Run Eyeguy! Run!

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama.

–Forrest Gump.

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

-Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire

At yesterday’s Mercedes Benz Marathon Day in Birmingham, Alabama, I finished 35 minutes ahead of this guy:


Well, okay, he did run 26.2 miles as opposed to my 13.1, but let’s get picky why don’t we?

A half-marathon is not quite “clear across Alabama,” but throw in a hilly course and frosty temperatures (29 degrees at the start, 33 at the finish) and I can assure you that at times it felt like it. My 1:55:38 in the event was pretty pedestrian by running standards, but well within my goal of finishing in under 2 hours; well within my goal of finishing, period. Still, I was pleased with my effort that put me in the 70th percentile or so of all those who ran the race (over 2400 runners), and the experience left me hungry to shave a few more minutes off my time the next time out.

Of course, it’s really not about being fast anymore. Seriously. It’s about the movement. It’s about a little pride in doing something that not that many other people can do. It’s about running for “the health of it” and hopefully keeping the Reaper at bay just a little while longer. It’s about feeling God’s pleasure in my bones (although I will admit to feeling a little of his wrath this morning in my quads). That 7:09 mile coming down the backside of Red Mountain at mile 10 felt, after all, downright heavenly.

It’s also about cool goodies like free water bottles, t-shirts and finishers medals such as this one:


Whether one ran, walked or crawled across the finish line, everyone who completed the race received one of these hood ornaments. I shudder to think how many luxury sedans had to be sacrificed to make that possible.

My question to a race organizer yesterday was: Wasn’t there something else that was supposed to come with this?

His response: Run Eyeguy! Run!

  1. Ed

    Congrats – we briefly discussed your event at the beginning of class . Noticed something going on in our neck of the woods Sunday afternoon. The numerous police cars and hundreds of runners were the first clues that tipped me off. They went right below our house.

    I know this is a significant milestone event for you and wish you many more. I hope to get rolling on the bike soon and complete a century ride later in the summer.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Pedal, Ed! Pedal!

  3. Jon

    BIG kuddos to you Mike. Good luck on the next milestone.

  4. Scott


  5. Stoogelover

    Good for you! If I were to run a half marathon, they’d have to measure the time in days. Or I could do like Jesse Jackson does at a major march … just show up at the finish line minutes before it concludes and give the appearance of having finished the course. But I wouldn’t want to do anything like JJ.

  6. Jason Bybee

    Awesome, Mike. Congrats. I’m envious….just started running last week only to be reminded who grossly out of shape I am. But your post inspires me.

    So, what are you gonna do with the hood ornament?

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the kind words.

    SL, it would be hard for even JJ to get around computerized chip timing. Basically, you wear a chip on your shoe and are “logged in” at certain points on the course which makes it a lot harder to cut corners and cheat.

    Jason, Gracie the Wonderdog, who has a real weakness for bright, shiny doodads, already has dibs on it.

  8. Hal

    Congrats. My knees feel every bit of the 5 miles I ran yesterday. I can’t imagine running 13. HOOAH!

  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey, five a day keeps the doctor away. I just like going longer because then I have an excuse for going slower. Plus, I’m better the longer I go (up to a point); there’s no way that I would finish in the top 30% in your typical 5 or 10K.

    My next goal is to take my half-marathon pace from yesterday and “go the distance (26.2).” That’s going to take some time and work, but I’m up for it.

  10. Brady

    There’s a 20K race here at the end of April. About 500 feet of altitude change. You’d like it. And you NEVER know what the weather will be like.

    To consider…

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yesterday’s course had almost 400 feet of elevation change. Sounds like just the kind of race that that 1:40ish wife of yours would enjoy.

    As for me…

  12. Laurie

    Congrats! This is quite an accomplishment. My joints don’t hold up to running (aside from the once-a-week soccer game on cushy turf,) so I’m a bit jealous that you can do this. Particularly on days like today when I’m really feeling my age. I’ll just live vicariously through reading your posts.

  13. Mike the Eyeguy

    “I’ll just live vicariously through reading your posts.”

    Dangerous at best, Laurie. Be careful.

  14. JRB

    What? Surely all day long, you’re not going to miss Duke falling out of the Top 25 for the first time since Reconstruction, are you?

    Surely not.

    Go ‘Dores.

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    Ah, I knew you people would start crawling out of the woodwork. Congrats on being the first one, JRB!

  16. Brady

    Wife has decided against the 20 K so early in the season. She runs the 10 now and the .5 marathon in October. I still watch, and admire. It’s fun to watch you guys who LOVE to run. We others just do it because we have to.

  17. Carolinagirl

    Mike the Eyeguy,

    If you’ve never ran a full Marathon, you ought to try it. The accomplishment is twice the feeling of completing a 1/2.

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    Okay, Brady has an excuse for being up this early, but Carolinagirl and I are obviously dealing with some serious insomnia!

    Brady, I’m betting that Wife could pick up and do 20 K now, but I understand, probably better than most, the need to pace one’s self.

    Carolinagirl, I did one 10 years ago in 4:08. I was doing 3:50 pace through 20 miles and hit the wall like a bug on a windshield.

    Yes, I will go the distance again. And I plan to be sub-4 this time around. But again, to finish is to win, regardless of time.

    I notice that you’ve been doing a bit or marathoning yourself. Nice work. Run Carolinagirl! Run!

  19. Jeff Slater

    Congrats, Mike.

    I will always remember my 1:51 half-marathon in 1995. I still want to do a full marathon (I will not feel complete until I do). Perhaps helping my son get in shape for Cross Country will spur me on.

  20. Mike the Eyeguy

    It’s not too late. Join me.

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