Sunday, November 27, 2005

Run to the Far Side

A guy walks into a doctor's office, punching himself in the head. The doctor looks up and asks him,"Hey, why are you doing that?" The guy replies, "Because it feels so good when I stop."
That, in a nutshell, is how I feel about running a 10 kilometer race. I ran one this morning, and I'm still feeling a little wobbly. Still, the best part about it was crossing the finish line. There's always a moment, usually in the first half of the race when I start thinking about walking. Who's it going to hurt, after all?
This year in mile one I started out with a friend of mine who had a much faster pace than I, and I fell quickly into the pack as he sped away. Left with the sound of the thundering herd of Sunday runners, I returned to the solace of my MP3 player. As the up-tempo beat of Oingo Boingo filled my ears, I felt my own pace quicken and began to wonder what everyone else was listening to - Ipods to the left of me, Ipods to the right of me - were the faster people listening to better music?
In mile two I started to feel the sweat building under my second layer and I considered pulling off my sweat shirt (as the term was by then completely applicable). That was about the time a very rude person decided that he needed to move his car off the race course just as my group was coming past. Happily he managed only to rouse the ire of the crowd and did not crush anyone underneath his vehicle.
Mile three was all about the math of ten kilometers. Ten kilometers is 6.2 miles, therefore each kilometer is .62 miles. How many kilometer is three miles? That would be 9.6. If I ran that far in under thirty minutes, could I still manage to finish the race in less than an hour. Happily, there was a water station and I concentrated on the fluids rather than mathematics for a few hundred yards.
By the time I reached the fourth mile, I began imagining my wife and son finishing their own five kilometer race. Would they be waiting for me at the finish line, or could I get there before them? The sun was out now and I felt good about moving past people younger than me who had every right to be faster than me, but I was ahead of them. This was mitigated by the jogging strollers that rolled past me on the left.
I was able to push myself a little harder in mile five, since I rationalized that I was now only running two more miles, and what was I going to do with all that energy the rest of the day anyway? It was about this time that I noticed a stream of runners walking back from the finish line. They were done. I was still on the course. How much longer?
When I passed the mile five marker, I looked up and saw the clock hanging over the finish line. I tried to imagine just how far I still had to run, even though the end was in sight. There was a big loop still ahead, a full mile and two-tenths taking me back to the finish. I saw the guy who was dressed as a bottle of ketchup who had passed me in mile one just ahead of me. I could still beat a bottle of ketchup.
When I passed under the finish line, the clock read one hour, three minutes. I didn't manage to beat my one hour goal, but I was close. I lost track of the ketchup bottle, but I noticed there was at least one jogging stroller behind me. I wandered off into the crowd to find my family.


freethoughtguy said...

Nice recap! I did the Far Side run too. Amazing how those runners pushing baby strollers whiz by us, huh?

freethoughtguy said...

PS ~ Check out my own blog post for some RTTFS photos!

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed!