Local pastor gears up for first marathon
By: From Joe Whiting, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
This Saturday will be my first marathon. I moved my family to Lake County from Alexandria, Va. seven summers ago to serve as the pastor of Grace Baptist Church. For three summers, I was thrilled to experience Grandma’s Marathon from the sidelines. It was a lot of fun following runners in my car and cheering for them at various intersections along the course and then at the finish line.
Finally, in 2009, I decided to enter the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon. I signed up and my name was drawn. It was a great experience and I ran better than expected. Where else do people line up to cheer you on, play music for you, serve you food and beverages and let you litter all over the road? I ran the half again the following year, although with some minor knee pain, which I attributed to inconsistent training. Last summer, I signed up for the half but was not drawn.
So last fall, I suggested to my wife the possibility that I might run the full marathon in 2013. She wasn’t too keen on the idea, what with my previous knee pain, but I promised that I would follow the training schedule carefully and not overdo it. With a hesitant tap on the computer keyboard, I clicked “submit” and registered for Grandma’s Marathon.
I enrolled in the online training program written by course champion, Dick Beardsley, and I have followed it religiously. Most of my training runs have been in the country areas near the airport. I appreciate all the kind folks who gave me some room on the roads as they drove by me in my fluorescent yellow shirt. Thanks to the many neighbors whose roadside grass provided hiding places for my water bottles during my long runs. Highlights of my training runs included: ten snowstorm runs, two blizzard-like runs, seven rainy mud runs, a dozen blustery days, several great gray owl sightings, a panther sighting, two wolf pack “howlings,” being chased by ten different country dogs, one turned ankle and no knee pain.
Eighteen weeks and over 500 miles later, with my 48th birthday just a few days behind me, I feel great. I am looking forward to pinning on bib #2929, boarding the shuttle Saturday morning, and running my first marathon. bib #2929, boarding the shuttle Saturday morning, and heading for the starting line. I’m dedicating my first marathon to my late father-in-law, a WWII Navy veteran and good friend, Allan Wesley Dayhoff.