The Smart Phone Marathon, Part I

Jeff Galloway

Earlier today, I met my running hero, Jeff Galloway.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a celebrity selfie to prove it.  In my defense, I’ve only had my own smart phone for two weeks, so I haven’t gotten comfortable with all of the features.  My employer provided me with a smart phone several years ago, but I’m not allowed to use it for personal business, like watching cat videos or taking selfies. I’m also uncomfortable asking strangers to stand next to me.  As a result, the only picture I took is from a distance, and I’m not in it.

I suppose the autograph is proof that I met him.  He signed my copy of his first book, Galloway’s Book on Running, which was the book that got me started on my marathon journey.  Eighteen years later, I got the chance to meet him, thank him for inspiring me, and give him a copy of my book about running.  I did apologize for calling him a “miserable son of a bitch” and a “two-faced liar” in the book.  I think he’ll have a good laugh once he reads it, but I’ll keep checking my email for notification of a libel lawsuit, just in case.  Mr. Galloway was signing books at the expo in advance of tomorrow’s Capital City Marathon.  In addition to meeting Jeff, my reason for visiting the expo was to pick up my race packet.  It’s Marathon Eve at my house, and tomorrow at 7 a.m. I’ll cross the starting line in an attempt to run 26.2 miles in an organized event for the fifth time.  It’s been fourteen years since I’ve run a full marathon.  A lot has changed over those years, and, in the spirit of innovation, I’m going to try a few new things, including:

1. Salty snacks. During my long training runs, it occurred to me that after fifteen miles of drinking water spiked with cloying electrolyte powders and chewing on fruit-flavored energy gummies, I begin to loathe sweet flavors and crave salt.  I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from the expo to buy packages of pepperoni sticks, beef jerky, and potato chips.  Tonight, I’ll package up a few of each and take them with me on the run tomorrow.  I’m interested to find out just exactly what I’ll be craving at mile eighteen.  I might also – in an effort to learn more about my phone’s capabilities – download the pizza app in case the cravings become a bit more epic.  I figure the Domino’s guy can track me down in his little pizza-oven car using the Find My Friends feature of my iPhone.

2. Audio distractions.  While personal audio devices have been in existence for a long time, this will be the first time I’ve run a marathon with one.  I used to think of listening to music while running long distances as a form of cheating, but I got over it.  I touched the edge of insanity several times while running beyond 20 miles with nothing to distract me.  In an attempt to drown out the voices of madness that arise when I push my body far beyond what is sensible, this time I’m going to listen to music and podcasts.  I like interview-based or conversational podcasts – like Marc Maron’s WTF – because of the unpredictable nature of the form.  Music can become almost tyrannical with unsurprising, even monotonous, versus-chorus-verse-chorus structures.  Of course, I do intend to listen to some metal music during the trip.  Specifically, I’m planning on listening to Amon Amarth, a Swedish death metal band that plays Viking-themed songs that I’m going to see in concert next week.  I’m excited for the show, and the Viking motif has been on my mind for months.  I’m going to use it as inspiration, including drawing  Nordic runes – symbolizing strength, victory, and happiness – on my forearms to provide visual cues to keep going.  It may seem a bit silly, but running 26.2 miles is ludicrous, so what harm is there in sprinkling a little extra crazy on top.

3. Pacers. I read online that there will be people setting paces for different desired finishing times.  As I understand it, they carry a sign with a specific finish time printed on it, and you follow the one that matches your goal time.  I’m hoping to achieve a PR, so following the pacer could be helpful.  Of course, I won’t rely on the pacer, as I suspect they won’t be including potty stops in their race pace, and emptying my bladder is an important part of my race strategy.

Of course, this blog is also something new since I last ran a marathon.  While I’ve posted about running many times over the last two years, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write about the big race.  To make the most of it, I intend to post again tomorrow after I finish.  It may be brief, but I will produce the sequel to this post so you can find out how the salty snacks worked out.  I caution you not to get your hopes up for an entertaining post, however.  I will be exhausted mentally and physically, and sequels don’t always work out (seriously, have you seen Star Trek V)?   This could be bad.  Wish me luck.

Selfie with Galloway

Does a selfie with the autograph count as proof of a celebrity encounter?  I’ve got so much to learn.


2 thoughts on “The Smart Phone Marathon, Part I

  1. When I met Roger Zelazny–the man whose writing most influenced my own–it was a great experience. If we’re lucky, we get to meet the people who inspire us. If we’re _very_ lucky, they turn out to be nice people, too.

    I was _very_ lucky.

    • Galloway was a_very_nice person, and I’m glad I got the chance to let him know how important he has been to my running life. The marathon weekend was a_very_satisfying experience all around. Except for the chafing. That sucked.

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