One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2006 was to somehow, someway break 4 hours in a marathon. I did not do it at the Country Music Marathon in May. I did not do it at the Endurance 50 Marathon in September. I did even do it with combined times during the three days of the Uttermost in October. My last chance for the year seemed to have slipped away from me yesterday, especially after I passed the halfway mark in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon well off pace. Besides that, I had actually started to really hurt somewhere after mile 10.
By the 3 hour mark, despite having made up most of my lost time, I was absolutely miserable; everything hurt right down to my hair follicles; I just knew that I could not finish strong. But, lo and behold, I crossed the finish line close to what I thought might be a PR (a personal record). But, because the gun time and the electronic chip time can be separated by as much as four minutes (when you have thousands of runners in a race, they all don't cross the start line at the same time, obviously) I could not be certain of my time until the official race results were released this morning.
Well, the results are in. My time was 3:59.55. I broke 4 hours. Just barely. I slipped under the wire--with 5 whole seconds to spare. Let me tell you, 5 seconds after 4 hours of agony (well admittedly, the first hour or two weren't actually agonizing) and 26.2 miles seems miniscule. But this morning, I am awfully grateful for those 5 seconds!
I am also very thankful for the sponsors who supported the work of St. Jude through this run--as well as for all the amazing people I was able to meet from the St. Jude family. And those remarkable champions for whom I was running and praying--Todd, Josh, Carson, and Mary--I am most particularly grateful for each of you and your impact on my life.