We went to bed early last night, but we both had trouble falling asleep. When 6am rolled around, neither of us felt refreshed. But that's nothing coffee and adrenaline can't cure...
Over 7,000 people turned out to run and walk. I don't know the breakdown, but there was a 5k run / walk (that's 3.1 miles), and the rest did the half-marathon (and that's 13.1 miles). I think this qualifies as a "crowd."
Here's a view of the starting line before the race.
The signs on the right side were for the runners to line up based on their pace.
The 1:30 indicates people who expect to finish in 1 hr 30 minutes.
Elite is for steroid abusers, and for people who were bitten by radioactive spiders, or hit by gamma ray bursts, or come from Krypton.
Notice that this picture was taken from aways back...
At 1 minute to race time, this crowd tightened into solid mass. We were in the latter half of a crowd of 7,000, a dense throng crammed into a lane and a half of roadway. They gave the command to start and we stood still for over between five and ten minutes while those in front of us started going- one by one, it seemed. Eventually the crowd did move forward in an asynchronous waddle that was reminiscent of a March of the Penguins, just without the antarctic winds. Our weather was perfect. Thank God.
I crossed the start line, and I heard horns start playing the theme from Rocky. Literally. It was the first song on my playlist. The second group of horns stared to play when I pressed start on my GPS to track time and speed. I was pumped.
About a mile in we passed an on-ramp for I-670. "We should take the highway, it would be so much faster," I suggested to my fellow runners, but no one deviated from the course. I did get a chuckle out of a couple people nearby and we chatted for the next mile. It turns out running can be a semi-social event. A turn came up.
"Stay to the inside, the outside curve is longer, and there's not need to make this any farther than it need to be," I cautioned. They ran along the far side of the curve anyway. I followed like a retarded sheep.
Around 3 miles in, my wife and I were still running together. "Happy anniversary," I said. She smiled and returned the sentiment. Only 10 miles to go.
After the race my wife said that someone who overheard this exchange asked her it it was really our anniversary. She assured them it was.
"Ask him to take you o=t to dinner next year," was the advice they gave. Ha! This whole damn thing was her idea to begin with. She brought it up, I found a training schedule online and thought we could do it.
At about 4 miles in, I started to pull ahead of her. Or she purposefully fell back because she was embarrassed by by air guitar skills (which are, in fact, awesome). I told you I was pumped.
Miles 5-10 were fueled by a kick-ass iPod playlist. It's easier to run when you have good music. It's also motivating to be in a crowd of people, with spectators on the side of many of the streets, cheering on friends and family. All I had to do was pretend my name was Kate, Erin, or Mom and it was like they were cheering for me, too.
The final three miles were tough, but not as bad as I thought they would be. The worst part was the block and a half of cobblestone / brick road we ran over in German Village. This was about 11 miles in, and my feet were already hurting pretty bad.
The blisters on my toes were second generation - regenerated old blisters that had nearly healed before this run. As I hit the cobblestone, my feet cheered me on, encouraging me to quickly pass this nuisance.
"FU," my right foot said each time it hit the hard, uneven ground.
"FU2," my left said, a prefect echo of the right foot's sentiment.
I got past thirteen miles. Almost there. Up a hill, and then the final half-mile was down hill, and then (finally!) around a corner to the finish line. You bet you ass I took the inside track on this corner. As I did, I pulled my digital camera from my pouch. This is what I captured:
I was kicking it with all my energy. My average pace in the run was a 10 minute mile. For the first part of that video I was close to a 7.5 minute mile. I don't know what I was clocking as I crossed the finish line, but it was absolutely all I could muster. The camera recorded my voice, but it didn't pick up that much of the ambient noise. It was loud. People cheering, noisemakers, Andrea Campbern, a local news anchor, was to the left of the finish line cheering us on through the PA...
I think I finished in about 2 hrs 10 minutes. That's what my GPS said. The clocks at the finish line were based on the first people who started. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Here's a pre-race photo. The post-race photo is me and my wife, and she has not granted authorization to make that photo public:
So what happened after the race? We had a busy damn day, that's what. My son had a soccer game. They won, 6-0. He scored two goals, and he saved all three shots the quarter he was goalie. Then i went to the store, then out to dinner with my in-laws.
May 2nd, 2009 is prom night here in Columbus. It took three restaurants to find a good eatery with less than an hour wait! But now we're home, and holy mother of God do my knees and toes hurt...