Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ted McClelland's marathon

Edward 'Ted' McClelland kindly wrote a comment at the bottom of this post this evening giving an update on his first marathon since 1996, the Rockford Marathon:

Well, my friend, I'll save you another Internet search. I ran 3:52. Not as fast as I'd hoped, or promised, but it was a hilly, windy course (the winning time was 2:45) and frankly, I ran a little conservatively, to avoid a repeat of the meltdown in my first marathon. I went to the line thinking I could do 3:40. With some experience at the distance, I think I'll feel more confident about pushing myself next time.

On the plus side, my 41-year-old self beat my 29-year-old self by 24 minutes -- on a tougher course -- and I never stopped to walk, so I feel I competed honorably. This really was the first marathon I've "run," since I had to walk in 1996. Also, as opposed to last time, I'm eager to run another, and set another PR. I'm already looking at the Detroit Free Press International Marathon in October. (Detroit is a flat city, like Chicago.) Considering I couldn't run more than 3 miles at a time from 1998 to 2001, I was amazed to be out there. I guess time heals all knees.

One thing I'm not going to do is write an article about it! One of the worst articles I've ever written, and it got the most attention. I was asked to appear on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss marathoning, and I said, "Uh, I'd rather not revisit that topic." I've written a lot of articles for Salon since then, and fortunately, no one has mentioned it.

If I hadn't written that article, though, I wouldn't have challenged myself to run the Rockford Marathon. The months of training, and this morning's race, were a wonderful journey.


"Let us run with perseverance the race set out for us." -- Hebrews 12:1.
Thanks for writing, Ted. I'm glad to see you've got bitten by the marathoning bug again.

I think as you know runners, while being defensive of our sport, are also supportive of all who embrace it. So welcome back. And as for journalistic regret, I can identify...


Marky Mark said...

Very interesting!

As it happened I got into a long discussion tonight with someone who has run a dozen halves but never a full. She says she knows lots of longtime runners who went for the full and completed it but afterwards weren't able to run anymore or had to take a long time off. As I am into my training for my first full having done only one half, that outcome is a scary thought.

I have a good friend who has been running for thirty years and has completed many marathons. He thinks if I can't run one in under four hours it means I shouldn't run one at all. He thinks it is better to run many shorter races and build up endurance over a couple of years before attempting a full so that the body can adapt.

I'm so confused!

Sonia said...

Glad to see he's made it and has respect for the distance! He definitely had some pressure on him going into this!!

yumke said...

Hey Marky mark, I think there are different reasons why people run marathons, probably just as many as there are marathoners. I guess the lesson you can take from others is that you should be prepared. I think you should set a goal -- is it to complete one, or to run it to the best time you think you are capable of. I think for the first time, you want a measure of both. In the end, you want to get the most out of your first marathon. The marathon is 95% about the journey, the training. The marathon itself is a victory lap, in so many ways.

Yeah, Sonia, I'm happy that Ted is loving the distance. It really is a humbling event for anyone, regardless of speed, etc.