1995 Houston

The 1995 Houston Tenneco Marathon - also the 1995 USCAA Corporate National Marathon

Through a series of fortuitous luck and careful planning, I was able to participate in this marathon.  I had (just) enough USAir frequent flier mileage to garner a single round-trip coach ticket anywhere in the continental US and/or Canada, so I got there for free.  And, due to some amount conniving and wheedling on my part the company sponsored Bob Brenner with travel and room, so I had a free place to stay.  Finally, Bob talked my way into the corporate team sans invitation, and so MMC corporate paid the $30 entry fee for me.

As a result of these events, and the if-not-healing-then-at-least-cessation-of-worsening condition of my right foot injury, I traveled with Bob to Houston.  We planned to leave at 5:15 on Friday, January 13.  At about 2:30 that afternoon, I got a call from USAir saying that our flight to Charlotte would be delayed 40 minutes and we would therefore miss our connection to Houston.  Would I please call to discuss this issue?  Yes I would, and did, and it turned out that if we left IMMEDIATELY for the airport, we could get re-ticketed for a flight that left at 3:40 for Philadelphia with a connection to Houston.  So Tom Homeyer piled us in his car and off we went, before what we dropped even had time to descend to terra firma.  We made the plane in plenty of time and from the Philadelphia airport called back to the office to take care of a few forgotten or misgiven items.  We got into Houston about 8 local time, and took the $15 shuttle to the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Houston, race headquarters.

We checked in and went for a walk in search of nightlife, or at least a quiet dinner.  We went to an Italian restaurant about 5 blocks from the hotel.  When Bob asked if they had any local beers, the waitress replied "Heineken?", and she looked at him of the six heads with trepidation when he asked for a beer list or if they had any dark beers.  She didn't come back for at least ten minutes, and we left.  On further investigation of downtown Houston, we found there were a virtual plethora of other dining establishments available, including and limited to a Domino's takeout and a McDonald's.  I realize it was 9:00 p.m. on Friday evening, but this was a little much.  We returned to the hotel and had a very expensive snack before retiring for the evening.

Recap of day 1 is that we traveled on USAir (formerly Allegheny Air, AKA Excitement Airlines) on Friday the 13th.  We checked into the Houston Hyatt Regency in the center of completely closed up downtown Houston where they assigned us room 1413.  On reflection, we realized that the 14th floor is really the 13th since hotels don't number any floor 13 (what floor did they think we thought we were on?), so we were on the 13th floor in the 13th room on Friday the 13th.

We got up Saturday morning, (I rose each day at least two hours before Bob - Saturday and Sunday due to apprehension, Monday due to pain - and spent the time until he awoke reading, usually from Noakes) and ate a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  Darrell Ferguson, the MM team captain from Knoll Atomic Power Laboratory came over and we agreed to meet that evening for dinner at 7.  After that we went to the expo in the basement, where we got our race packets.  We toured the booths, where I bought two more books (Ted Corbitt's biography and a collection of ultra short stories (get it?), and a new bottle holder.  We went back to the room, and then out for a run (Bob ran, I walked - still trying to nurse the right foot into running shape and only 16 hours left!)  After stretching on our return, Bob took a nap and I went out in search of a food store to get some carbo-loading supplies.  The Houston Hostess lady in the lobby couldn't tell me where there was a grocery store within walking distance, and neither could the registration desk or the concierge.  So I decided to try to find something.  When I went outside, the lady who had given Bob his race packet asked me if I would take a picture of her and her friends, which I did.  She seemed to be a native, so I asked her for directions, which she was unable to provide.  Apparently eating is something that just isn't done in Houston, at least not downtown, since there are neither restaurants nor food stores anywhere to be had.  This particular lady did suggest that the concierge might know where there was an Exxon convenience mart.  I tried this, but there is no Exxon in downtown (but we had struck on the notion of associating what you want with oil in order to find it).  They did tell me where a Woolworth's was, so I walked there (about 4 blocks) and bought a loaf of Wonder bread, 2 bags of pretzels, two angel food cakettes and a 12-pack of Pepsi.  Which I returned to the hotel with and promptly began loading.  We watched TV until time to meet for dinner.  The notable thing about my walk was that the wind was blowing so hard I had to bend into it in places to continue forward progress.  This caused no small amount of apprehension for the morrow.

