Last night my lovely Gayle (gdeann) and I ran our first organized 5K. It was a Halloween themed run and participants were encouraged to wear costumes. Staffers of the run were all outfitted as everything from witches to furry bigfoot monsters wearing trenchcoats (We will discuss him further in a bit.) I recently posted about her incredible success and now, I will share my story.
We drove an hour to get to the city which was holding the run. We were both a bit anxious as we stood in line to register and receive our bib number. We were informed that we would make two laps circling the park and zoo. After several questions about which way do we go and a bit of stretching we found ourselves lined up at the start line. One final good luck kiss and a traditional "It was nice knowin' ya" (just in case either of us died out there ) and we were off!!!
I strutted of with a fairly good sized pack and settled into what I thought was a very nice pace set by Laura and her Stepping Stones. Mesmerized by the effects of spandex wrapped tightly around the incredibly toned female runners 20 years my junior (But none of the were as gorgeous as Gayle ) I failed to notice that my stride was much longer than usual. My endomondo running app chimed in through Laura to inform me that I had completed one mile and my pace was just over 9 minutes. HUH????? I am a 10:30 pace on a good day!!! Oh my, that spandex had me running like a fool, but I couldn't slow!!
Reality soon caught up to me and I watched the spandex gradually run away from me into the gorgeous setting sun. I found myself settling into a more reasonable pace with other old people who also huffed and puffed like 100 year old steam locomotives. Slowly I would gain on one and occassionally pass them by. As I completed my first circuit of the zoo I saw the aforementioned furry bigfoot monster in a trenchcoat offering me a cup of water. I am not sure why, but I snatched it up and quickly found out that running and drinking a cup of water is a feat for runners much more coordinated than myself. I tossed what little bit of water not running down my shirt aside and congratulated myself on being half finished.
The reality of my previous super pace and the now missing motivational spandex-clad pacers set in at this point. I could feel my body slow and halfway through this circuit I found a mysteriously LARGE hill appear that wasn't there just a bit ago on my first lap. I trudged up the hill and continued on. Endomondo chimed in that I had completed my second mile, but I missed the pace announcement. I guess it couldn't be heard over my wheezing and gasping.
With just a few corners left before the home stretch, out of NOWHERE came PINKY and her Stroller from Hell!! Some lady (again, 20 years my junior) passed me!! She had a pink wig with spikey hair, that is all that I can remember. Where did she come from and why was she going past me?? I caught up to her and we trudged along side by side. I was gasping for air and she was coughing and wheezing, otherwise I think we would have encouraged each other. I could see the finish line and what??? that furry bigfoot monster wearing a trenchcoat was taking photos and screaming encouragement!!! It was time to make my move!!
I pushed my pace and strided swiftly away from PINKY!! A bit of a smile came to my face as this happened, but it quickly faded. What was this??? Squeek, Squeek, Squeek and out of the corner of my eye the front wheel of the running stroller creeped past me...PINKY wasn't giving up!! Oh no you don't PINKY!!! Again, I pushed the pace, but this time she did, too. Our gasping, wheezing and coughing was deafening!!! Side by side, stride by stride we ran. What do I do? Do I have any more to give? YES!!! I ran... I ran like Forrest Gump and I never stopped!! I ran like a bank robber being chased by they police!! I did it, I slowly pulled away from PINKY and her stroller!! I still don't remember what happened to the bigfoot with the camera, but I ran through the finish gate like a pro!!
I turned and with our daughter alongside, we went back down the course to find Gayle and encourage her as she finished!! Later, I thanked PINKY for the good race and we talked about our lack of breath and oxygen. I owe her a lot. Thanks to that pink, spiked wig and her baby stroller, I finished in 29:52 with a 9:38 min/mile pace...a personal best!!
Thank you to my lovely wife gdeann (Gayle!!) I never could have done this without you!! I LOVE YOU!!!