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March 10, 2006

Marathon Faces

Before we get to today’s post, my wife brought up a good point about my previous post that was somewhat echoed in the comments. She suspects I might be overly enthusiastic about Chris Daughtry because, 1) He’s male, and 2) His last 2 songs have been the type of alt-rock songs that are right up my alley.

You know what? She’s right. Point taken. Mandisa’s got a pretty good set of pipes on her, and maybe she’ll win. (For the record, I did say she would finish second, so I wasn’t too dismissive of her talent). And any contest where teeny-boppers and drunk college kids are prime movers in the outcome has to be regarded as somewhat of a crapshoot.

So bring on the final 12, and let’s see what transpires. May the best bald man or great big woman win.

Anyway, on to today’s post…I received my Marathon Foto e-mail yesterday with pictures from the Napa Marathon. Here are a few of them, with some accompanying thoughts:

Photo 1: Approximately mile 5. That’s me in the poncho I bought at the race expo, which will go down as two of the best-spent dollars I’ve ever parted with. I kept the hood up for almost 8 miles, trying to block out as much of the outside elements as possible. At one point I had the drawstrings pulled so tight that I almost needed a straw to drink Gatorade at the aid stations.

Photo 2: Mile 14. Having the hood of my poncho up gave me a bit more protection from the rain, but caused another problem: the blowing wind sounded like a hurricane through the plastic right next to my ears. It's funny, but once I pulled the hood down and realized how much quieter things had gotten, it settled me down a bit and helped me shift into “let’s get to work” mode. From the poncho outline you can tell we were still facing a pretty good headwind.

Photo 3: Mile 24. Is this the face of…exhaustion? Determination? Frustration? Anguish? Resilience? Strength? The answer to any of those would be yes. This was the stretch when I knew my fate but kept plugging away as if I still had something to race for.

I like seeing photos of myself in the final miles of a marathon. I’m always struck by how normal-looking I appear, given all of the physical and mental turmoil that I’m invariably feeling at that point. Even many years later, I can see a picture of myself in a race and remember exactly what I was thinking at that point of the race.

That last photo is the face of a guy giving his best effort on a miserable day, trying with all his ability to persevere in the face of adversity, even when the desired outcome was no longer possible.

In short, it’s the face of a marathon runner.


olga 3/10/06, 3:33 PM  

It is a perfect face of a person who under conditions ran close to best race ever! And it does look normal, kind of "walk in a park" face. Sheesh!

stronger 3/10/06, 4:00 PM  

Thanks for posting the pics. Are you sure you don't get to skim a few minutes off your time for the draft of the poncho?

backofpack 3/10/06, 4:20 PM  

Looks like it was a lovely day. Way to finish!

robtherunner 3/10/06, 5:00 PM  

Nice pics Donald. I often cave in and slow down once my fate is decided. Way to hang tough.

susie 3/10/06, 5:42 PM  

Steady determination, which is what we all hope for. Loved the post about your son, by the way. Loved it.

angie's pink fuzzy 3/10/06, 6:03 PM  

very cool!!!

I'm rooting for Chris, too, but doubt he'll win...no one I've wanted to win (since Kelly Clarkson, anyway) has won!

Good job on the race.

James & Kenya the Duck Toller. 3/11/06, 4:41 PM  

Donald, came across your blog on technorati. How the heck do you run a marathon with a poncho on? Zoinks!

James the marathoner.

Kim 3/11/06, 8:03 PM  

You look strong all the way through...even with that miserable weather.
Thanks for sharing.


PS - Can you make sure this doesn't happen for Big Sur? Thanks! :)

jeff 3/13/06, 4:38 PM  

those are great photos...hardcore and worthy of a frame, that's for sure. =)

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