Dinner was at the same Italian place we had tried the night before, so we were careful not to ask for dark or local beers.  By careful observation of the back bar prior to ordering, the beer drinkers were able to obtain the oblation of their choice. I stuck with ice water.  Darrell told us he had enough $$ from corporate to pay our entry fees and buy dinner, which was great - I had angel hair primavera and was very stuffed when we left.  After arranging for a 5:00 wakeup call, and Bob ordering a room service breakfast of bagels, croissants, coffee and bananas, I read myself to sleep.

On waking (at 4:30) I downed 4 slices of bread and a 600 mg Motrin and began hydrating.  By the time breakfast came (6:15) and Bob woke up, I had already drank at least 8 glasses and read over half of "And then the Vulture Eats You."  I wanted to be able to empty the bowels before leaving for the race, so I downed a hot cup of coffee.  I haven't been using caffeine for quite a while, but I do take a black cup on race mornings to free up some extra fatty acids into the bloodstream, and it gives me quite a rush if I don't build up a tolerance.  This morning I drank 2.5 cups to get a good buzz going and to loosen the bowels.  Alas, a movement was not to be had.  I also wolfed down my bagel, both my croissants and my banana.  I surprised myself eating the croissants, because they have a LOT of fat and this is something I usually avoid.  Trying new things before big races is dumb, but this time I got away with it, as there were no side effects, and I didn't have to stop before or during the race to empty anything from my system.

A little reflection on what I was doing at this particular race is now in order to illustrate my mindset that morning.  I had run my first marathon 10/2/94 at the Finger Lakes Marathon.  This very hilly course was run by 52 finishers, witnessed by at least 3 and no more than 5 spectators, and I ran a respectable 3:52, finishing 24th.  Since then I had as a goal to qualify for Boston, which at my ripe age required a 3:20.  So I had been training specifically for this race for about 3 months and specializing my training to run 3:20 or just better.  I actually had several strategies worked out after reading Noakes' chapter on racing.  First, I had a sequence of goals to accomplish so that no matter what happened I would not completely washout.  My goals, in order, were to start my second marathon, to finish my second marathon, to beat my PR (3:52), to qualify for Boston (3:20) and to break 3:00.  I didn't consider the first goal missable or the last one makeable, but felt I had some challenge in between.  I frankly had no idea if I could run 3:20 or not, although my training indicated I could.  The problem was that after my right foot tendonitis from the previous marathon, I had healed nicely to the point that in early to mid December I was running a lot with no pain.  I ran 95 miles the week of December 12-18, with an 8 mile trail run on the 17th and a 25-mile run around Cazenovia Lake and into the hills near Chittenango the next day.  I think I bruised my right foot in the trail run, where I ran the downhills with reckless abandon.  I felt extremely good, even though Brenner and Homeyer went by me on the uphills like I was walking (and on a couple, I was), I sped past them on the downhills.  I won't claim to have been under control very much on those downhills, but they sure were fun.  I don't remember twisting my foot or hitting anything with it, but I imagine that silliness is to blame for the pain that started to develop in that foot.  I felt it a little the next day, but running 25 miles alone in the winter in ~4 hours with a liter of water halfway is a fairly consuming enterprise, and I didn't make too much of the sensation in my foot.  I frankly was thinking only of being in shape to qualify for Boston.

