Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Edinburgh Marathon: I finished it, and that's what matters.

Marathon Results:

10k(6.2m): 00:53:22
Half(13.1m): 02:10:30
30k(18.6m): 03:24:48
Marathon(26.2m): 05:29:26

At least my first half was respectable (2:10).

The last 8 miles took me over 2 hours, and there are two reasons for this: 1. I was having some serious knee pain from a training injury, 2. they ran out of water at mile 15! I didn't get water until about mile 21, and by that point the sun already had its way with me.  

It was the hottest day that I have experienced in Scotland and the sun was absolutely brutal, so when there is no water during one of the most important stretches of a marathon, things go from unpleasant to downright dangerous.  In all seriousness, I saw people going into fits of dementia from dehydration and heat exhaustion.  Naturally, everyone was quite upset at the marathon organizers.

However, a few days after the marathon I learned that the lack of water came not from incompetence but from theft!  "The Edinburgh Marathon today reported the theft of at least 6,804 bottles of water (3 Pallets) and 4,040 Lucozade Energy gels which were stolen from the route in the early hours of Sunday morning."  (   Who steals 6,804 bottles of water from a marathon?  And what does one do with 6,804 bottles of stolen marathon water?  Sell them on eBay, as if nobody would notice?

Anyway, during the last 7 miles of the race I started chatting with a fellow runner who was progressing (read: walking) at the same pace as me.  We ended up finishing the race together, and during the two hours we had together I heard about his life and shared some of my story.  He even asked me about my faith, and I was able to share a good bit with him about the gospel!

This is my friend Patrick Egan and me just before the race.
I really wish I had worn sunscreen.  

During my running I did some reflecting, and I came up with some similarities between training for (and completing) a marathon and successfully completing a PhD.  1. Both are all about endurance.  2. Both often leave you exhausted.  3. Both require a clear vision of your end goal.  4. One does well to rely on the strength of the Lord for both.  5. Both are hard to complete if you run out of water.