Marathon debut, by the numbers
by Bruce Butler
0 times that I have run more than 14 miles in my life before August 2015. It only took me 58 years and 10 months to reach this plateau.
1st is where I placed in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, according to my four grandkids in attendance.
2 people I knew in SWRC before I joined. Jodi Heckel’s husband and one of my best friends work together and organize an annual trip to Wrigley Field. I met Jodi several years ago on one of these trips. The second, Brian Moline, has broadcasted 10 or 15 Little League games over several years on WDWS that I was umpiring. We knew who each other was.
3 times I thought maybe this marathon thing was not going to work. The first time was during and right after the very hot and quasi-painful Mahomet Half in August. The second was during my first 18-miler. I started out running the first seven miles at 9:30. I paid dearly for that the last four. And just like Mahomet, it was hot. The third time was the worst. This was my first 20-miler and I was with a training group that met at Centennial Park. This run involved two out-andbacks, so four times between Mattis and Prospect. I was running by myself between Mattis and Prospect three of these four times and managed to get lost all three times. I ran out of water at mile 18. It was hot and humid. (There seems to be a theme with the heat!) I made the most wrong turns 16 miles into the run, so instead of ending up back at Centennial Park, I hit mile 20 at Mattis and Mayfair and was DONE. I was so beat up I could not walk the mile to the parking lot in Centennial Park without stopping three times and sitting down. My running partner, Sandeep Pulluru, was so worried he started looking for me where I was supposed to be. And, of course, I didn’t have my phone on me.
4 grandkids, Jack, Owen, Caroline and Blake, were watching me at the Monumental Marathon. My wife Mary, son (and fellow runner) Brian, and daughter-inlaw (and runner) Heather were there too. I stopped for pictures at mile 9. Best decision of the day!
4:30 a.m. is what time I started three of my long runs on Fridays. Partly to avoid the heat, and partly to make it to work on time. These were two 18-milers and one 16-miler. I tried to run on a lot of Fridays to lessen the impact on my family life. Of course, I had to get up at 3:15 to eat and stretch. (This is when I was starting to think something was wrong with me.)
4:45 was my fastest (and third) goal I hoped to run at Monumental. I read that you should have multitiered goals, so this was the best case scenario.
4:56:30 was my actual finish time.
5:00 was my second time goal that I hoped to run at Monumental. Of course, my primary goal in my first marathon was to finish and have some fun. I did. Any kids that were there got a high five from me the last eight miles or so. It’s the least I could do for their enthusiasm.
7 miles was the length of my morning and evening runs on my first and only split long run. It was my first long run after the Mahomet Half Marathon and a good way to get it in after a tough half and in the heat.
8 races – that’s how many timed races I’ve been in before Monumental. Four 5Ks, the Lake Sara 8-miler, and three half marathons.
24 is the number of years younger my running partner Sandeep is than me. For you beginning runners, I would suggest someone closer to your own age. Sandeep and I make a good team. He provided a lot of valuable advice for a guy preparing for his second marathon.
32 minutes is how much faster Sandeep was than me at Monumental.
37 is how many years I’ve been married to my best friend Mary. Luckily she has been tolerant of other bad habits I’ve had, so we made it to 38 years two weeks after Monumental.
400 miles of total training runs preparing for Monumental. I have read that this was a little low, but I don’t know if my body would have taken much more.
1974 is the year my friend and 10-time marathoner Ralph Brown graduated from SJO, one year before me. Ralph tracked my January 2014 running on Facebook when I was running two or three miles at a time and encouraged me to go slower and longer. I took his advice and decided in December to sign up for the 2015 Illinois Half Marathon. Ralph was always providing me advice on training plans, nutrition, hydration and, of course, encouragement. Just like everyone in Second Wind.
This story originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of In Passing.