I had planned to have long runs the 24th and 31st of December, and then taper off to the 15th.  Both those long runs were omitted due to the very sore foot I developed.  I ran about 12 with Bob and Tom on Christmas Eve from Bob's home, and took Christmas off entirely.  I tried to do the 3:20 half-mile repeat workout on the 27th at Manley, and stopped after 7 of 10 planned intervals with a very sore right foot.  So sore I walked with a limp.  I tried it the 29th at lunchtime, and it still hurt pretty bad.  So I vowed not to run until the 1st, when I ran over to Fayetteville and ran in the resolution run of about 7 miles.  I planned to run home, but the foot hurt enough to bum a ride from Tom.  The next day I skied at Tug Hill for 4 hours, and the flexing in my foot was sort of painful.  But the snow was so nice, I couldn't resist.  I agreed to some good counseling to stay OFF my foot.  I tried it again at lunch on the 10th, and it didn't feel good.  That was the last time I ran before the marathon started at 8:00 on the 15th.  The foot feels okay where the previous tendonitis had been, but is very sore in any lateral movement, and flexing the foot hurts.  If I stay on the ball it's okay, but it's hard to walk or run that way.  I did also manage enough self-discipline to stay off the Nordic Track, which also seemed to aggravate the foot.  I spent a few days trying ice, a few trying heat, and a few trying some orthotics that Tom loaned me.  Nothing seemed to really work.  Research to date says the closest I come to a diagnosis is "subluxed cuboid syndrome."  My reference indicates professional manipulation is required to correct this condition.

Well, we got ready to go to the start.  I took another 600 mg Motrin and we headed out.  I wore the MMC singlet, Sporthill microlite shorts, two wristbands on each wrist and cotton gloves, with the hat my brother gave me at the Vermont half marathon.  Bob wanted to walk a block / run a block to the start, and the running felt GREAT.  Probably a lot of that was sheer desire to feel great, and not so much accurate listening to the body.  When we caught up with Grete Waitz our walk/run theory went out the window and we just walked along behind her.

We found our MM teammates inside where we stretched and I made a final pit stop before a quick team picture and dropping our bags off at the check.  Then walking to the start.  They said it was 50 degrees and 70% humidity.  It seemed a little windy and chilly at the start.  I worked my way up to about 10 feet from the line in a tightly packed crowd of women and masters.  The open males started a block over.  After a bad rendition of the national anthem, we started, thus accomplishing goal number 1.  There were 3 helicopters covering the race.

Another of my stratagem for the day was to run the race in segments.  This idea came from Noakes' book.  I planned to run 5 5-mile segments.  I figured if I made it that far, the last 1.2 miles would take care of itself. Before the race, this meant I expected to sprint the last 1.2.  As you will see, I didn't need to worry about the last 1.2, but that fact that I would have little control over it turned out to be because of a different reason. 

Anyway, I planned to run in terms of perceived effort, and I currently am in the habit of judging effort by my breathing.  Daniels talks about 3-3, 3-2 and 2-2 breathing, where 3-3 means you take 3 steps for each inhale and 3 for each exhale.  My plan was to run the first 5-mile segment "easy," which to me means 4-4 breathing.  The next two segments I wanted to run "moderate", which is 3-3.  Then I planned to run the 4th segment "moderately hard" or 3-2, and the final segment "very hard", or 2-2.  I also agreed with myself beforehand to change this plan in the slower or easier direction at any time I felt concerned, or tired, or winded, or hurt.  The primary thought in the back of my mind was that to reach my goal number 2, I had to finish the race.  And even though accomplishing subsequent goals (like 3 and 4) meant doing certain things from the beginning of the race (like running sub-8-minute pace), it wouldn't pay to run the first three segments at a pace sufficient to achieve goals 3-4 but be unable in segments 4-5 to do what was necessary to achieve goal number 2, i.e., finish the race.  So, the central theme of the day became PATIENCE.  I had to be patient enough in the first 4 segments to arrive at the 5th segment with the resources I needed to run it "very hard."  I spent a lot of time thinking about patience during the race.

