|race fans (race fans (racefans))!
||[Apr. 26th, 2013|07:14 am]
|||||judas priest: hell bent for leather||]|
So tonight I ran the UCP5k at the art museum. On the one hand it wasn't really a big deal since 5k is a bit less than my normal running distance, but since breaking my freaking leg everything's gotten harder and, well, it was a race, and I had a number and I'd paid $35 to run this three miles instead of doing it for free in the cemetery. (None of this actually makes sense, but anyway....)
It was a perfect day and a very nice race -- it was at 6:45 in the evening rather than the crack of dawn. There were a few hundred people there, the city shut down the art museum circle and part of Kelly Drive and at the sound of the starters pistol, people started hurling themselves over the starting line.
"Remember," said trillian_stars "it's not a race. Don't break your leg."
"It's not a race," I said. But I took off over the starting line too. The most difficult thing in the first half mile are people who shoot over the line like arrows and then just stop running after a few hundred yards, creating pile ups behind them of runners leaping left and right or just stopping dead. Ye local running shoppe advises people to be wary of trying to jump past or around people who've stopped on the course as you're more likely to injure yourself. A bunch of people much faster than I left the street and ran up on the curb, I followed them until the pack had thinned out and I found a group of people running at my pace.
The Philly Rollergirls were there directing traffic (and by traffic I mean runners, there weren't any cars) and there were a few people on bicycles who'd stopped by the side of the road to clap and cheer which was a very nice thing. I started wanting to hug people.
Round about mile one I came up behind a kid in a blue track suit running with his shoes untied. I passed him, but about a minute later, he shot past me and sprinted off into the distance. A quarter of a mile later I passed him again, he was sitting on the curb watching people go by. A few minutes later he sprinted by me again.
This is the big democratic lesson that running teaches you -- no matter how much you've struggled, no matter how much you've worked out, no matter how much you've overcome, there's always going to be someone who beats you. And not just someone who beats you, there are going to be lots of people who beat you.
In which I manage to cross the finish line ahead of a guy pushing two kids in a stroller.
You may clickenzee to Embiggen
About a mile into the race, I got passed by the first racer on his way back, he was way out ahead of the pack, maybe a hundred yards between him and the next person. He shot past me, I clapped. Then more came past in dribs and drabs, the rollergirls divided the street and directed us to various sides.
There was a cone in the road at the half way point I went around it and a few yards past the kid in the blue track suit shot past me again. About half a mile later I looked at my watch for the first time and was shocked that I was running a lot faster than usual and it dawned on me that I could finish in under 30 minutes if I applied myself. I know it's not a race, I thought, and I don't want to injure my leg before the big, giant, ten mile thing I'm running on the 5th because that's the goal ... but I've already been running so fast.... -- that was my logic and I stepped it up a little. I also decided that I wasn't going to get beaten by a little kid who didn't seem to even be trying.
You may clickenzee to embiggen
The last half mile I thought there was probably a 30% chance that I was going to barf but I didn't. I made it, and I made it in under 30 minutes which is a personal record. And, so far, it doesn't seem like I've broken my leg.
I lost track of the kid in the blue track suit towards the end but was happy to watch him cross the finish line a few minutes after I did. I shook his hand and told him he was really fast and it nearly killed me trying to keep up with him. He didn't seem impressed. Which is another of the valuable lessons you learn from running: The things that you have to fight for, some people just have. -- and from that you realize it's not what you can do, it's how much you appreciate what you can do.
I just texted my nephew who's a real bona fide runner. He had some words of wisdom about the whole thing.
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[Roller Derby Portraits]
2013-04-26 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you beat the little kid, but disappointed you didn't take an after race photo with him.
2013-04-26 06:12 pm (UTC)
now that is awesome! I missed the link.
EXCELLENT. Elvis is wise indeed.
Maybe the kid was autistic?
nah, he's just fast and having fun.
When you said "kid", I pictured a young man, late teens. When I saw the photo I laughed right out loud.
Oh, man, this was worth doing--and posting--just for the things running teaches you. Awesome.
On Wednesday I told my health coach, "The big eye-opener for me in chasing my fitness goals has been discovering how much my body communicates with me if I just pay attention. I can concentrate past that first level of 'This is uncomfortable. I want to stop'--which is my brain, not my heart or lungs or legs or arms--to 'Sure, there's some gas left in the tank. Use it wisely.' I didn't even know those messages were there for me to read."
and the difference between "oh, please, stop" and "you need to stop, now."
I ran the Broad Street for the first time several years ago, having never run more than three miles at a stretch before in my life. And I somehow managed to run the entire 10 miles. What carried me was the crowds and all the runners around me. There were people standing on the sidelines cheering, clapping, and shouting encouraging things. (My personal favorite was a lady stationed around the 7 mile mark shouting, "YOU GUYS ARE GREAT! YOU'RE DOING IT! YOU'RE BEATING *THOUSANDS* OF PEOPLE!") Which, out of 20,000+ runners wasn't terribly hard to do, but encouraging all the same!
And while I certainly wasn't anywhere close to the front of the pack, it was amazing to hear the runners saying, "You've got this" to each other and the supporters willing to stand out there in the morning watching all us crazies run by. You'll *love* Broad Street.
now you're going to make me cry.