Just Write 12 ~ Running through the mind of a 1/2 marathoner

By | April 9, 2013 5:19 am | 0 Comments

 

 

Saturday, April 6 — Goddard State Park

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9:54 a.m. — “I think we better get over to the start line,” I say to Dan. Warmed by the sun streaming through the car windows, we’re reluctant to step out into the wind and cold, but it’s time. We give final instructions to the kids — stay in the car; if you do get out, stay together; the bathrooms are right there; no fighting; daddy will be back in 90 minutes or so.

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9:58 a.m. — *shiver, shiver, shiver *  We stand at the start line with 60 or 70 other shivering, hopping runners.  I have no idea what to expect and that’s both exciting and frightening. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I’ve been warned by a few friends that is definitely not 13 miles of flat course.

10:07 a.m. — The prologue — a bridge over the lake — is flat and and the wind is cold. I glance at my GPS and see a 7:57 pace. OK, settle down, girl. The fishermen look at the stream of runners, probably thinking we’re nuts but I think they are the crazy ones, out on that cold, windy lake.

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10:15 a.m. — The paved trail winds into the woods and the wind dies down. The bare trees and lack of ground vegetation this early in the season gives us a nice view of the lake. At times, we run right next to the water.  We spread out. There’s plenty of trail – it’s wide enough for two to run comfortably side by side and for three to run with elbows in.

10:18 a.m. — The path reminds me of the Eastside connector trail, but it rolls up and down gently. Huh. They call these hills? What was I so worried about?

10:30 a.m. — Just before Mile 4, there’s a fairly steep incline. Well, alrighty then. This is a hill. I charge up it. And slow down at the top to take a couple pictures.  That’s a cool shelter. I wonder what they are for. I’m sure there’s not overnight camping here.

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10:40 a.m. — I feel strong and better than I ever expected. Maybe hills agree with me. Maybe this is better for my body, using different muscles like this instead of pounding away at the same muscles on 13 miles of flat.

10:45 a.m.  — I walk through the 2nd water stop, drinking my ice cold Gatorade. God, this stuff is so much better when it’s not piss warm.

10:53 a.m. — I see the dam up ahead. It’s the turning point, a little less than halfway through the race. Still feeling strong and buoyed by the 1/2 way point, I pass an old guy in a blue singlet with a white T-shirt underneath. There are a few spectators on the top of the damn. One is holding a sign that says “Dam, you’re halfway there, already!”  I run by too fast to get a photo. I briefly contemplate turning around to go back and take one, but then the blue singlet guy would pass me.

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11:20 a.m. — I’ve stopped taking pictures. I’ve stopped enjoying the hills. The hills are starting to annoy me. I glance at  my watch. Ah, yes, of course, the witching miles. MIles 8 & 9 are always the worst for me. I know this now.

11:3o a.m. — The old guy in the blue singlet passes me and another one, too. They must be friends from the same club because they have the same black shorts with green writing on them. I hate running. And I hate being passed by old guys.

11:35 a.m. — Nearly mile 10, two younger runners pass me. A girl in a neon green top and a boy in a t-shirt. I wonder if they are running together and if the boy is helping her get a P.R. I hate them.

11:36 a.m. — Dan’s probably finishing right now. I hate him.

11:38 a.m.  — I pass another little log shelter. That’s the third or fourth one now. What’s the point of those if you can’t camp here?

11:40 a.m. — Another fairly large hill. I hate this race course. I hate hills.  I get my answer as to whether the boy and girl next to me are together as she and I run up the hill and he gives up and walks. I never see him again. Tee…hee…we just chicked you, dude. Girl power!

11:43 a.m. — My pace is slipping and I’m tired.  The girl in green and the two old guys are ahead of me. They are in my sights, but out of my reach. I’m OK with that now. Clearly, none of them are in my age group anyway.  I hate all of them.

11:44 a.m.How in the name of God will I do twice this distance on a hillier course in JULY? It’s probably going to be 80 degrees. I’m going to die there. I’m going to die in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. I suppose it will be a pretty place to die.

11:45 a.m. — I will not walk. I will not walk. I will not walk.

11:48 a.m. — Nearly 12 miles. I turn a corner and head back into the woods where I’m surprised with another little bridge at the bottom of another fairly big hill. Bastard race director. I hate him.  Now, I’m pissed. He will not break me.

11:50 a.m. — I’m back where we started, on the main road leading to the park. Home stretch.  Less than a mile, less than a mile, less than a mile.   GET. THIS. OVER. WITH.

11:52 a.m. — I see the girls and Dan across the ravine, cheering for me. He’s probably been done for 20 minutes now. I hate him.  I wave wildly though, happy for the distraction. Oh, God, let this end. Almost there. Almost there.  I want to look behind me…see if anyone is chasing me down. I hate being passed at the very end.

11:54 a.m. — “Is anyone behind me?” I say to Dan as I pass them. “Yeah, momma, there’s lot of people behind you; you’re fast!,” Lauren says. Dan knows that’s not what I meant. “You’re good,” he says.  Relief. I don’t slow, but I don’t speed up either, safe in the knowledge that I don’t have anyone trying to chase me down.

11:54 a.m. — Lauren jumps in and runs alongside me.  “You going to finish with me?” I ask her. “Yep!” “OK, let’s go, then!”

11:54:50 a.m.  — “I’m not going to get under 1:55,” I say. It’s OK…1:55 on a course like that is respectable.

11:55:20 a.m. — I stick my left foot out so the finish line volunteer can clip my timing chip off. As I walk out of the chute, the girls want to show me something, over by the water.  “They’ve got dead shad, too.”

Noon — “How’d you do?” I ask Dan. “Good, a 1:34 something. That was a tough course,” he says. “Yeah, but I kinda liked it; I’d totally do it again,” I say.

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

 

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