The first mile clicked by at about 7:25.  This seemed very fast to me, but I was breathing according to my plan, I was not concerned or tired or winded or hurt, and I felt great.  So I kept going according to my breathing and paid very little attention to time.  It was somewhat hard to run slow enough to breathe 4-4, and it's very difficult to think of nothing else.  To breathe this way, you must inhale very deeply, and it's difficult for me to count my steps in the presence of loud music.  So when we went by a band or a radio station, I usually got caught up in the hoopla a little.  I also tried to thank every single police officer and other volunteer I could in the first 5 miles of the race.  Each time I thanked someone, which I learned from the Finger Lakes Runners Club newsletter is a good thing to do, I got a little emotional/mental rush from doing it.

This race was very well run.  They had water at every mile, and Powerade at every even mile from 4-20 and at every mile thereafter.  Since my bladder felt a little full at the start, I decided to skip the water at mile 1 and 3.  I was afraid I'd have to stop to pee, which I did in my first marathon, and that it would later on cost me goal number 4, qualifying for Boston.  I was looking for pee trails on the pavement at the start to see if squatting there was an accepted thing to do, but I didn't see any.  Several times during the race I tried to void myself while I ran, but I couldn't  This made me think I didn't have to go all that bad.  And they had portacans every few miles which I could have used, but I didn't want to stop.  So I ended up at five miles at 7:25 pace.  They called out the pace as well as the split at almost every mile in this race.  At first I didn't know what the 7-something numbers were - then I caught on.  This was a very nice feature, since it eliminated the need to do the simple arithmetic mentally, which I usually have trouble with.  I also find that doing the mental arithmetic takes me a long time, which tends to make me lose my focus.  I was glad in this race to hear the pace, know where I was WRT my goals, and be able to continue to focus on MY race.  Anyway, I went by five miles at 7:25, which meant I had 5*12 =60 seconds in reserve (I needed 7:37 pace for 3:20).  I felt terrific.  I had planned to try the Powerade to replenish glycogen, but I missed the table at the 4-mile mark, so I grabbed water at 5 miles.  I also saw a female in the MMC singlet at 5 miles.  She was several runners to my right, and I didn't feel like talking, so I just kept going.

 In the first segment I began to think a lot about patience, in terms of how much I needed it to run this race successfully.  Patience is something that I've learned a great deal about in the last 18 months.  First, I though about all the patience that was required, whether I had it at the time or not, to lose the 92 pounds I had shed.  I remember wanting to lose it all right away, but that reality required that I have patience in order to lose it.  And the logic followed that since I had lost it, and since patience was required to lose it, I, therefore, must have patience.  So I belabored this positive affirmation about the immense amount of patience I have acquired.   And I associated that patience with running a successful race, and that reaffirmed my desire to run the first segment easy.  Every time I got through this loop of logic in my mind, I monitored my breathing, and slowed myself back to the planned pace.  Again, without remorse, but remembering that patience was required to win this race, and I have an enormous amount of patience.  Three hours and twenty minutes worth at least, and that's all I need.

There were two distinct feeling I was trying to cope with.  One, I wanted the first 4 segments of the race to be over with NOW so that I could get on with the 2-2 very hard racing of the final 5-mile segment.  I was ready to run hard, but it was too early, and I knew that I had to wait to run hard.  I knew that I could run hard, but I also knew that I had to wait until the right time.  The other feeling was noticing other runners.  Every time I caught myself thinking about how I was doing WRT the people near me, I forced myself to stop.  I did this by remembering and belaboring the thought that I was running this race by myself for myself.  I was not running against anyone else;  I was running against myself.  It was the patient, focused, associated self running against the immature, impulsive, dissociated self.  I wanted the former to win.  This helped me keep associated and focused on running MY race.  I didn't care about anyone else.  There might not have been anyone else there.  Aside from the MMC guys that took off from me at about 3 miles, and the MMC woman I glimpsed at 5 miles, there was no one else I knew in the race.  As far as I was concerned, I was running alone, against myself, and this helped me concentrate.  And I needed to concentrate to run the right race, which meant, in this segment, slow and easy.  The thing that amazed me was that I was totally within myself, running what I perceived to be very easy, and still crossed the 5 mile mark, end of segment 1, at 7:25 pace.  And still, when I look down, it looks like somebody else's legs carrying me along.  Mine don't have muscle definition, do they?

