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Maile, wife give new meaning to 'long distance'

Rays catcher cheers on Paige as she runs first marathon @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Maile and his wife, Paige, celebrated their first anniversary in a less-than-conventional manner. On Nov. 1, she ran 26.2 miles though the five boroughs of New York.

Meanwhile, the Rays catcher watched.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Maile and his wife, Paige, celebrated their first anniversary in a less-than-conventional manner. On Nov. 1, she ran 26.2 miles though the five boroughs of New York.

Meanwhile, the Rays catcher watched.

"It was great. New York City was a blast," Luke said. "It was right during the World Series. The Mets were actually hosting Game 5, it was a Sunday. And you wouldn't have even known it. The city was just encapsulated by the whole marathon deal. There were so many people there, it was outstanding."

Luke and Paige live in Boston, where she works as a mechanical engineer. Given the fact that Luke moved back and forth between Triple-A Durham and the Major Leagues in 2015, they are a couple who understands a long-distance relationship.

"Yes, it's always been hard," Paige said. "We started dating right after I graduated high school and he was in summer, fall ball after his freshman year of college and we met in my hometown. And we've really been doing long distance ever since.

"He went and did his degree at the University of Kentucky and I did mine up at Worcester Polytechnic [WPI in Worcester, Mass.]. So the long-distance thing is something that I guess we can say we're used to. And we've learned to deal with it."

Running distances brought a challenge to Paige, who was a volleyball player and dancer at Amsterdam High School in Amsterdam, N.Y.

"I just kind of picked it up this spring to get in shape for the summer," she said. "I signed up for a half marathon; that was the first race I'd ever run.

"That was in August. So leading up to that -- sometime in July, I started feeling like I'm doing all this training now, I might as well keep going and doing a full one because I thought it would be something cool to accomplish. Something I always thought I'd like to do, but never really thought I could handle it or be able to."

Given the couple's time apart, a marathon seemed a perfect fit for Paige.

"It was something that definitely kept me occupied," Paige said. "Every day I had a run that I had to do. A goal that was set. That kept me on a path to where I had something to look forward to every day and make sure I got my run in. And when I had some of those really long runs during the weekdays, I could watch a baseball game while I was on the treadmill. It was always fun to come off a run and know I ran for the length of a baseball game."

Paige's training impressed Luke.

"The training is a time-consuming deal, pretty much her entire weekend," Luke said. "At least three hours a day was going toward training and then during the week while working on top of that."

Paige called "the mental thing" the hardest part.

"Anybody who asks me about running a marathon, I tell them it's the hardest mental thing I've ever done," Paige said. "The last four miles when your body is telling you to quit, you just have to kind of dig deep and tell yourself that you can finish it."

Paige allowed that the conditions for this year's New York Marathon were "perfect" with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s.

"So you can't ask for anything else," she said. "The energy in New York City is amazing. I think there were about a million spectators and 50,000 people running."

One of the race's highlight's came at mile 18 where Luke, along with her family and friends, watched.

"Approaching that, I was so excited to see him and my family and friends," she said. "Really a great atmosphere. Fans on every corner and people cheering you on."

The Bronx proved to be her favorite borough to run through.

"They probably had the fewest number of people, but the energy there was definitely the highest energy for sure," she said.

She hit a wall during the final four miles of the race, but still managed to finish her first marathon in a time of 4 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds.

"I can't really complain," she allowed. "About 10-minute miles."

Luke noted that his wife paid the price with her training to run in the race, but surmised, "It was all worth it."

"Just watching her cross the finish line and talking to her afterward," Luke said. "I couldn't be more proud of her. It was definitely a special time for both of us."

Luke's profession behind the plate is physically demanding. Yet he knows how the rigors of his profession rank compared with the pursuit of running a marathon.

"It's not even close," he said. "I just couldn't imagine putting so much time into something that's so monotonous. One foot in front of the other.

"As a baseball player, we're pretty lucky. Our training is pretty goal-specific. You either hit or you don't. You catch it or you don't. And with [a marathon], it's pick one foot up and put it in front of the other for an extended amount of time. Impressive."

Paige chuckled when asked if she planned to run another marathon.

"I think I'm going to have to forget about it for a couple of years and then somebody will probably talk me into another one," she said. "The feeling of crossing the finish line is the best feeling in the world, so it might be worth it to do another one at some point."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Luke Maile