Unbelievable mishap this week for David Redor as his suitcase got lost. We talked to him via Skype a few hours after the marathon, and he was in great form, i.e. in way better form that we expected after we had heard the loss of his suitcase via email at 3:30 am, just a few hours before his 18th run.
David is really a “crazy” guy: his nickname says it all! It has now become obvious even to those who still doubted it. His powerful mindset and professionalism are major elements in the management of such a misfortune. This is also obvious. In short, kudos to our champion who will continue to surprise us during his crazy challenge of 52 marathons in 52 weeks in the 50 American states. Florent
At 5 am on Sunday I did not need an alarm clock as I had been looking for my suitcase which was lost by American Airlines.
The airline told me they had found it at 3:30 pm at the Baltimore airport and promised to get it to me immediately, but they did not despite my frequent calls until 2:30 am. What a scandal! I was extremely upset on top of being very tired because of a very busy week and only four hours of sleep. I felt the run was going to be difficult as none of the alternatives that I faced were satisfying, i.e. I could run barefoot, or I could run with my street shoes, thus risking to destroy my feet, get blisters, bruises and torn skin.
I decided to not run barefoot. I had ran barefoot before but only for ten kilometers and I had no idea what to expect on a longer run. I did not want to take the risk of damaging my feet as I have many more marathons to run this year (one every week until the end of the year!). So I chose to run in street shoes wearing socks, and to monitor any potential rubbing with the option to take them off and finish the marathon barefoot. As for my outfit, I ran in my boxer shorts sporting the T-shirt of the Dewey marathon. These were the only things that I had to wear. I became a Marathon Mc Giver using the body lotion of the hotel room as an anti-chaffing foot cream! I ate my breakfast, could not take my Immun’Âge® since it was in my lost suitcase, and went to the front desk a last time to check if, by any chance, my suitcase had arrived in the last three hours… but no such luck!
I went to my rental car and drove to the starting area a few kilometers away from my hotel. It was really cold because of an icy gusty wind. I stopped along the way at the beach to take a picture of the magnificent sunrise on the ocean. I parked my car two kilometers from the starting area and started walking until I jumped into one of the marathon shuffle buses passing by, too happy to take advantage of this opportunity to warm up a bit.
The wind was really strong at the starting area and we were to run with it. I took place in my corral, and noticed that the other runners watched me in amazement. They probably imagined me just coming out of a night club where I had lost my pants and was only left with my street shoes and socks! What a look despite Hugo Boss socks and Serge Blanco shoes: lol! What a style! However, it could have been worse: I could have been wearing high-cut briefs instead of boxer shorts! I had to laugh even though I knew that the run was going to be difficult. I thought of runners in Kenya who don’t have enough money to buy a pair of shoes: so better be quiet and start running!
I had to figure out a strategy for this unusual run. With no shoes for rebound or cushioning, I found it crucial to remain as little as possible on concrete road surfaces to spare the joints. I should absolutely start fast, use longer strides while putting my weigh as much as possible on the ball of my feet to decrease the impact strain on the heels. And, as the weather was cold and I was half naked, I should not linger to reduce the chance of catching a cold.
7 am. After the national anthem, the gun went off. We started with the wind at our back, but it did not last because we turned and had to run against the wind until km16: we were heading north along the coast.
I psyched myself up for the run setting my mind to “give-it-all-otherwise-it-will-take-too-long” and went for it.
I started quite fast on a long straight avenue and then through a beautiful and green residential area full of flowers. At km 4, we reached the boardwalk: its wooden surface did not make the run easy.
I passed km 5 in 28 minutes. We left the boardwalk to enter a pine area behind the beach, still running against the wind. A runner talked to me wondering what I was doing with such shoes. I told her my story and she was flabbergasted. We continued on a trail, a blessing for me. However, I needed to be careful not to step on any little pebble because they could go through the sole of my 15-year-old shoes.
My pace was good and I passed km 10 in 55 minutes. The course was pleasant as it continued through pine trees, and I reached km 15 in 1:23.
