Archive for February 17, 2011

Sunday’s Austin Marathon has been long circled on this runner’s calendar.  I registered for this race back in August just after I got off the phone with my friend Jason Richey who told me that Dom had lost his battle with Cancer.

Now six months later and the race is almost here.  Training is complete.  Preparations have been made, even my pre-race batch of pasta gravy has long been prepared to be warmed and consumed on Saturday night.  My first ever “home-cooked” pre-race marathon meal. 

That has to be good for a few seconds on Sunday morning.

The Austin Marathon also marks the fifth and final race of the Austin Distance Challenge.

The Distance Challenge as you may remember is a 5-race series comprised of the IBM Uptown Classic 10K, The Run for the Water 10-Miler, The Decker Challenge Half-Marathon, the 3M Half-Marathon and of course the Austin Marathon.

Results are tabulated after each race and a cumulative time is awarded to each runner.  There are overall awards presented for the top Male and Female Finishers as well as age group awards for the top 3 in each group.

Our 1:23:55 time at the 3M Half two Sunday’s ago shook things up among the “Leading 10 Men” heading into Austin, moving us into 5th place overall just a handful of seconds ahead of the sixth place runner.

Austin Distance Challenge Leading 10 Men

After more than 4 1/2 hours of racing, two minutes separates us from a place in the top three or falling back to 8th place.   This sport never ceases to amaze me that the difference between reaching a goal or narrowly missing it all boils down to a handful of seconds spread out in this case over 42.4 miles with 26.2 left to go.

When I signed up for the ADC I really had no illusions of placing in the top-10 or “winning” anything.  I just wanted to use the races to continue to push myself during my training period and gain more race experience.  Still new to the sport in many ways with my first race coming in September of 2006, I am at a bit of a disadvantage when I am out there battling the course, elements and other competitors.

This series has been very beneficial this Fall and Winter as I know that without it, I would not be entertaining the type of goal on Sunday that I am.

As for my the Male 40-44 Division I am sitting in a pretty good position for an Age Group award of some kind after the Austin Marathon.

Austin Distance Challenge Male Standings Age 40-44

The chances of catching my friend Brendon Cahoon on Sunday boils down to his car not starting on the way to the race.  Brendon has run beautifully despite battling some soreness in his heels and has his eyes on a sub 2:50:00 time on Sunday.  Michael Andre Ford has been running exceptionally well and I know is going to be taking aim at second place come Sunday.

There is a good chance that my “gamble” at chasing a 3:00:00 hour marathon time on Sunday may very well cost me in the ADC standings.  If I miscalculate my pace and abilities, I may struggle to finish the race strong and drop several minutes over the closing miles.  Frankly, that is not even on my radar for Sunday. 

In the words of Def Leppard in deference to another great rocker Neil Young:

It’s better to burn out than to fade away.

We didn’t push ourselves week after week, race after race, mile after mile to lay up short and play it conservative.  I don’t plan on doing anything foolish on Sunday if our goal time starts to slip through my fingertips, but I’m not planning on backing down either.

A couple of housekeeping items before Sunday’s race.

If you are wanting to track me or anyone else running Sunday’s Austin Marathon or Half-Marathon you can click HERE to be taken to the tracking page.  You will just need to enter the runners name or Bib Number.

My Bib for Sunday is 641

For you iPhone users, there is a free APP that you can download for your phone that is located HERE that will provide you with updates throughout the race and alert you when your runner finishes the course.

I was asked earlier this week if this really would be my final “Run for Dom” race.

The answer to that is,sort of”.

This will be the final race where I am accepting donations strictly for a race I am running.   Also the last opportunity for you to sponsor a mile during a marathon. 

There are 10 miles remaining that are still without sponsors if you are interested!  You can support Run for Dom by clicking HERE.

Now, I certainly have race plans after Austin.  I am far from “done” as a runner, and far from “done” honoring Dom.  His initials are on my race shoes for Sunday and will stay right there on every pair I own as long as I continue to run and race in his memory.

I will be looking for new ways in the coming months and years to carry on, notably in an effort to organize a race in his name each year back in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.  That is something that can and will live on long after I am able to lace ’em up and chase down new challenges.

So don’t worry.  We’re not going anywhere – but I will not be officially “fundraising” during my races going forward.

It is not too late to help however, so if you have been putting it off, now is the time to act.  I’d love to see all 26.2 miles on Sunday spoken for by race day.

I promise you this.  No matter what mile you choose to sponsor, I will leave everything I have out on the race course.  There will not be a single second that I “take off”.  You can help ensure an education for Dom’s children Sierra and Nico by clicking HERE or by visiting:

Thank you for all of your support and generosity. 

I’ll be checking in on Saturday with some final pre-race thoughts. 

Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.