I came across this photo today and decided to post it. It sits on the inside of the my closet door, along with bib numbers from past marathons, photos of running greats, and quotes. It helps to inspire me on those days that I'm not feelin' it.
This photo is 8 years old. It was taken moments after I finished the Dublin Marathon. The same marathon I was training for when I met my wife. In the picture I'm clutching my finisher's plaque. They gave them out in lieu of a medal.
Notice the cobblestones? Oh yeah. BAD idea. Whoever designed this course was a sadistic mofo. What's the one surface you don't want to run on after having run 23 miles? Cobblestone. There's no give! Unsteady surface. The race began by the River Liffey in Dublin, on cobblestone. While we waited for the beginning of the race, it rained sideways, so those cobblestones get pretty slick. You could see your breath. I'm pretty sure it was close to 40 degrees. Eventually the sun came out, warmed up a bit... I remember running by swans in a canal, and spectators under umbrellas, smoking, and offering up the occasional "Good job. Well done."
Then there was the post-race shower. Normally this is something so incredible, it borders on the orgasmic. You think about it during the race, along with what you're going to eat. Well, I had forgotten to pack band aids for my nipples. Most men wear them to prevent chaffing. Well, of all the races to forget them, that was the worst one possible. With the hours of rain, and cold weather, by the time I hit the hot shower back in my hotel room, my nipples felt like they had been hit by a belt sander.