Friday, October 15, 2010

42

The long-awaited Detroit Free Press Marathon is Sunday, which means we'll finally have the answer to several very important questions:

... Will Jef qualify for the Boston Marathon? (He needs to run a 3:30 marathon to do so. If you're so inclined, you can find out as we do by tracking him online on race day via Active.com's website by plugging in his bib number: 241.)

... Will the race photographer manage to get a decent photo of Jef? (Jef's ability to look—well, pained is really the most charitable word for it—in running photos is a seemingly endless source of amusement for his running buddies and something of a mystery to me. Any time I see him running, he looks happy. I can recognize him at a distance by his gait, which always looks relaxed and comfortable to me. But check out the photos from last year's Grand Rapids Marathon. See especially 57478-1495-023 and, toward the bottom of the page, 57478-177-031. Regarding the latter, in an e-mail to some of the aforementioned running buddies, Jef noted, "That's maybe 2-3 miles into the race. I'm loafing along at probably 8:30/mile. And I look like death.")

... Can I roll out of bed at 4 a.m. (!) on race day to accompany Jef downtown so we can be parked no later than 5:30 a.m. for the 7 a.m. start and be even marginally functional post-race?

Jef has extra inspiration to help keep him going during this year's race: He's tasked himself with running on behalf of a friend who recently suffered his second big whomping brain bleed in three years.

The first would likely have killed Al had he not had the fortune to a) recognize that something was seriously wrong and b) be working directly across the street from University of Michigan Hospital and its world-class neurologists in Ann Arbor. (Please note that it pains this Spartan to give props to the folks in Ann Arbor, but, in this case, they truly deserve them.) The second bleed has taken Al off his beloved bicycle and put him into therapy to recover cognitive abilities he's misplaced.

Just after we visited Al for the first time post-bleed, Jef went through the toughest week of his marathon training. The hardest day had him running half-miles at a very fast pace—17 times. It hurt. To keep himself going, Jef kept reminding himself that it was nothing compared to what Al was doing to heal himself.

Maybe Al can be with me in spirit as I get out of bed at 4 a.m. on Sunday...

4 comments:

La Professora said...

Yea Jef! The results page says you clocked in at 3:26:13, so does this mean you'll be in Boston come April? Or should I ask, does this mean Frazz will be in Boston come April?

Jim Ottaviani said...

Congratulations on qualifying, Jef! It was a lovely day for a race, and you posted an impressive time.

(We must have been pretty close to each other for the first half of the race...until I got to take the early turn for the half marathon. I admire all you folks who can go the full distance at the pace you do.)

Jim O.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Looks like you got your Boston qualifying time.

Anonymous said...

Hope to see you @ Boston. Way to go!