Running like I wanted to run

Daily Press sportswriter is 10th in marathon

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It's a good thing newspapers don't release odors, because I smell worse than the sulfur curve in Steamboat Springs right now.

When it came to deciding which came first between showering or writing my column after running the Steamboat Marathon Sunday, I went with the option that involved lounging in a chair.

Well folks, I'm done and I'm alive.

Two bonuses if you ask me.

Actually the race went well. I finished ninth in the men's race and 10th overall after the women's winner passed me with four miles remaining. My time was 3 hours, 10 minutes and 18 seconds.

That was a 13-minute personal best and I finished 13 places better than my previous best as well.

After I finished, the first question that I remember being asked was "did that feel better than your previous races?"

At this point in my marathon career the words "feel" and "better" don't apply to 26.2 miles unless it's in the sentence "you 'better' lay down because you don't look like you 'feel' too good."

There are guys who train 40 to 50 miles a week more than I do and they consider it a race. With my limited training, I consider it more an attempt at survival.

But to answer the question of how I felt; this marathon was the one that I felt the least terrible.

It was a challenge the final two miles.

The last two miles my left hamstring wanted more than anything to cramp. Every step it would start to tighten but it wouldn't completely go into cramp mode. The only way I can describe it is that it felt like a little dog was jumping up and biting my hammy, but it never latched its teeth in all the way.

What saved my race were my parents and my girlfriend at mile 23. When I arrived to them I thought I was somewhere in 30th place because a cyclist told me I was in 39th. I was actually in seventh at that point, which they told me. That gave me some extra endurance.

Then Jennifer (my girlfriend, who finished fourth in the 10k) ran the final three miles with me.

Her comment afterward was, "It was hard to run with you because I could tell every step hurt."

In the past two marathons, I went into every-step-hurts mode much earlier in the race. My legs held out for 24 miles this year. My challenge this year was that I could never settle into a pace.

I trained for the race with Moffat County High School teacher and coach Todd Trapp. Unfortunately, he injured himself three weeks before the race and couldn't compete. What I realized during the race was that I relied on Todd to set the pace for us. Without Todd I was in no-man's land for a lot of the race and my mile splits were sporadic.

But I made it and I made it in a time that I'm not embarrassed to talk about.

Before Sunday if a marathon came up in conversation, I tried to keep away from the "what's your best time" question.

I'm not the only crazy Craigite to run Sunday and they all deserve recognition. Leslie BenÃ, a physical therapist at Craig Physical Therapy, survived her first marathon in 4:56.

Steve Crisp, Sheila McNicol and Jessica Knez were local award winners. Crisp, who graduated last week, was first in his age group and 19th overall in the half marathon.

McNicol, a 2003 graduate, finished second in her age group in the 10k. Knez a current MCHS student was third in her age group in the half marathon.

Other racers from Craig were (please forgive me if I missed you, I was tired):

In the 10k; Greg Neal was sixth in his age group, Tom Beachman was seventh in his age group and James Diehl was 11th in his age group. In the half marathon, Janelle Linsacum was sixth in her age group, Kim Crisp was 12th in her age group and Jenny Knez ran with Jessica for family support in the half marathon.

I owe many thanks to the community but I'm running out of space so I keep it short. Thank you to the McNicol and Crisp families for cheering me at the finish (there may have been more but they are who I saw).

Thank you to the Floyds, the family of Conner "Mason," for making the coolest sign ever from a snow shovel. To Trapp and Jennifer for being my pre-race and during-race running partners. Finally to all those who sponsored me: Jim Duran, Dave DeRose, Nancy Bechhold, Andy Smith, Rick "Worm" Charbonneau, Vicki Field, Harold Ratzlaff, Amanda Schneider, Debi Harmon, Bill Greenwood, J.B. Chapman and Amy Hatten. Y'all kept me accountable and as soon as I can move to come and collect, 594 of your dollars will go to Parkinson's research along with a $500 check from the Craig Daily Press for the Moffat County United Way.

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