At km 16, the course turned around and moved further inland. The wind started helping us a bit. I did not feel any pain, my pace was good, and I reached km 20 in 1:53, and the half marathon in 1:59. I was on a 3:58 marathon pace, and this was a bit crazy. A long uphill and a bridge made me slow down a bit, but I sped up again, and everything was OK.
I passed km 25 in 2:28. We ran through residential neighborhoods with extremely well maintained mansions.
From km 26 on, my legs felt a bit stiff and my lower back hurt slightly due to the lack of cushioning, but my feet and joints felt OK. I reached km 30 in 2:59 with no injury: quite unexpected with my “primitive” gear. I knew at this point that I had done the job, and a good job it was because I had managed to get my mind ready for it. After a very long straight open road, we ran a long straight stretch in the woods and I reached km 35 in 3:38.
We ran back toward the seashore and on the boardwalk that was still as hard to run as before, and more so due to the presence of many people that were strolling there despite the marathon signs, and were so oblivious that we had to slalom around them. We got back to the beautiful neighborhoods and headed to the finish line.
At km 38, a runner commented on my shoes. “Those are party shoes!” he said. I told him what happened and he reacted with a big “Oh sh…t!” followed by “What you are doing is terrific, man!”
I passed km 40 in 4:20, ran a last straight stretch on the boulevard along the coast, took a last right turn to pass the finish line in 4:39:57 (real time for the distance was 4:37:26). Earlier that morning I would never have thought such time possible – my second fastest time since the beginning of the challenge this year. It proves that some nightmares can turn into good dreams if we are able to face and take advantage of hardship.
Once more, I’d like to insist on how much the mind can make us achieve. Despite my inappropriate gear, the fact that I felt extremely tired and was more than upset at the beginning of the run, I managed a great performance by associating will power and rage. As for injuries, I had no blister, nor bruises, and got just some skin torn above my left big toe that should be OK by next Sunday. Above all, my legs and joints do not hurt. I did manage things very well.
This run was very pleasant, fast with a nice atmosphere and an enjoyable course most of the time. Two downsides though: Too high of a registration fee for this marathon that we basically ran only on pedestrian areas, and no management of the boardwalk where people strolled among the runners. Once more, I would like to thank the police and state troopers that encouraged us and took great care of our safety. They were really great.
I sat on a bench at the beach and enjoyed a great moment of satisfaction while drinking the three beers that I was entitled to. These tasted better than any others!
At the finish area, many people talked to me asking me what the deal with those shoes was, and when I told them what happened, they were speechless and wanted a picture with me. The official marathon photographer took a picture of me and they even served me Champagne! So great! I spent a real good time talking to people at the beach while listening to great music and drinking a few glasses of Champagne. When I left, I was quite cheerful, but after all, I deserved it!
Hello from Delaware to the CEO of Serge Blanco Group, my friend Lionel who can be proud of his friend and his Nogaro shoes that he can produce again as they are very sturdy shoes that, fifteen years after they were bought, are still in use, and on top of it, were not used for the purpose they were supposed to serve. Together the photo of the shoes and the medal would make a great ad!
I went back to my hotel to get my suitcase back hoping that they would have delivered it. (I had texted them to leave it at the lobby if I was not there when they got to the hotel.) I was too optimistic! My suitcase was still not there and I had to call them again. I am told that it had been delivered at 1 pm. I told them it was impossible as there was someone at the lobby and I was there too. I had to go and gave them the address of my next hotel in Baltimore. The suitcase arrived at 11:40 pm. What a shame but they won’t get away with murder!
Day lesson: Never trust airlines, and I advise runners to always keep a runner’s outfit in their hand luggage! I had the feeling that it could happen to me one of these days, and tough luck, it happened on the very day when I was not wearing my marathon running shoes! I learned my lesson!
I’d like to apologize to my sponsors as I could not wear their gear except the Loubsol glasses that I always have on. It was not my fault but I am sorry just the same.
I have managed my three-marathon week well and will be able to rest until next Sunday when I start a new three-marathon week.
See you in Cincinnati, Ohio. Have a nice week.