In 1990 I finished the White Rock Marathon. And it almost finished me.
This year, I get my revenge:
Back then I was a 26-year-old flatbelly, just a couple years removed from competitive cross country and a full-speed dork who would precede Saturday morning flag football at The Village Country Club with a Friday night of partying at Starck Club. Running 26.2 miles? No biggie.
Or so I thought.
I trained by myself, running the streets of Duncanville with my ridiculously bulky Walkman blaring Guns 'n Roses' Appetite for Destruction and - can't believe I'm admitting this one - Wilson Phillips. At the time I was also in my second year covering the Dallas Cowboys for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Made for an interesting mix.
After a failed first attempt in 1986 - still in euphoria from graduating college the night before, I quit after 13 miles - I was determined to Run The Rock.
Leading up to Marathon Day I had never run more than 18 miles. On Thanksgiving the week before I totally pigged out on dressing and bread and giblet gravy. And the night before? I didn't go out drinking, but I did go out. Cheddar's in DeSoto - with the giant ceiling fans - if I remember correctly.
The morning of Dec. 2, 1990 was warm and comfortable. I was fine around the lake but then, at around 20 miles, the weather and the wall hit me. Hard. The temperature dropped from the 60s into the 40s and a mist matured into a 1/4-inch of rain. My feet grew numb. My nipples - irritated by hours of friction with my T-shirt - began bleeding. My mind raced, but my body didn't. I was a mess.
I crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 29 minutes, in agony and in triumph.
It was just the beginning.
After the race I drove home, ate about three lunches and then went to Texas Stadium to cover Cowboys-Saints. I felt okay. But as the game ended and the media headed for the elevators down to the field and locker room, I was confronted by a small problem.
I couldn't walk.
Not only that, I couldn't get up out of my chair. Hours of sitting after hours of running and my legs were locked, useless. After being helped to my car and somehow driving home, I spent the next 24 hours in a soaking hot bath tub.
Now 19 years
older wiser, I'm back to slash 30 minutues off The Rock. The goal: Breaking 4 hours without breaking my legs.
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This time I'm going to do it right. I'm already outfitted in some spiffy new shoes by New Balance and next week I'll visit the Mavs' team doctor for a pre-torture checkup and then an appointment with a nutritionist at the Cooper Clinic. Oh, I even got some nipple-friendly gel at RunOn!
In this year of ridiculous extremes, I'm book-ending not eating for 10 days with running for nine months. Consider this the first of periodic "Running The Rock" updates.
ran jogged 2 miles Sunday. My Achilles immediately alerted me that this will not be easy.
To be continued ...