The next segment I planned to pick up effort a little, and allow myself to breathe 3-3, which is the most natural and easiest for me.  I still had to resist the sometimes urge I felt to bump it up to 3-2.  Sometimes when I lost concentration on this, either due to listening to music provided, or just through mental exhaustion of counting steps, I would return from whatever distraction it was and find myself running 3-2.  The I would slow myself down and positively reaffirm the intelligence and maturity of my decision to run a patient race.  I had run many long (20+) training runs, and I am comfortable running 4 hours.  I knew this wouldn't require that much patience, but that I must be patient and continue to focus and succeed in running this segment at the proper perceived effort.  I continued to hear my pace time every mile, but that merely provided a curiosity.  I wanted to run this race at a particular perceived effort, no matter what the pace turned out to be.  It's easy for me to say that now, since the pace turned out, also, to be what I wanted it to be.  I think I would have been strong enough to continue my strategy even if I were running slower than I needed to to qualify, but we'll never know that for sure.  I heard my pace times, and my thought was "That's nice.  I can't quite believe that I, Greg Farnham, am running at that pace and feeling this comfortable about it, but I'm not going to stop and interrogate the pace-callers.  I am running at the perceived effort I want to run at.  I must get used to the idea that I can run this fast (or faster) and feel this comfortable.  But I must run this segment at this perceived effort.  If the pace continues, fine.  If it doesn't, it's still more important to run at the planned perceived effort than it is to run in reaction to pace time."

After all, the important part of the race was the part I was running at that moment, not what I had already run.  The pace (or split) times pertained to the running that was in the past, and there is nothing that could be done about that.  The important part of the race was the part that I was running at that moment, and that was the part I needed to concentrate on.  That meant sticking to my plan - running the perceived effort planned for the segment.

I started getting Powerade at mile 6, and got some every other mile thereafter, which was every time it was available.  Since I still felt I had some liquid in my bladder, I neglected getting water at the odd miles.  This turned out to be a crucial mistake, I think.  Several times I tried to void myself while running, but I couldn't.  I was afraid ingesting more water would make me more uncomfortable, and since I was only slightly uncomfortable, I decided to bear with it but avoid additional water.  After all, I was getting the Powerade every 15 minutes.

I went by 10 miles at 7:25 pace, and thought "How curious!".  The next segment contained the halfway point, although I tried not to think in those terms.  I had planned a 5 segment race, and I wanted to think about only the segment I was in for the entire segment.  I had a few stray thoughts, but mostly I managed to concentrate on this strategy.  This way, I didn't need to compare how I felt against and entire marathon, only a 5-mile segment.  Each segment had its planned perceived effort, and the plan held water, so it was only necessary to run the plan.  The third segment was another 3-3 segment.  It was harder to concentrate on this than in the second segment, because it was the same pace, and I knew it was closer to the finish.  Therefore there was more tendency to speed up.  I continued to force myself to run easy enough to be comfortable breathing 3-3.

I admit to looking for the halfway point.  I was distracted by thinking that I would have a new half-marathon PR to write down.  My one criticism of the race administration is that the halfway point was unmarked.  I remember very little about the course, but I remember the 13 mile mark was at the top of one of the longest and highest "hills" on the course.  This must have been a bridge over an interstate - these bridges, or the return from a tunnel underneath an interstate, were the only "hills" on the course.  Anyway, I saw the 13 mile mark, and began looking for the halfway mark.  We then turned a corner to the right, and ran quite a while before I realized they must not have a halfway marker.  Turned out they didn't, and it doesn't matter all that much.

