To anticipate, commemorate, celebrate, and embrace turning the ripe young age of 50 this year, I have decided to embark on a 50 mile journey. No, I am not going to do a 50 mile run, that would probably kill me, or at the very least leave me with bloody stumps for feet. I have decided to complete (run, walk, or crawl) 50 race miles this year. My journey began Superbowl Sunday at the "Surf City Half Marathon" in Huntington Beach.
I knew I wasn't going to break any records. Come on, my Dr. didn't even release me to run until beginning of December! When I registered I listed an estimated finish time of 4 hours. My estimated time put me at the back of the pack. While waiting for our turn to start I was looking around checking out the other "Back of the Packers" Geeze, a bunch of overweight white women. Eeeks! That's me!
Note to self, no matter how cool I think it would be to get an ankle tattoo, it is not attractive on the kankle of a middle aged white woman. I can only hope that if I ever get a wild hair up my a*s and think it would be a good idea, someone, friend or family will be the voice of reason and talk me out of it. You have my permission to tie me up and hold me captive till I come to my senses.
First wave started at 7:45am....us back of the packers didn't cross the start line until well after 8 am. My goal was to walk the first 5 or 6 miles and then begin to run like a gazelle to the finish line. I accomplished my first goal.....I walked the first 5 miles. Stopped for a quick pee at the port-a-potty. Yippee!, no lines at the back of the pack, uh, no toilet paper either. Another quick stop at the First Aid tent for some mole skin.....walking causes much more friction on the balls of your feet than running!
And I'm off------ok, no gazelle here, (and to be brutally honest there have been a number of occasions that a running buddy has looked at me huffing and puffing, red faced and perspiring, and asked "are you ok?"....gawd). I did follow my plan and consistently ran for one minute and walked two for the next 5 miles. The absolute beauty of starting in the back of the pack is that every person with the exception of 2 rouge run/walkers that I passed, I never saw again. Can't catch this gazelle!
At mile 10ish, I switched my intervals to run 1 minute walk 1. Wow, was I passing them now! See ya later back of the packers! Mile 10 is usually when you realize, wow, I'm gonna do it. I am going to accomplish something that without determination, training and sheer will, I would not otherwise be able to do. I'm alive, and I'm doing it. It can be a very emotional mile. I choose to keep my music in my ears to distract me from becoming an emotional wreak.
I finished in 3 hours, 11 minutes and 17 seconds, way better then my original estimate of 4 hours. If I hadn't had to stop for that mole skin I probably could have finished in 3:09 or less!
So nice to spend the morning with my running buddies and see them at the finish, and to hear them say "You did it!"
Leaving the race I noticed the same older gentleman I had seen on the course, one of the "back of the packers" that I passed in my zeal to finish strong. I had wished at the time I could stop and talk to him. He had a sign pinned to his back, it said something like:
January 2010 Lung Cancer
March 2010 Lung Surgery
February 2011 Surf City Half Marathon
"I like your sign" I told him, "this time last year I was undergoing chemo". He told me it was his daughter's idea, she was walking with him. I told him I liked the angry tone, sometimes a little bit of anger isn't necessarily a bad thing.
13.1 race miles down, 36.9 to go.