Hmmm… to get a little nostalgic, I could talk about my son’s first steps, first words, first day at school, first soccer goal, first race, etc. All worthy milestones in the lifetime of any child, but to be really epic, yep, I said it… EPIC, you’ve got to talk about your 17 year old son’s first Marathon!
If you don’t like to read about a father’s pride, you might want to close your browser now! :) By the way, this will be a long blog post.
We were originally going to stay with family while in Ohio, but I decided to make it totally a guys weekend. We pricelined the car and hotel which got us a heck of a deal. The hotel allowed us to enjoy time with each other. We definitely enjoyed seeing family, but we got to hang out and bond. Cairo really liked the rental car. I think it was the novelty of riding in a brand new car.
We arrived late on Thursday night and crashed at the hotel. On Friday morning, I couldn’t wait to get going to visit family. First up, was Denise! Cairo finally got to meet the infamous Jackson. He’s quite the swimmer and retriever. We also got to see his snarl, which Denise told us is nothing to worry about. All snarl and no bite! His snarl wasn’t intended for us, but Denise’s other dog, Sammy. He likes to get attention too!
After getting Denise, we all visited my dad at his gym in Avon. After recovering from heart surgery, he’s still training people and running a business. He took some time to school us on table tennis. He’s going to compete in the upcoming Senior Olympics. Up above is a picture of my dad, Cairo, and myself. We thought it’d be fun to stand in the order of height.
Visiting my mom is always a treat! It’s been about 6 years since Cairo has visited Ohio so I gave him the grand tour of the homestead. I showed him my palatial room. Does anyone else think it’s odd that you always remember your home and room being so much bigger as a child? I also showed him the huge backyard with the creek that I used to hang out and build tree houses. Yep, I was getting nostalgic! We took Mom to one of my favorite ice cream stands… Dairy Grove in North Ridgeville! I have to visit that place every time that I come home. I always have to get the banana shake. It’s not as good as the old days, but I still get it.
We got our race packets, did a lot of goofing off, and spent plenty of money at the race expo. It was a decent size and had a great selection of race shirts. Since this is Cairo’s first marathon, I splurged a bit and let him get when he wanted. We enjoyed waiting for Denise as she spent twice as long at each booth as we did. I’ve never seen anyone try on 3 different sizes of an uber cool race shirt and then not buy it. She was still talking about that shirt a couple of days later.
One of the cool things about blogging for the Cleveland Marathon is that we get to attend the VIP Dinner on Friday night. We get to dress up a little, meet other bloggers, race dignitaries, elites, and talk running. We probably talked most about the upcoming Sunday morning forecast. Why do we talk about things that are out of our control?
It was great to meet another teenager running her first marathon… Alana Hadley. This 16 year old Olympic hopeful ran a 2:58. Great first showing! It was great to have a conversation with her dad about their training and who he’s been training. He trains marathoners and elites through his coaching program: Maximum Performance Running. I cannot wait to see Alana’s running success in the future. She’s so down to earth and loves long distance. It’s so cool to see someone that young embrace the marathon distance.
Knowing that Cairo was probably not going to be able to sleep much on Saturday night, I let him sleep in. Once I woke him at a reasonable time, I took him down to the Cleveland Metropark – Rocky River Reservation to run. Because of illness and the weather, I didn’t run since Tuesday so I really wanted to get another run before popping 26.2 We ran a few miles just to shake things up a bit and enjoyed the scenery. It’s pretty darn beautiful down there!
In keeping with tradition, we had the Saturday night pasta dinner at Debbie’s house. Debbie is the oldest of us Lindsleys and is an awesome mother of two children that keep her busy – Michael and Kayla. With all of the family gathered, we enjoyed picking on each other and carb loading.
I wanted to make this marathon experience extra special for Cairo. I always knew that I wanted to make a race shirt for us, but went a bit above and beyond by getting my family the shirts as well. With the help of my friend Rob, we worked together on the artwork and all. Originally, I wanted to have a Batman emblem on Cairo's runner and Superman on mine since we both like them so much. However, Zazzle.com would not allow the use of the trademarked super hero logos. I couldn't even plead with them that I was not going to sell the shirts for profit. It was a no go, but the runner silhouettes look uncannily like Cairo and I. You would think that someone used pictures of us to create the silhouettes, but they were taken from some stock artwork that I purchased.
For the big reveal, I took Cairo for a little walk down the block and back to allow time for all of the shirts to be handed out and worn. Cairo was surprised when he saw that everyone was wearing the shirts. On the drive back to the hotel, he told me that it made him feel very special to have these shirts made. It was also very cool to see everyone wear them when they came out to cheer us on at the race.
If you ever need shirts, I would highly recommend Zazzle.com as it was an easy setup, affordable, and no setup fees. They always seem to have a discount code happening, so make sure to look for those. For a total of 12 shirts in which 3 were tech shirts, I paid a total of $152. Pretty good deal!
This was the 11th time that I lined up at the start of a marathon and the same thought goes through my head… “Oh crap, I’m about to run 26.2 miles!” This time, I’m thinking the same thing for Cairo and knowing that I wanted to be strong for not only myself, but for him.