One other distraction to report was that for the first 18 miles or so, everyone who saw me coming hollered out "Way to go, Superman!"  I expected this kind of reaction and encouragement from the female spectators, after all, they're only human.  I was a little puzzled by this reaction from the male spectators.  Until about 18 miles I caught a guy wearing blue tights I'd been 10 yards behind the entire way, and noticed he had a superman emblem on his blue tee-shirt.  Then I realized the male spectators must have been yelling for him.  Anyway, it was pretty nice hearing all those women hollering "Go Superman!!!" when I ran by.

I ran by the end of segment 3, still at 7:25 pace.  This is where I planned to up my tempo to 3-2 breathing.  This pattern requires a little more concentration to force, although sometimes I find it's just the right pattern for the tempo.  This day, I was trying to stay with a plan, and the plan here called for 3-2.  This is 3 steps of exhaling and 2 of inhaling.  Running at this effort, I feel like I can fill my lungs in 2 steps.  Exhaling seems to naturally take longer.  I also sometimes feel like it's really a 2-2-1 pattern, where you inhale 2, exhale 2, and your breathing apparatus is allowed to rest for 1 step.  Some I associate that 1 rest step with exhaling, probably because that was the last thing I did.  Anyway, the danger with this pattern is that it's really easy to allow yourself to skip into 2-2 breathing.  And I didn't want to breather that hard for 10 miles - I wanted to save that for the last segment.  So I tried to breathe 3-2.  This is also a harder pattern to count if there's music (or any loud sound).  I don't remember much more about this segment.  I remember noting from the pace times that I was slowing.  I was also thinking about how I had Boston qualification in the bag, and had won the coffee bet at work by achieving goals 1-4.  This may sound like premature overconfidence, because that's exactly what it was.  I think my pace was down to 7:27 at 18 miles, and thinking that was 18*10 = 180 seconds of buffer.  Then my pace was 7:30 at 20 miles, or 20*7 = 140 seconds of buffer.  I did not panic, feeling that I still had over 2 minutes to spare.  But I did think at one point, passing a row of portacans, that one pee stop would use up that much at least, and I was glad I hadn't stopped earlier.

Segment five was supposed to be very hard effort, and turned out that way.  My breathing was finally allowed to go "all out" at 2-2.  I kept noticing the miles seemed further apart (timewise) and my pace continued to slacken.  I also was getting Powerade at every mile.  Just past the 23 mile mark, I got a very painful stitch in my right abdomen.  I've had these before, and they don't cause me to panic, but they do hurt.  I kept going, trying to wait this one out, which usually works for me.  It hung in there, and then I was at the 24 mile mark.  Just past this mark, there was another, ever-so-slight uphill.  And as soon as I was into that, I got a cramp in my right hamstring.  I have pulled hamstrings before, and I know the sensation.  This wasn't a pull , but it felt a lot like one.  I did start to panic a little, but I cautioned myself to relax.  I was afraid I'd have to walk, and lose my chance at Boston.  I found a way to run with my right leg stiff, so I didn't have to bend it.  This was at  least a running pace, but I had slowed a great deal, and I was pretty sure I would miss qualifying by a slim margin.  After what was probably a tenth of a mile, but felt like half, I was able to begin bending my right leg again.  This is when I knew it was a cramp, not a pull, and I began working again.  Then came the 25 mile mark.  The pace was 7:37, exactly what I needed for Boston.  And my next thought was "Oh sh__ there goes my right hamstring again."  And again I had to run a quarter mile stiff legged.  A group of 8-10 runners went by me here, another slight uphill, and I heard a female in the group say something about poor me, with only this far left to go.  That seemed to make the cramp disappear, and I was pushing hard again.  I didn't know if I could still qualify, but I knew I didn't have far to go, less than a mile.  My strategy was to be sprinting here, getting anaerobic.  And I tried.  And then the left hamstring let go.  I thought.  Turned out to be a cramp just like the right one.  And it lasted until nearly the 26 mile mark.  Then I did start sprinting.  I heard Bob yelling at me about there, and that made me run even faster.  Now I could see the finish line clock.  I was over 3:20, but not by much.  I stopped my watch at 3:20:42.56, and I think the official results will show me at 3:20:43.

