Soon we are all lined up and ready to run. Runners of all types are present. I see the super fit fast ones in the front and the party animals wearing their costumes and sombreros towards the back. Many soldiers from Ft Bliss are also present and deployed troops from our local base are also running a simultaneous 26.2 miles in Iraq. I squeeze my way into the middle of this mob scene and wait.
Mt Cristo Rey in the distance. This mountain topped with a large cross is near the border of the states of Chihuahua (MEX), Texas, and New Mexico. I can’t resist snapping a shot with the camera I carry in my hydration belt. This is a beautiful view and now we get to run downhill.
Pancho Villa. I must be hallucinating. Am I drinking enough? Low on electrolytes? No, I actually feel very good. It really is Pancho Villa, so I get out the camera and take a few photos. He shouts at me, "Andale! Andale! Arriba! Arriba! Yii-hah!" Marathons are so fun.
Must keep up the pace. I reach mile 18 which is usually when I start to fade but I still feel strong. Can I keep this pace up without having to take walking breaks later? Time will tell. I pass many runners who are hitting the wall. Some are stretching on the side of the road and many are walking. Cramping is no fun so I give them a few words of encouragement. We leave the Upper Valley neighborhoods and start back towards the city.
My shoulders and back are really tight and I have a sharp pain when I bend my head down. Well mother used to say, “don’t bend your head down then.” OK, I’ll try it. It works for a while, but then I decide a short walking break and some stretching will help. I get this pain a lot on long runs, so do the usual lift arms over head and bend head down and side to side. After several minutes I feel better and can run again. Mile marker 25 comes into view along with an overpass. One last little uphill and I’m home free. Once over the pass I “sprint” for the finish. My watch reads 4:07 when I cross the finish line.
A lot can happen in 26.2 miles
See you on the trail.