Team Lindsley below is all set to take on the streets of Cleveland!
Normally at marathons, I’m wearing a throw away shirt until the last second before I start running. However with the temps already in the low 60s there wasn’t a need for the long sleeve t-shirts that I brought. I really wasn’t looking forward to running in the heat, but only moaned and groaned about it in my head. No need for Cairo to hear my complaining.
It didn’t take long to feel the heat. The breezy wind did feel good at times, but it wasn’t enough to offset the heat and humidity. Since Cairo and I had our own water bottles, I made sure that we avoided the initial congested water stops. I did tell him that the water stops were our reminders to drink. Once we were out, I then told him that we’d be filling up our water bottles with 50/50 – half water and half Powerade. I’m glad that we did dilute the Powerade because the times that I did drink the Powerade, it was way too strong.
The Half Marathoners don’t separate in this race until mile 12 which makes it pretty crowded for quite a while. It felt nice to have some elbow room when they split off.
We did very well in the early miles keeping the pace under 9:00. I had hopes of getting Cairo close to a 4 hour marathon. We hit the Half Split at 2:01 even though we had a 4 minute potty break.
Once we got past mile 17 then Cairo seemed challenged by his knee and the heat. He told me that his knee hurt with a huge grimace on his face. We walked through the water stop and a bit beyond it. We stretched some and gave it a go for awhile longer. At this point of the race and remainder, we ran to each water station and walked through. There was a time when he wanted to walk and I told him no, that we’d walk at the next water stop which I thought would be right around the corner. Poor kid… it was a long corner. I’m sure he cherished that water stop/walk.
At one of the water stations there was a medic. I asked for something for his knee and they gave him some BioFreeze which seemed to help. They also cooled us down with water over our heads. I’ve always read that it’s best to continually drink instead of pouring water over your head. However, it was definitely refreshing. There were several locations on the course with people spraying people with water from hoses. That was definitely helpful.
It was an added boost to hear the occasional person yell out, “Go Cairo!”
Toward the last 6 miles, I was trying to keep him at a 10 minute pace, but he kept seeming to lag behind. I pretty much did what Hamlin did for me at my 50K, I stayed ahead of him and pulled him through. I would run backwards at times to see how he was doing. I would encourage him and yell to other runners that Cairo was running his first marathon at 17 years old. Total dad pride taking over. The other runners encouraged him as well.
It was great seeing family throughout the race. We saw my brother-in-law and nephew at miles 11 and 23. They called me a handful of times throughout the race to see where we were. We missed them at mile 15 as we were already at mile 17. I got to see my sister Deanna at mile 25. She was so full of excitement to see us!
It was crazy to be recognized at the race. I had a few people that recognized me because of my smiley faces on my calves or that they remember reading about myself and Cairo. I had one really nice girl say that she actually used my before, during, and after bags for the race. I’m so happy to think that I helped someone’s race experience.
I kept counting down the final miles for Cairo. When we got to mile 25, I told him that if we could keep it to a 10 minute mile that he could hit a Sub 4:30 marathon time. I think that got him going. When we had a half mile to go, he was hitting a 7 minute pace. I tried to get him to slow down as I knew how far we had to go and I didn’t want him or myself to be walking at the end. He slowed down a bit, but once we made the final turn and last 400 meters, he put the hammer down. He was literally doing a 5 minute mile pace at that time since looking back at my Garmin time, I finished running a 5:40 mile pace trying to keep up with him. He beat me to the finish by 5 seconds. There was no keeping up with him. That boy couldn’t help but to finish Cross Country Style.
Immediately after we finished, he gave me a big hug of relief. I was so proud of him. When one of the volunteers gave me a medal, I placed it over Cairo’s head. I’m so proud that he gritted it out and pushed when he felt a lot of pain. There are life lessons throughout the marathon experience that he’s going to be able to use in life. I think that he’s pleased with his finish time of 4:25. We had fun throughout the race. It was great to see him interacting with the crowd as well. At a later point in the race, he saw a mom with 2 toddler girls in a double stroller, he hollered at them, “Good morning, ladies!”
We grabbed some recovery food and found my family. My mom, Debbie, and her kids were there to greet us. We grabbed our checked bags and then found Denise after she finished. She pushed through the heat as well.
Recovery & Celebration
After the race, Cairo and I grabbed a couple bags of ice each from the gas station next to the hotel. We then had our lovely ice baths. That ice bath felt so darn refreshing!
We then had our celebration dinner with all of the family in Avon at Bubba Q’s. They have a D-Boned Baby Back Rib Steak that is just stupid awesome! Cairo and I wore our race medals proudly.
Cairo did really well! He did all of the critical training elements to be successful. Once in the race, he dug deep and pushed through. He definitely had self doubts, knee pain, and the heat of the day weighing him down, but he pushed through. I’m super proud of him. I’m so glad that I got to experience this event with him. This is something that we’ll share and cherish for years to come. I’ve asked him to come up with his own blog post so that we could hear the thoughts of this 17 year old marathoner.