Just like last year, I am so sore after running my 2nd ever marathon that some non-physical desk time is in order. 48 hours post race finds me largely recovered so I better write it out now before ranch life eats up my spare time. Here it goes. Last year’s Olathe Marathon, which I finished in 4:26, inspired me to consider trying a Boston qualifying marathon pace the second time around. For my age and sex, a sub-4 hour run was needed. With that goal in mind, I ran the ’08 Boilermaker, kept up my miles with a weekly long run of 9-10 miles to maintain endurance, then started ramping up my training for the ’09 Olathe Marathon. It was serendipitously scheduled for my birthday on Mar 28, which would see me into a new age group that required a slower time of 4 hours exactly! On my b-day?! A sign from above, I believed! Of course, this whole time, I kept up my successful, beef-laden training & weight control diet that has served me so well in transforming myself from an overweight, middle-aged woman into a toned, strong & healthy athlete!
As the fateful date approached, I anxiously watched the weather reports and was dismayed to see cold and precipitation in the forecast. 3 days out, a potential blizzard was in the works. 2 days out it seemed a certainty. Because of cattle-ranching schedules, a spring marathon is really my only option and I hated to blow my ’09 chance on atrocious conditions. OK, what heaven-sent sign could this be besides abandon Olathe ship? I am sometimes vain enough to think God enjoys playing with me, but always seems to make it right in the end. At a friend’s suggestion, I got online needing to find another marathon within the next 2 weeks that I could run. Voila! Proving that God watches out for children and idiots (and you know I’m 45, so…), Abilene, KS (only 50 miles away!) had a Boston-qualifier scheduled for April 11. No way, I said. For further proof of the preceding theorem, Olathe arranged to transfer my registration to Abilene. My only worry was that I would be 2 weeks further out from my longest training run and have in effect done a 4 week taper. Would the taper be too long I kept wondering? That and would April 11 make March 28 look like a balmy spring day???
Since March 28 was such a lovely day, I postponed my normal Saturday weekly long training run for the following Monday. Running from the ranch into town, I was heading up a city sidewalk with 2 miles to go when I tripped and landed hard on a knee and elbow. I lay on the ground for a couple of minutes (fully aware of the irony of my current situation), straightening limbs, taking inventory and bargaining with God. I decided everything seemed OK, got up, walked a block or two then resumed my (much slower) run. I escaped with soreness and a swollen knee, but nothing else. Whew. Then it was back to the wait and wonder on the weather game.
When April 11 started showing up on the long-range forecasts, it looked promising. 50-60’s and dry. However, the course was an out and back, heading straight south into the typically prevailing KS spring winds. Which I found out on my last long training run can be awe-inspiring! That day, I ran south into a 30-40 mile wind that flat out killed my time and left me with serious doubts as to qualifying if the winds on race day were similar. Go back to the children and idiots theorem now: April 11 ended up being sandwiched between 2 cold and windy days with rain. The race day itself though was mostly sunny, reached a high of 60 and had a mild south wind that was hardly a factor. The final sign from above was the fact that we took off and ended right in front of the local Catholic Church (which was blaring Kiss’ Rock & Roll All Night from the steps at race start!). I couldn’t have scripted it better, but I was still a bit worried about my training schedule being off because of the 2 week postponement. I started my race on plan with 2 slow miles for a warm up then settled into a pace designed to have me back on schedule by mile 14. I planned to keep that pace as long as I could, building up some cushion for end-of-race fatigue, a bathroom stop, etc. I felt a little sick to my stomach a couple of times but backed off the GU and Powerade, talked it over with God and got back on track. At mile 20, I really felt like my goal was in sight as my time was still on schedule. I did lose a little time the last few miles, but kept pushing. I had serious doubts during the last mile, but again pushed through, running all the way through the finish line (you can’t walk
wearing a Beef shirt!), screaming “I’m going to Boston! I’m going to Boston!” My time (3:57:56) was a huge relief to my support crew who had been talking with another fan who’s racer had missed qualifying last year by (no kidding) 6 seconds. At 3:57 even, they were gearing up for full panic mode, but then caught sight of the very distinctive ZIP jersey. There was much rejoicing and I fortunately didn’t notice my Mom’s look of distaste when she kissed me on my noticeably salty cheek. She admitted to a similar look when handed my sweaty jacket at about mile 11. Ah, a mother’s love! I finished as 11th female overall and 1st in the 45-49 age group. OK, it was a smallish field, but who cares!!! I’m happy!
While waiting for the race to start, I noticed a guy with a “Where’s the Beef” t-shirt on. I proudly pointed to my “Team ZIP – Running Powered by Beef” shirt and proclaimed, “right here!” I went outside and met the rest of the group, there to support their friend “The Beef”, a formerly 120 lb heavier man who through diet and exercise (including plenty of beef; we asked!) had also transformed himself from a middle aged, overweight person into a toned, strong and healthy athlete. Always thinking of your tell-the-story mantra Daren, I made sure his personal trainer (there as part of the “Where’s the Beef” fan club) heard my Beef story loud and clear. He ran his first ½ marathon that day. I have his card and am ordering and sending him a Team ZIP shirt as he is yet another proud example of the Power of Protein!
As you know, the Boilermaker is MAY be back on for me. This time for pure fun and in full working cowboy costume. OK, last time was fun too (witness the debut or at least the official naming of the “Whirling Vortex of Poor Judgment”!); it just didn’t have costumes! But anything to promote the importance of Beef in healthy diet, I say. America needs to know how important Beef’s nutritionally dense package of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats is to weight management and athletic training. I felt last year’s crowd contact helped spread that message. In costume, I can maybe spread that message to even more folks. Then, on to Boston in April 2010. GO TEAM ZIP!!!!
Many happy miles and delicious beef meals,
Downey Ranch, Inc.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Kansas Rancher/Team ZIP Runner Qualifies for Boston!
Barb Downey is a Kansas rancher and Team ZIP member who completed her first full marathon one year ago in the Spring of 2008. This year, on April 11, Barb qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon by turning in a sub-4:00 time in the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS. Congratulations Barb!
Here is Barb's full report...