Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snapshot of a race.

The sea of humanity pre-race.
I haven't done this before, and I think it's high time I do. I may not be the fastest runner but I like to think I get more out of it than those solely motivated by the clock. I keep my eyes and my mind wide open while I run. I have gotten inspiration while pounding the pavement more than once.

Today, while running the world's largest 8K (about 5 miles) race, with a field of 4,000 runners, I realized how many fun moments are involved in every race I've been in, but how few I end up remembering. So I decided that I will try to record a few things that stand out in my mind with every race I run this year. Here goes.

While waiting for the race to begin in my assigned start corral, I let my gaze wander over my fellow runners. I saw a group of women with pink t-shirts emblazoned with the name of a suburb "Hot Moms" and a cartoon mom with a baby in one arm and a martini in the other. What a fun-looking group that was! Another fun group I saw was a quartet of young men clad in green tights, green body paint, and green Afro wigs. Looking at the pictures from this race in years past, I realized they have been showing up like this at least for the past two years.

On the race course, I saw several small children with signs reading "Go Mommy!" and a man dressed exactly like Will Ferrell's character in the SNL Blue Oyster Cult sketch ("More cowbell!") complete with a cowbell, that made me smile.

Running through the city is always fun, as it's the only chance you can get to run at speed without worrying about traffic signals and cars. Every time we ran through an underpass tunnel, many runners couldn't resist shouting to hear their own voices echo back. Many of these passes had bridge railings filled with well-wishers rattling noisemakers, ringing bells or just clapping and cheering. Every one of their efforts was appreciated.

Also, many thanks to God for preventing the earlier-predicted thunderstorm and providing a welcome cool breeze at the perfect moments to revive me when I had been running in unaccustomed heat and humidity longer than I liked.

Finally, after the heartbreaking last hill (WHY???), turning the corner and seeing the finish line was priceless. I was so happy to find something left to kick into high gear and pass another 10 or so runners at the end. I was also pleased to beat my old time by 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Hopefully my dedication to training will continue to pay off through the rest of this year and result in my finishing the marathon in 5 hours. We shall see.

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