A flat, paved course on a comfortable day (42° at start, about 63° when I finished at 1:40 p.m.). I describe the event in four segments: from the Start/Finish line, out the shorter west end and back; from the S/F line east/south and back; then each of those again. I have to cross the S/F line three times and keep going. Hmmmm.
Segment I. We set out with an official early start at 7:00 a.m. Group (below) included Hajime, whom I met at Walker, two local ladies doing their first (under 7:00, they hope), and Jim Munson from Costa Mesa, California. Jim had a cardiac arrest in 1996 and started walking marathons for fitness. Well, this makes his 67th; he wants to do his 68th on his birthday in January. He tells me about his friend Kendall from Atlanta, whom I'll meet soon on this segment. She's doing her 107th or so today.
During the first mile I felt a nagging ache in my left calf, almost into my ankle. Aww, no, not already, right here at the start, I groaned, fearing the condition would grow worse. But by the west turnaround it's subsided. Nearing the S/F to end this section we meet the lead runners and the rest of the pack. By this time several locals have come out biking and walking, many with their dogs.
Segment II. The leaders pass me at about m7. My stump's begun feeling some pain; a sock change and a Compeed blister prevention under the kneecap at about m12 alleviate it. As I neared the south turnaround loop, I meet the local ladies again. They're doing well. After I emerge from under the bridge, a little girl maybe 3 or 4 years old stepped forward a bit to wave at me; her older sister, maybe 5 or 6, said to her, "That's not mommy!"
I feel pretty good overall at halfway, but this is an easy course.
Don't even think about cutting the course—Sir
Segment III. The field's begun thinning out. About halfway out I meet Kendall as she struggles up from the underpass. Near the turnaround I meet another frequent marathoner, with 30-odd races. We chat a bit before I jog on ahead. I feel some chafing on my inner thighs, so I'll apply some Vaseline at the S/F.