J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

I Ran I Ran So Far Away – Thunder Road Marathon Musings Part 1

I’m finding it hard to process the whole marathon experience.

It was June when I declared to Amy, “I’m going to run a marathon.” I’m glad I was so resolute in the pronouncement because had I known all that was demanded of me, I don’t know if I would have gone through with it.

18 weeks of training, and then one morning, the whole thing comes and goes.

The morning of the race was strange. My buddy Harry and I always ran at 5:00am, so a 7:50 am race time was late. We usually don’t eat before running, but we pretty much had to with so much time to kill before the start of the marathon. This being my first race of any sort, I didn’t really know what to expect at the beginning.

The check in and pre-race was fascinating. There were so many folks going through their rituals and a million people trying to go to the bathroom. I loved watching everyone. Folks were talking to themselves or listening to their ipods with their eyes closed. Most everyone looked like seasoned runners, but despite my relative inexperience, I still felt like I belonged.

My eyes were full, and I was like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t believe the moment was finally here.

After going through about 5 variations of layers, I finally decided on what clothing to wear, and Harry and I ventured out. We stood in the 32 degree weather for about 20-30 minutes waiting for the opening gun, and I must admit that I started with a huge grin on my face.

The first couple of miles were just me taking in all the sights. Every inch of street was covered in well-wishers to cheer us on. Our friend, Wendy Mays, greeted us early with her two sons cheering us along at the one mile mark. I knew that we were running much faster than our usual pace, but I figured we would settle down into our usual cadence once the traffic cleared out. However, a few miles in, we were still blazing.

I remember at one point around the 8 mile marker that we came up on huge climb. We tried to train on hills, but none of them compared to this one. It was the first true test of our endurance. At the top of the street was a DJ blaring the Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling,” and I must admit, the joy of the moment nearly brought me to tears. That moment on the run was euphoric. I still can’t fathom all my feelings during that portion of the race, but it made the entire experience worthwhile. I was running, running strong, enjoying myself, and things were good.

As we approached the half-marathon marker, I was still feeling strong. We were running a good minute and half per mile faster than usual, but I felt like even with a second half drop off, we were going to finish strong.

And then I saw my family. Amy and the girls were alongside the road yelling and cheering for me, and it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. I ran up to Amy, gave her a kiss, and yelled, “We ran the half in under 2.”

The moments of exhilaration and quick pace were few and far between for the second half of the marathon.

Tune in tomorrow for the second half recap…

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner. Read it there and help me earn a penny.

December 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. G- love reading your recap! congrats on your accomplishment, only 10% of the population can do what you did! Run on….

    Comment by karla | December 15, 2009 | Reply

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