However, there will be a new experience this Sunday, when I run my eighth marathon. My brother Danny will run the last 6.2 miles with me when I conquer the Long Beach Marathon. I asked him a while ago to pace me down the stretch, not really expecting him to agree but knowing how competitive he is, figured it was worth asking.
And he agreed.
If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you might remember Danny from our little race a few years back. Danny, you see, is the more athletic of the two of us. I will readily admit that. But he is not into running the way I am. He's run some 10Ks and was the one who helped spark my interest in running and helped get me into running in the first place. After I'd dropped my weight, he suggested we run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in Oct 2008 and the rest is history.
Anyway, he doesn't live too far from Long Beach (I'm staying at his house on Saturday night) and will get down to the 20-mile mark on Sunday morning and we'll run the rest of the race together.
I think this will be fun. Typically, I've struggled to keep it together mentally from about Mile 22ish to Mile 25, maybe not all those miles and maybe not in all races but certainly there have been moments in most of my marathons where I've either questioned my sanity, questioned my ability to finish, cursed myself for wanting to run marathons, regretted my decision to run the race or had some other disparaging thought cross my mind, and that has all come in the 22ish-25 mile range. Once I hit the Mile 25 marker, usually I'm good to go because the finish line is right before me.
So this is where Danny can come in and play the hero. I'm hoping that by having him along for the ride, my mind will be taken off my rapidly-deteriorating body and onto other things. Danny, if you don't know, has traveled all across the world, has visited every continent save for Antarctica... hell, he's been to the Galapagos Islands for cryin' out loud, so I'm hoping to hear some of the travel stories I've not heard, or possibly finally hear from him how much he admires me and how jealous he is that I am the stud of the family and he's second fiddle - I drink his milkshake (bonus points if you get this reference, dear reader).
So in some ways on Sunday I'm looking at it as a 20-mile warm-up run before a 10K with my brother. And things could be much worse, right?