Monday, September 19, 2011

It Was a Good Run...

The moment my alarm clock went off, I was hit with those all-too-familiar butterflies.

The rush came on as I stepped out of my bed and began to Glide and dress.  It was Run Day.
When running a half, I typically find myself in the middle of the pack.  I'll never be the fastest, and it's always been my deepest fear to be the last.  Yet with this race, I expected to be towards the end of the pack.  I was 6 weeks off shoulder reconstruction, hadn't run more than 6 miles since, and it was a pack of less than 250 people.  I was actually in fear of being the last person.  Surprisingly, that didn't keep me away.  I just wanted to go out and be there.  My rule for the race...Have Fun or Stop changed when I saw a quote from the amazing, wonderful, inspirational Dean Karnazes:

Run when you can,
Walk when you have to,
Crawl if you must,

The first three miles went beautifully, which is a gift, considering the fact that the first three miles were straight up one hill, then another, and then another long climb.  It was at mile 6 I began to hit the wall.  I remember seeing the mile 6 sign thinking, "oh yippee, less than half way done."  But I was still enjoying myself.  My music was great, the volunteers were wonderfully motivating, and it was just great being out on a course.   My mojo was severely cut at mile 10 when I reached up for a cup of water and my shoulder refused to cooperate.  It was frozen.  I was in severe pain.  It was getting really hot out there.  But I managed to grab the water, down it, and truck on.  I did a lot of walking from 10 to 12.5.  
At mile 10.8 I made friends with a first timer.  As I passed Shawn, I noticed his feet were badly pronating and that his knees were bowing.  Shortly after I passed him, I heard him make some unpleasant noises.  So I immediately stopped.  I looked at his feet and noticed his shoes.  Really, dude?  After I found out how he'd gone to Dick's to pick up a generic pair of running sneakers, I gave him the "If you want to be a runner..." speech.  He promised me to invest the time into a proper shoe fitting, and I also talked to him about IT Band stretching (use your pool noodles, people!) and soleus stretching.  After I pepped him up a bit, I picked up my pace, and as I ran off, I shouted Dean's quote to him, guaranteeing him that I will wait for him at the finish. 

From that point on, I really just enjoyed chatting it up with the other "slow folks" and cheering them on.  Mile 10-13.1 sucks for any first timer.  You think you're "so close" but it's really a battle of wills to get you to that finish.  I finally crossed the finish line and joined my friends in my celebration.  At that point we waited at the finish to cheer the final finishers, including one of our friends, a first timer, and by shoe buddy, Shawn.
While I wasn't the last person to cross the finish line that day, my friend was.  This first timer really inspired me, motivated me, and taught me a lot about tenacity.  It takes guts to be that last person.  She could have bowed out, taken a police man up on his offer for a ride.  But she fought the battle between body and mind.  The battle in which your body just wants to, begs to give up.  She won.  And she should be very, very proud of herself today. 

Me...far from setting a PR, I did meet my goal of having FUN, and remembered why I do, after all, enjoy getting up at 6 a.m. to torture my body.

My legs, shoulders, and back are killing me today....and I liiiiiiike it!

  This was at the start line.  A little bit of sad.  A little bit of encouragement.  A lot of reflection.