My first emotion was extreme joy at being done, and having run such a great race for me.  I went inside and downed 3 cups of Powerade.  Bob caught up with me and by now I was hobbling.  We ambled to pickup my bag, and I went to the bathroom.  Very clear, indicating no dehydration, although Noakes says hamstring cramps are a sign of dehydration.  Then I got 2 bananas and sat down at the team table.  I put on a dry shirt, and Bob and I went and got some bean chili, egg rolls, and raisins.  Every time I ate something, I got to feeling nauseous.  Then I'd wait 15 minutes and feel very hungry again.  Then eat, and feel sick again.  After about 30 minutes, we walked to the hotel.

I was pretty sure at that point that my foot injury was a symptom of over training.  Although it is now only 40 hours after finishing the race (3:50 a.m., Tuesday the 17th) and I am sure additional symptoms and injuries are bound to appear throughout the next week to month, my current thinking, is, that it was overstraining.  I thought this because at the end of the race, in the chute, both feet hurt exactly the same.  The pain is along the outside edge of the sole, where I seem to bear all my weight, whether running or walking.  The balls of my feet are completely painless.  The outside edges feel bruised and very sore.  Cathy told me last night there are red lines the length of both feet.  This is what is hurting the most yesterday and today.  Although my calves feel very tight and stiff, and my quads very a great deal, the sorest part so far are the soles of my feet.  And I do admit that the right foot is a little more tender than the left.  

I think it's possible that the right foot showed the symptoms first, and currently more severely, because the right foot had suffered tendonitis (or possibly a stress fracture).  I think this previous injury may have caused the right foot to suffer the overuse strains earlier than the left, and this may be what I have been fighting for the last month or so.  In any case, I hope so.  Everything I'm reading and all my coaches indicate I tend to over train and it wouldn't be a surprise if some overuse symptoms were present.  But I won't have to worry about that for the next week, at least.

After the race, and a shower, Bob and I walked to the corporate award ceremony, which took us awhile to find.  We eventually did, and they had a nice feed.  Red beans and rice, shrimp Creole, corn bread with chitlins, and pastries.  They also had results.  I took 7th place in my age group.  Bob took 5th in his, and 11th overall.  I was 67th overall.  MMC had 14 points and took 4th place.  GE had 5 points and took 2nd to AT&T with 4 points.  USWest took third.  We then walked back to the hotel and relaxed while watching the Cowboys lose to S.F.  Bob then crashed and asked me to wake him when I was hungry.  I didn't think I'd ever be hungry again, so I took a hot bath and read.  About 8:30 I went down to inquire about restaurants.  The only decent ones at that hour on Sunday night required a cab ride.  I woke Bob up and said we could get a cab and go out to eat barbecue, he started getting up.  Then we decided to order Pizza Hut delivery and stay in.  We ordered two large pizzas, even though I said I could never eat an entire large myself.  But I did.  Bob ate half of another one.

After all that running and all that pigging out, you'd think I'd be able to sleep.  But I had to read myself to sleep, and I woke up every hour to hobble to the bathroom to pee.  Finally, after about 4 hours of sleep, I woke at 4:20 and decided to stop wasting my time, and I read until 6, when the alarm woke Bob.  We checked out and headed for the airport.  We got back to Syracuse about 2:15, where Tom picked us up and brought us to the plant where the car was.  I got to bed about 10 and slept until 12:30, but I've been typing this ever since then.  I'm not sleepy, and today it's not related to pain.

My feet feel a little less sore today, so I think I'll take the dog out for a walk.  After all, it's dark out and no one will see me hobbling!

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