and naïve. I did it with a pharmacy buddy of mine (Tom Rhodes) and we were just enjoying the excitement of the day, not really that concerned. I might have been a little nervous about starting in the hills of Iroquois Park, the graveyard of runners.
- After: I was thrilled and proud to have finished but I felt horrible! My race notes are missing, but I think I finished in about 2 hours and 9 minutes. I came home and lay spread eagle on the living room floor under the ceiling fan for about 2 hours. The next day I was so sore I could barely walk.
6. Did you have any special equipment, snacks, clothing, music, etc that made running 13.1 miles more bearable?
Haha, this is where things get a little sketchy. Your fashion gene did NOT come from me! I apparently thought that running in a white Porter Paint painter’s hat was the way to go. I had on my favorite polyester running outfit which was UK blue and white. It had a singlet (where are the sleeves? tanktops are so wrong!), matching shorts (way WAY too shorty-short!), and long white tube socks with blue and yellow stripes around the top! Oh my, I was a Glamour Don’t! There were no such things as I-pods or energy bars back then. You just ran along people-watching and grabbing bottled waters when you could. Our strategy (and the only thing that made running bearable) was to let a cute girl pass us and then follow along behind her. You could go two or three miles before you realized it! Hey, I was a twenty-something-year-old male!
7. Any last-minute words of advice for me that you wish you’d known before your first half-marathon?
Just go out and have fun. Start slow and pace yourself. Enjoy the whole experience… the outfits, the people, the music, the crowds. Focus on all of that and you will forget the pain. The sheer energy of the day will carry you on to the finish line. The feeling you get when you cross that finish line with family and friends cheering you on will be exhilarating. Mom and I are so proud of you! Run, Leah, run!
Thanks Dad! I loved reading about your races – and loved seeing the pictures even more. Those are totally blackmail-worthy. And I couldn’t resist sharing your biggest confession/my personal favorite part of the story…
And now a pathetic sidebar confession. The next year I completed the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Then we went on the infamous ski trip to Vail, Colorado on a bus. My body was banged up and sore after skiing seven days followed by a 24 hour bus ride home. I didn’t have the energy to run the Mini but I had paid the entry fee and by God, I was gonna get my t-shirt! My parents were in town visiting. We went and watched the race, then drove near the finish line where I hopped out in my running outfit, splashed water on my face like I had been sweating, and jogged across the finish line to receive my t-shirt. It was a baby blue t-shirt. You may remember it. A few years later, you were a toddler and one night you wouldn’t go to sleep. You begged me to stay in the room a little longer, and finally I pulled that t-shirt off my back and handed it to you so you could have a piece of me as you fell asleep. You slept with that t-shirt every night for about five years, so I don’t feel a bit bad about cheating to get it! It came in handy!