''It hurt real bad,'' said Tim Ryan. But it did some real good.
The congressman, always an advocate for U.S. troops, took his support for soldiers a step further, literally, on May 20 by running the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon to raise money for ''Project Welcome Home Troops,'' which helps troops returning to the U.S. transition back to daily life.
He raised a few thousand bucks to bring the program to Ohio. Right now, it's only in Wisconsin, he said.
Taught over a six-day course, the Power Breath Workshop teaches veterans breathing exercises and stretching techniques to reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia.
''It is getting them in some instances off their medication,'' Ryan said. ''You have vets that are sleeping through the night now when they haven't slept through the night in a couple of years. It basically helps recallibrate their nervous system.''
He's trying to raise enough money for at least 20 soldiers to participate. At a cost of $250 each, that's $5,000. It would be taught in August by a woman in Cleveland who has been trained by the organization, Ryan said.
''We don't want them to pay anything,'' he said. ''We want them to just come.''
Ryan, a casual runner, was talked into running the Mill Creek Challenge, a half-marathon, a few months back by his brother.
''I just figured if I'm ever going to run in a marathon, now is going to be the time - I'm halfway home. So then I decided to do it,'' said Ryan, D-Niles.
And being impressed by the work of Project Welcome Home Troops, he decided to raise money for the program with the run.
Ryan said the 26.2-mile run was more difficult than he thought it would be. He and his brother, Allen, trained in cooler weather - one day it was snowing - but on race day, the sun was blazing and temperatures were up in the mid to high 80s.
Still, he finished under his goal of five hours. With a time of 4:55:50, he finished 1,768th overall. Among men, he was 1,191, and in the men's age group 35 to 39, Ryan was 228th. Allen finished one second behind.
In comparison, Ryan's sister-in-law ran circles around the brothers. She finished more than an hour ahead of the two and according to Ryan, when he and Allen returned to their hotel room, she was already cleaned up and on her computer.
About 20,000 runners were registered for the race.
For more information on the organization and the breathing workshop in Youngstown, visit projectwelcomehometroops.org.
Also last Sunday, Ryan was honored by the Mahoning Valley Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame by being named the organization's 2012 Man of the Year.
He is the 23rd person to be selected in the 26 years the organization has been active. A banquet to recognize Ryan and the organization's 2012 scholarship recipients was held at McMenamy's in Niles.