Back in the spring after making super-fast friends with Mary, we decided to run the Columbus Marathon together in hopes of qualifying Mary for Boston. We began running together and building up our miles and then shared a training plan when the fun began in July. Finally, Sunday, the day arrived and we were anxious to find out if our planning was successful.
Mary and I met up with Patty and Andrea to run together. We started slow and began building our speed finally falling into a comfortable pace~8:15 per mile. We talked; we laughed; we generally had fun. As we made our way up the long 5 mile stretch of High Street, things began to get quiet. Around mile 16 I noticed Patty had dropped off pace. Andrea informed us that Patty was going to do her own thing. Mile 17 is one of the hardest on the course and it didn’t help that the temperature was quickly rising and the sun was brutal. At mile 17, Mary let out a sigh that I knew meant trouble. At the next water stop, Andrea and I looked back and Mary was gone. I slowed down a bit, but didn’t want to lose my pace as we were only eight seconds ahead of qualifying pace and Andrea held back to see what was going on. We turned onto Dodridge and Andrea came flying up to me. She said Mary was tired and that she was going to fall back. I knew there that Mary’s Boston dreams were not going to happen.
Andrea and I continued on until mile 20 or 21 when I just couldn’t hold pace anymore. I told her to go on and she did. The next several miles were lonely and difficult. I had previously run three other marathons in the 70 degree temperature range, but this felt much hotter. I was so thirsty I felt like I had come to run the marathon after a night of drinking. I would lick my lips and it would provide no relief. Even though I was still on pace to run a 3:40, at mile 22 I decided to do a little walking. Now my walking is not like most people in the marathon. I generally walk for a maximum of a few seconds and then get running again. It’s more for a brain relief than a body relief. As I worked my way into the campus area, I was alone. Dr. Gordon Gee, president of OSU, congratulated me and I personally thanked him. That was the highlight of my race. I slowed down; I walked; I shuffled. Finally at mile 25 I saw Mary’s sister and I had to inform her that I didn’t know where Mary was. I made my way into the last stretch, saw my family, shook my head and smiled. Even though it didn’t go the way I had planned, it had been a good race. I turned onto Nationwide Blvd. heading down to the finish line and I heard people yell out, “Go Mary.” I turned back and she was right there. We grabbed each other’s hands and finished together—3:44:25. Although exhausted, we hugged and congratulated each other. It wasn’t the race we wanted, but it turned out the way it was supposed to. Any other day, I am sure we would have done it.
Next up? Although we didn’t qualify together, I will be going to Boston this spring for my 10th marathon. And Mary has said she and her sister are planning the Country Music ½ Marathon in April.
Oh, I forgot to mention my second highlight of the day. Mary and I coach together at the high school and some of our girls came out to watch the race. They had made great signs that said “Coach Bauman and Coach Gordon Boston Bound.” Luckily I found one of the signs on the street and I took it home to keep it. They were awesome!