Monday, October 19, 2009

We got one of those in South Dakota

Years ago, my brother Matt and I were fortunate to go to Europe for a month. It was a graduation present from our parents to expand our horizons through experiencing other cultures. What a terrific time that was. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Shortly after arrival, we found ourselves swept up among a pack of fellow North Americans. While we were from all over the States and Canada, the two women from South Dakota made the only lasting impressions.

Before I write another word, let me first say that I have nothing but respect for the State of South Dakota in general. Let's face it, fellow Nebraskans, we're not much different than our northern neighbors. Sure, they've got Mt Rushmore, but we've got our own totemic monument in carhenge, and what's more excessively American than a timeless tribute to the automobile?

Now about these two SD women. Within a few days they were grating on the group's nerves. They talked incessantly. They were loud and brash. And it soon became apparent that they had dissimilar interests and budgets than the rest of the group. For example, when we wanted to go to Versailles, they wanted to shop for $1,500 Haute couture leather boots. As Matt and on were traveling on less than $15/day, even coffee became a luxury.

So by the time we arrived in Florence, there was a lot of animosity in the group towards these two. But to everyone's delight, they made an announcement on the platform that they were going to catch the next train to continue their journey to Greece.

"But what about Michelangelo's David," I suddenly blurted out.

Eyes were rolling. I could almost hear the thoughts of others telling me to shut up.

"We'd rather go lay out on the beaches in Greece"

Somebody gasped.

"But it's a masterpiece!"

"Oh the David? We've seen it already; we got one of those in South Dakota."


I was reminded of these two at the Des Moines Marathon this past weekend.

Before the race, I was among hundreds who escaped the chilly morning air by ducking into a nearby hotel lobby. Along the wall, an elite marathoner was sitting on a couch. I knew he was running the marathon because he was the only person sitting in the crowded room and distance runners value resting their legs before the race. I also knew that he was an elite athlete by his small build and his Kenyan accent. Since I also running the full marathon, I was fully qualified to sit. I plopped down next to him.

Near us was a group of women who were already mid-conversation with the Kenyan.

"What's your fastest marathon time?"

"2:22," he replied.

There was a buzz of excitement in the whispers shared among them.

"Where's your next race?"

"South Korea"

Blank looks.

"You mean South Dakota, right?" the woman inquired.

"South Korea," he reiterated.

More whispering.

Then again, this time more sheepishly, "Don't you mean South Dakota, U - S - A ?"

"No. My next race is in South Korea. It takes 13 hours to fly there."

"I TOLD YOU HE SAID SOUTH KOREA!!" she repeated triumphantly back to the group.


As for me, I completed the marathon in 3:01.25.

Overall, the race was organized well. There were plenty of aid stations along a course that was quite scenic, albeit challenging. The first half had lots of hills not unlike what you'd encounter in midtown Omaha. The second half was flat as a pancake. It was a calm and 32F at gun time; later, the 20mph southern winds brought the temperature into the mid 40s.

I had previously decided to jump in with the 3 hour pace group. By our pacer's plan, we ran the initial eight miles of hills at a slower than 3 hour pace, attacked on an upper section and the down hill portions at a 2:52 marathon pace and then settled into a 2:59 pace for the remaining 8 miles.

As reported by Athlete tracker alerts, my splits went like this:
1) 10k at 42:10; expected finish at 2:58
2) Half at 1:29:51; expected finish at 2:59
3) 19.5mi at 2:09:54; expected finish at 2:54
4) finish at 3:01:24

What happened after the 19.5 mile split actually started shortly after the hills section: around the 11th mile, my quads started feeling heavy. Then at the 16th mile, hard pounding during the quickened downhill pace also took a toll on the quads. Tightening followed. At mile 22, my calf muscles began cramping. It was at this point that I fell off the sub 3 hour pace group.

In the end, the 3:01.25 finish was a PR by over seven minutes. It's also a valid Boston Marathon qualification time, which I intend to use in 2010. I am happy about this. Of course, I would have liked to have gone 86 seconds faster to break the three hour barrier, but I gave it everything and will gladly accept the results.

For the next few days/weeks, it's time for some R&R.

Perhaps I'll go pay the David of South Dakota a visit. I hear that they got one of those there.


  1. I bet they ain't got a Corn Palace in Europe neither.

    Just be glad you weren't up with the leaders. I hear they got delayed by a train. Sounds fishy. Where do you work again?

  2. SD also lays claim to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie; Dances with Wolves was filmed there; Belle Fourche, SD is the center of the 49 States (excluding Hawaii); and is home to my personal favorite, the world's largest prairie dog in Cactus Flats, SD.

    What Fred was referring to: freight train interrupts marathon finish.

  3. Brady, congratulations on qualifying for the Boston Marathon with 18.75 min to spare. Boston has 57 Dunkin Donuts stores (or is that Duncan Hines). Those belly blasters would be incentive enough to go to Boston to fuel up for the run. SD has no usury laws hence the corporate home of CitiBank largest credit card operation on the planet. ol' Dad

  4. OK remind me again why you didn't break three hours?

  5. Hey Shim, You can do Lincoln Marathon with me next year and we'll shoot for 3hrs.

  6. Running is for chick's you'll fit right in. Besides, I wouldn't be caught dead in Lincoln.

  7. Another thing from South Dakota: Shim.

    Shim has much better things to do with his time on this earth than being caught dead in Lincoln.

    We already know how cosmopolitan Papillion is. And who could forget about the infamous pub crawl this weekend?

    Re running is for chicks: You've got that right, buddy. You of all people should appreciate this element, especially when the men out number the women 25 to 0 in the group rides you join.

    Have fun carousing the pub crawl. Woo!

  8. Shim doesn't join group rides. He's the uncontested leader of those sausage-fests.

  9. Oh, come on boys, you can do better than that, your a couple of talented writers, is this all you could come up with. You could have made some type of comment about my age, how when you look at me from the profile it looks like I must have gotten wacked by a club, or how I would most likely never be able to finish a marathon. Or you could have seen that I was throwing a little jab at KBurke and been nice guys. By the way my wife made me move to Papillion after there was a shooting in front of my old house after a drug deal gone bad, oh wait that's Brady's current neighborhood.

  10. well, the good part about moving to Papillion is that instead of drug deals gone bad, you have under-the-table bribes and firefighters cheating on their entrance exams.

    really, it's win-win for everybody.