Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#Goofyinaday: Michael and Eddie's Epic Adventure, Part 2

Team Tizzel is proud to continue our series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will cover the Rock and Roll Marathon - Savannah, GA.

Follow Michael and Eddie on Twitter

Earlier posts: Part 1

Part Two: Where We Freak Each Other Out While Running A Marathon
Eddie is fast. Boston qualifying fast. And like most character flaws that your friends may have, it's just something you just have to accept -- like a bad comb-over or people who pronounce ignorant as "ignernt." He means no harm by it. Yet when we walked into Corral 3 for the start of the race, Eddie's "I'm dropping back from Corral 1" to the lady checking bibs earned him some not-so-gentle ribbing from me. With a target time of 4:30 we should have been starting in Corral 11, however due to all of the day's events we used one of my better finish times to start our race as early as possible. So it was after a beautiful baritone rendition of the National Anthem and the quick release of Corrals 1 & 2, we headed up Bay Street: one of the many historic streets we would run today.

While Eddie and I had run 3 marathons together prior to Savannah, the pace in those races wasn't set by either of us. In those races we ran with a group of friends and we went with the general pace of the group. So going into this race, while I knew how fast Eddie could run, I was a bit of an unknown pacing quantity to him. All Eddie knew was our goal was to run 4:30 with a 30 minute contingency. What Eddie didn't know was how I planned to run those four and a half hours. My plan was to run the first half pretty hard, targeting under 2 hours, followed by an easing of the pace to run the second half in 2:30. Now admittedly, this isn't a very logical plan when embarking on a 39.3 daily goal, but I never claimed to be logical. As for Eddie, it would have been easier if I had shared this with him, and based upon his reaction for the next two hours it would have been easier on me as well.

Every marathon has what is termed "junk miles." These are miles, usually with lots of twists and turns, through less scenic portions of a city with the sole purpose of adding distance to add up to the 26.2 needed for a marathon. For Savannah, these miles are earlier in the race. While there wasn't much to look at, it would have been hard to really appreciate anything as Eddie was giving me constant updates of our pace. It started at the first mile marker where Eddie informed me with some nervousness we were running in the low 8 minutes per mile pace. Since Eddie was expecting a 9 to 10 minute pace based upon our goal, I am sure he had visions of my self destruction destroying our #GoofyInADay. So for the next few miles while I was receiving more frequent questions like if I "was comfortable," or "needed to adjust" pace, I finally told Eddie of my plan. While he may have accepted what I told him, it was very obvious for the rest of the race he wasn't 100% certain it would work, if I had any idea what I was doing...or if I was crazy.

As we returned to the historic downtown area from running our junk miles - WAR EAGLE - we got to see some of the best that Savannah had to offer. Beautiful parks, lots of spectators - WAR EAGLE - historic buildings and musical entertainment. Running through these areas was so much fun, I admit I didn't notice all of the uneven roads we were running on - WAR EAGLE. Now what I did notice, and you probably have as well at this point, was that Eddie had what I have dubbed "War Eagle Tourette's." Eddie is a huge Auburn fan, and our adventure was on Game Day, as Auburn was playing (if you want to know, you can Google it yourself, as I really don't care enough about who they were playing to do it myself). War Eagle Tourette's is a condition where when one Auburn fan sees another they immediately yell "War Eagle" which is then returned by a call of the same. Therefore, being as we were running in the south we were lucky enough to encounter at least a dozen Auburn fans, including one standing on an 8 foot step ladder holding an Auburn sign. This meant that for 26.2 miles I was treated to unannounced screams of War Eagle.....to the point I eventually felt like someone from an old World War II movie ready to hit he ground whenever someone would yell "incoming."

After the short stint in historic downtown we hit the interstate and headed out into the suburbs. This included - WAR EAGLE - runs through gentrified neighborhoods, parks and local stadiums. The highlight thought is the 3 or so miles we ran through Savannah State University. Here, we not only ran on the schools track and through it's well manicured grounds, we were treated with a multitude of student groups and associations out there cheering us on. From cheerleaders and the team mascot giving high-fives to the raucous marching band to academic and Greek groups, all were high energy and - WAR EAGLE - supportive. It was so much fun that there is even an unconfirmed rumor that one of us may have actually "twerked" with members of the band's dance corps. Since we were in the second half of the marathon at this point, we had slowed our pace, though it was still faster than our target 4:30 and Eddie was still suggesting things like, "hey, why don't we walk at every mile marker" in an attempt to keep me from potential self destruction. I would have found this cute if I weren't so focused on blocking Eddie's view of any Auburn fans along the course.

At Mile 23 as we headed back the interstate towards town, I got to admit I started to have some perverse fun with Eddie. As I indicated, Eddie is fast. At this point when we were on a path to a sub 4:10 finish I announced that I was starting to think about our evening run and was going to dial it back. While I can't swear to it, I believe his mouth actually fell open. So for the next few miles --WAR EAGLE - we stopped for even more pictures than we had been taking, and I would spontaneously announce let's walk. This was killing Eddie as our time started to creep up and whenever I said "hey, we are better than our goal" he would implore me with the fact that we could go well under that. Consider this the warped humor of slower runner torturing his faster counterpart. As we closed in on the finish line, Eddie started to - WAR EAGLE - run 5, then 10 feet ahead of me. When he got too far, I would announce a walk break or have him take a picture of me - including one where a police officer was handcuffing me after he made his Lieutenant turnaround so as not to be a witness. At this point Eddie "threatened" to leave me if I didn't sped up....which was met with my trump card. I told him that if he left me, I would tell everyone that despite my agreeing to doing #GoofyInADay with him, he left me on the course by myself just to get a faster time. Funny thing is, we really like each other, yet this is how we show it.

We finished in 4:16:47.

Part 3: Where We Drive to Orlando, Eddie Learns That It's Better to Write the Blog and We Discover the True Meaning of War Eagle

Eddie's video from the race is posted below:

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