Marathon Training Day 343: I Finished The Canby Dahlia Run

It was a grey, overcast morning… and as the bright orange vest of the parking lot attendant broke through the morning darkness… it became crystal clear that I was indeed awake. A zombie, but awake… and apparently driving in Canby Oregon. The mischievous minions working for Murphy’s Law were out in full force as I set out to conquer the Canby Dahlia Run on August 24th, 2013.

Murphy’s Law #1: I’ve had a cold for nearly a week, and two long colds for two weeks. I had a two week reprieve before the second cold hit… but hey, breathing is only minimally important for running a half marathon.

Murphy’s Law #2: My right leg is fully healed from a leg injury. However, that eliminated a few weeks from my training regime. Training? Who needs training for a half marathon? All I needed to do was run 13 miles.

Murphy’s Law #3: Our hotel in Canby was not good. We heard everything in the surrounding rooms, including the train. In addition, the water from the hotel tasted horrible, one of our room keys did not work, and the floor of our room was disgusting. It looked clean… but when we walked across the carpet barefoot, our feet were covered in in light brown film. Yeah, gross. A bright spot for the hotel… the people were really nice.

Murphy’s Law #4: DC, our pretty cool foster kid, did not sleep. Of course he picked the first night in 2 months to not sleep. I felt bad for our neighboring hotel people considering how loud DC was. In our defense, we could hear their televisions and sometimes heard them talking… so no one was really sleeping anyway. In fact, one of the neighbors woke DC up when one of them fell.

However, running a half marathon on an hour (or less) of sleep…. not ideal. With Murphy and all his agents at work… it was definitely an emotional, psychological, and physical battle that I did not expect when I first started training. Incomplete training, poor breathing, poor sleep…

But somehow… Hulk Hogan picked up Andre the Giant and body slammed him at WrestleMania. Somehow Luke Skywalker was able to destroy the Death Star. Somehow… Major “Dutch” Schaefer survived his rescue mission in 1987. And somehow… I finished the Canby Dahlia Run.


I was fortunate around the three mile mark to be running, and an older guy was running an decided to pace himself with me. We ran together for approximately 7 miles. Around the 10.5 mile mark, I thanked him for keeping pace with me up the hills and for most of the course… but that my pace was going to slow down. He told me this was the hardest part of the half marathon (in general, the last three miles). After 30 seconds he realized I was serious about slowing down, he maintained his pace and was soon out of my vision.

The Dahlia fields were nice, but I was a little disappointed to only run through/by them for a couple minutes. There were many farm fields that we ran past, but most of them did not have flowers. Or perhaps the flowers in those fields had already been harvested.

With all the cards stacked against me… how did I not stop to walk???

It was like Popeye throwing a punch after eating genetically modified spinach.

It was like Dracula having lunch at high noon.

It was like Robin battling the Joker without Batman.

It was like Superman flying while wearing a kryptonite necklace.

But somehow I ran 13.1 miles, yes the whole half marathon… without stopping to walk. My time was 1 hour, 58 minutes, 41 seconds. I did not win my age bracket. But I also did not collapse.

The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
Dinner the night before the marathon… spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, salad, water and orange juice

The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon

Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
I had a cold the day I was running a half marathon
Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
Walking… this is about my speed today
The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
Gettin’ Ready to Start
The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
The hardest part about running small marathons, is that sometimes you are running alone… it is definitely a mental challenge
The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
Crossing the finish line… thank you Jesus
The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
I just ran a half marathon… and now I’m bringin’ sexy back
The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
I finished the Canby Dahlia Run … 1 hour, 58 minutes, 41 seconds


Next stop… December 1st, 2013… the Seattle Marathon.

11 thoughts on “Marathon Training Day 343: I Finished The Canby Dahlia Run

  1. So awesome that you finished despite the challenges you faced. Congrats!
    My son is into Navy SEALs now and I am reading a book on them, and they are trained to be physically exhausted before they even start the day- requiring then to be mentally alert despite physical exhaustion. Sounds like you had a similar experience –even before you started your race you were drained! But you made it through ! You are SEAL material 🙂

  2. I’ve wondered if endurance events are closer to 50% fitness and 50% what’s in your head. Clearly, you had enough of what was required. Great job! Doing that well, despite the massive crappy stuff, means the full marathon is already doable, I think. Better sleep, less illness, and your current determination? Bam, you’re at the finish line in Seattle already.

    1. Thank you!! I like how easily the marathon pep talk can be translated into a dissertation pep talk.

      Sure, one of those goals makes you tired, a little irritable, work crazy hours, and occasionally cry as you strive toward a monumental goal… but then the other… wait a second…

      1. Ta da! Hiking/cycling are the same combo of fitness and life lessons for me. You’re gonna rock this life thing, even more!

  3. awesome job! every race is its own set of circumstances, and you have to sort of judge them that way. eventually you run enough of them that some are good, and some just suck…. and most are somewhere in between. this one sounds like you rocked it out despite the stuff you had to deal with. parenthood adds it’s own obstacles! there should be an age bracket for the parents of children under 5 who do NOT sleep at night. we deserve an award for just showing up with a number pinned to our chests. 😀 great job, rock star. on to the next!!

    1. Thank you!! And I would love to compete in that parenthood age bracket.

      Or better yet… the 38 to 45 year old male, married, foster parent, graduate student bracket. I think I would finished in the top 5 of that bracket 😀

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