Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So many people

Yesterday I ran the Philadelphia 1/2 marathon.  Here's how the day went.
  Woke up at 1 am. Not on purpose. Pre-race nerves.  If I haven't mentioned it before, I am very competitive.  Couldn't go back to sleep so I Face booked for an hour.  Finally got sleepy again around 2 am and went back to bed.  Got up again at 4 am.  This time on purpose.  I had to eat my pre-race meal. A pbj and a coke. A coke you say?  Of course.  I love the stuff and can't live without it.  I've tried and things don't go well at home or anywhere else for that matter. This meal doesn't upset my stomach when running.  Took a hot shower trying to warm up the ageing bones and got dressed. It was only 37 degrees outside so I wore running tights, shorts and 2 long sleeve shirts. One cotton and one wicking over the cotton.  Didn't work, I was still cold. At 5 am the rest of the house started to move around.  We spent the weekend with Tony and Ivette and they were kind enough to drive me and Char to the race and then wait till I got finished to take us home again.  Thanks guys.  When we got there the lines to the Port O Potties were really long, so I just stood there and waited my turn. For a while, it didn't look like I would make the start of the race, but it all worked out. I did have to start from the coral behind the one that I should have.  That means another 1000 people or so between me and the finish line. Corals are staged, based on your predicted time of finish.  The faster you are the closer to the front you get to start. That way you should be running with people of the same speed.  The problem is that most people apparently don't know how fast or (slow) they really are, so their predicted finish time is way off.  All these events are electronically timed with a chip either on your shoe or on your number bib, so it really doesn't matter when you cross the start line. The best part about starting with slower people is that you get to pass a lot during the event. But the first couple miles really kill your overall time because there are wall to wall people and the only way to pass everyone is to run from side to side and squeeze in between all the humanity.  Tried that last month in the Army 10 miler in D.C. and my Garmin said I ran an extra 1/4 of a mile.  So I tried to be patient. Not my strong suit. The first water stop was around the 2 mile mark.  I ran thru most of it and got lucky by catching the last person handing out Gator aid. Probably passed 100 people but I was already down 2.5 min from where I wanted to be. The next water stop was at about 3.5 miles. I ran all the way thru and the traffic started to open up speed without running people over. By mile 4 I was really picking up the pace.  Keep in mind that while I am picking up the pace, the winner of the race was running 4 minutes per mile faster than I would run all day. Must be nice. But we should always use what God has given us to the best of our ability, and I was. I knew I was running to hard trying to make up the lost time, but again, if we don't push ourselves every now and then, how will we know what we can really do.  I got a drink at mile 5 and thought that if the course stayed this flat I could break the 2 hr mark.
    Wish full thinking. I think that between mile 6 and 8 there were 2 bridges to go up and down.  Now I usually slow down on purpose on hills to save energy.  Not today. By time I topped the second bridge both my legs and lungs were on fire.  Got more to drink around the 8 mile mark and working very hard.  I knew I was going to be in trouble soon.  So what do I do? I did what I always do.  "I turned my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, The maker of heaven and earth".  I sang this as a chant in time with my foot steps. The singing was in my head because I was breathing to hard to make words.  But I am still catching the clock. Somewhere between mile 9 and 10 was the world longest hill. Not really, but it seemed that way.  About half way up, a very thin woman went bounding by saying "just say the hills are our friends and everything will be OK!  I said " I don't think so Tim" but she never heard me, because I still couldn't make words. Back to the chant.  After the road flattened out for a while we got to go down.  Yea!!!  I let gravity pull me down as fast as I dare to try and pick up the time lost going up.  Got my last drink at mile 11.  The time on my watch told me that if I was going to break 2 hrs today I was going to have to pass an Army 2 mile PT run for a man 30 years younger than me.  There was only one thing to do.
  HOO AH!!! This was now at the end of every chant and I started to pick up the pace. At mile 12 I stumbled and almost went down. I've seen people go down before and it's not pretty on the asphalt.  Mile 12.5 I manage to get out some words.  I'm yelling at my legs not to stop. Like they can hear, right. Another woman hears me and says "come on buddy your almost there". I'm thinkin, Buddy! That's not my name.  But I have a good friend that has the name Buddy and he can't run any more. So I'll run the last 1/2 mile for him.  Now I can see the finish line and I know that with just a little more effort I can do it. I cross the finish in 1:59:55 PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
   It's actually Tuesday already. It took me 2 days to write this.  I'm still a little sore, but was able to get in an easy 3 mile run after work today.  Now it's time to eat and then go Bowling.  More on that later.
  The whole time I ran the race Sunday, in between chants and everything else that was going on, I was thinking about how I would write this.  So thanks to all of you for helping me.  And a big thanks to God, that I can still do this stuff.

Have a great life, and God Bless  

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