Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Bangle Chronicles - Episode 4: The Phantom Marriage (2001)

After a successful marathon at age 33 in 1995, I slipped back into the occasional runner lifestyle. I would run once or twice a week, or less. I would do a few local 5 and 10Ks every year. Nothing long. I logged almost 1,200 miles on the baby jogger before I had to retire it when the boy was five. I was happy to sell it to a pregnant runner at a garage sale - she was so excited to get one for $20!

Once he was too big to push, but too small to leave at home alone, I had less time to run. The wife worked a lot of late nights, so I was home with the boy most nights. It was great for bonding, but running had to take a backseat for a while.

By the year 2000, my marriage was in trouble. Without getting into too much detail, she moved out in February of 2001 and divorce followed as soon as legally possible after that. Now I was a half-time parent, single dad half the time, and lonely bachelor the other days. Which meant more time to run! By the end of April I had decided to sign up for another Twin Cities Marathon in October, and started ramping up the mileage. I had some friends in Minnesota also running it this time ,who encouraged me. They were turning 40 just before the race, so it was a mid-life crisis kind of thing. I was only 39 but what the heck.

The running was my therapy as I worked through the divorce. As you all know, a good long run is great to get time to think and let your emotions settle and get one thinking positively. I was doing my usual 3 runs a week training plan, allowing me to be Dad 3-4 times a week. Training went pretty well and I got in two 18 milers and one 20-miler.I took my son with me back to Minnesota and my parents were again my support crew. Also my brother flew in to share in the fun and support me.

Race day was cold! I was with three friends hanging out in the Metrodome as long as we could before braving the 35 degree weather. But once we got going it turned out perfect. I had a long sleeve T-shirt that I ditched after 5 miles. I ran with one of my friends for about 7 miles before he faded back. I was feeling really good and accelerating. The crowds were again fantastic. They really helped me keep the adrenaline going.Someone had given me the idea to put my name on my shirt to get strangers to cheer for me and it worked like a charm! For the whole race I was hearing "Go Brad" from hundreds of people. Hearing attractive female strangers call out my name with excitement in their voice really helps!! Nowadays they often print your name on the bib, but back then I was a trendsetter!

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So this race went pretty much like the last one. I felt good most of the way. Faded a little at the end, but not too bad. It was great to see my 7 year old cheer for me. My brother hopped in at  mile 22 and did the last 4 miles with me, which was a great help. Here is my little guy handing me something.

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I had a few walk breaks, but was doing OK. The finish was again a great feeling, although I don't think I cried this time. But I had a great sense of accomplishment after a tough year. Final time: 3:33:38. Missed Boston by 13 minutes. Again, not really the goal. I was quite happy with the time, and my return to being a marathoner.
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See how they made a "20" out of the shoe prints. Clever.

Next: Episode 5: Attack of the Bonk Clone (2003)

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