Saturday, February 1, 2014, I was in Sedona, Arizona to run the marathon in support of a nephew who was running his first. There were four of us running, my wife, my nephew, and his girlfriend were entered in the marathon.
The plan was to run, not race, the marathon. Initially, I planned to run at a pace of around 9:15 per mile. But since one of my training partners recently ran 13 miles under 9:00 pace, I felt compelled to run the first half at a similar pace to show that I am able to run at her level. She ran in snow but I ran over hills at altitude and with about 50% trails so I called that even. I ran the first half at 8:50 pace and then slowed down with a plan to spend more time looking at the awesome scenery and forget about my watch. Here are pictures from the course:
Mile 2 view.
View after turnaround.
At around 6.5 miles, the course changes from paved road surface to dirt road. I thought it would be easy on the feet but it was rocky and I spent a lot of time criss-crossing the road to find a smoother path. No running tangents here. Instead I was thinking of the original In-Laws movie with Peter Falk yelling, "Run serpentine, Sal!"
I felt at the turn that I had spent too much time in the last few miles looking down at the road surface and not at the spectacular scenery so I decided to focus on the views instead of the trail. Big mistake! Anyone who runs with me knows that I barely lift my feet of the ground when I run. It hasn't been very long since I last tripped and fell on a sidewalk during a run and I can show you a crooked finger which I broke after tripping over about a 1/4 inch break in another sidewalk. Can you guess what happened next?
Just before the 14 mile mark, I stumbled over a rock. Slight tweak of right hamstring, slight pull of piriformis. No big deal. Then not far after the 14 mile mark, I tripped on a rock. Smashed a toe, major pull on my piriformis, which is a small butt muscle that I have chronically injured but learned to deal with. OUCH!!!
I carried on for while, then decided my training would be ruined for weeks if I did not get some treatment and ice. So I did.
Ended up with an 18 mile run which is not too bad. And I think I'll be able to run again in another day or two. So my 26.2 mile training run became an 18 mile training run. Since the same medal was given to those who ran the 5k, 10k and half marathon, it was decided that I earned a medal. I could be talked into returning to do the half marathon which is completely on pavement but I am now crossing all trail races off my schedule.