Trillian Stars got one of my favorite bands to play my birthday party.
How awesome is that? Clickenzee to experience the Hey Jealousy!
I ran a Rock n' Roll Half Marathon 2 years ago and found it ridiculously expensive and then Competitor Group which owns RnR announced they's no longer be paying Elite Runners (pro's) to run in the races which sort of turned the whole thing into a giant fun run instead of, you know, trailing along behind professional athletes and helping the actual Sport of Racing (running is perhaps unique in that everybody who wants to gets a chance to compete with the absolute best in the field -- because they're gone by the time you get there, it doesn't present a problem to have 10,000 people on the same course with you -- this wouldn't work in golf or football.) After that I thought "OK, I'm done with these guys." And then somehow last year, Competitor re-invited elites, the price of the race dropped through the floor and the the Half Marathon was scheduled on my birthday -- halloween. I figured with all this I had to sign up.
I grew my beard for two months so I could dress as a credible Jeff Lebowski and run 13 miles in a bathrobe carrying a quart of White Russians.
Clickenzee to Emduden!
There were a lot of costumes. For a while I ran along with a telle-tubby (he was yellow) here's a self portrait. You can see antenna. There was a Pappa Smurf, and a gingerbread man.
Clickenzee to Embiggen!
My Personal Record for a half marathon was 1 hour, 49 minutes and some change sent last January in Chicago. I'd gotten faster after that, and ran the Broad Street Run (which is only 10 miles) very well, but a long hot summer caused me to skip a lot of my long runs and I'd fallen out of shape, 8 minute miles were no longer as easy as they'd been last April. But I knew that I'd also ran my record-setting race badly, and that if I'd been more careful I could have gone faster. So I figured I had a chance at breaking my PR but it was all going to be psychological. I'd have to power through the pain and speed up when I wanted to slow down. As they say in the West Philly Runners, I'd need to find "beast mode" -- even in a bathrobe.
The first four miles go through the city and they were fun -- the difficult thing here is not going out too fast and burning up all your energy because, hey, fast is easy in the first few miles; It's later that someone hands you a piano.
I was in a pretty speedy corral, #5 out of 30 or so (corrals are groups of like-speeded runners they put together to avoid traffic jams -- theoretically you're always running with the same group of people who are your speed, in practice it doesn't work like this because people are bad at figuring out what corral they belong in) but in the first mile I passed a lot of people who had already started walking, either because they sprinted out way too fast or because they injured something or because they put themselves in the wrong place.
After mile 4 the course goes out onto the Schuylkill River Trail -- an 8.5 mile loop that's familiar territory to any runner from Philly. I felt a bit of a home-court advantage because I knew how far away everything was. Miles 5-10 are sort of grinding and maintaining, you settle in and it's maybe not so fun, but it's not bad. By mile 10 it had completely ceased to be fun and summoning Beast Mode was sort of like kicking a hornets nest. I'd fallen 20 feet behind the person I'd decided I was "racing". But I kept surging, looking at my watch and trying to remind myself that setting a PR on my birthday would be awesome. I was on track for this but falling apart fast. At three miles from the end though you think "ok, it's only three miles" and you start trying to do math in your head but it's useless because your head's not working so you push on. Trillian was on the course at mile 12.8, with only a few hundred yards to go and I pushed with all I had left finishing in 1:50:10 -- missing a PR by 30 seconds or so and a sub 1:50 time by ... well, 11 seconds. Someone put a medal around my neck and gave me a bottle of water. I realized that I hadn't given my all -- that those 30 seconds were out there on the course somewhere, I was just too afraid to summon the Beast that I needed because of what that beast demands in return. They call it an endurance sport for a reason -- it's all about dealing with discomfort when comfort is right ... there ... all you have to do is stop ... and ... walk ... and all the pain goes away. That's difficult and I'd slowed when I knew I should have goed.
BUT. I ran a race in my bathrobe, my wonderful wife was at the finish line, and one of my favorite bands was playing my birthday party. So I stuffed the pockets of my bathrobe with bananas, powerbars, granola, pickle flavored cashew nuts (they were actually great), channeled my inner Dude, and immediately my lost PR drifted from my mind like a tumbleweed.
Post Race. Clickenzee to Embiggen!
Better beast next time, Dude.
Clickenzee to Embiggen the medal!
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