Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Running Race In 45 Years

       {Message on FaceBook}
Hi Peter,
Dean Karnazes commented on your photo.
Dean Karnazes wrote: "I thought you were kidding when you said that, Wow, that's core! When you said running has changed your life you meant it. Never stop Peter..."
{Morning Of The Bay To Breakers} 

This is what I woke up to this morning on Facebook while I ate my breakfast and prepared for my first running competition since sometime around 1968 when I felt like such a loser coming in last place at my hometowns annual Fourth of July running event. I promised myself then, that I would never put myself through that again and I would never run...ever!
Recap from previous blog:
Dean is an amazing inspirational athlete. His accomplishments are of epic proportions. After reading his book "Ultra-Marathon Man" I was completely inspired to take up running and jump into it with both feet "literally"! In the last 5 months of training I've discovered more about my self then I ever thought I would. I feel driven, to push myself and found an amazing high in running that leaves me calm, happy and healthy.
When I started dabbling in running it was mainly something I started to do as an alternative to cycling. I hated riding in inclement weather and wasn't particularly interested in riding in the city at night. Time has become a big factor in my workaday world. I needed something I could do in less time but with the same amount intensity and caloric burn. Running gave me a bit more upper body work and it's basically less cumbersome, time consuming and safer. I still ride as often as I can but, don't get the chances during the week.
Running's like the new girlfriend...
Starting line
I woke up early (5am), gulped the coffee, hoovered the Oatmeal and headed out to the starting line. When I got to the start, I tried to sneak into the "A coral". Since I had already signed up for the "B coral" 4 months ago I was stuck. I ended up with hundreds of runners ahead of me that I knew I'd have to get around down the road.

The elite runners got the gun and were off and running. We had to wait a few minutes more and then the start. The first block was really slow as the mass picked up speed. After 3 blocks I hit the sidewalk which was a better flow.
My heart rate was already heading into the red zone and the first 2 miles were a blur. I was concentrating so much on finding a hole to slip through past the slower runners, I couldn't really think of anything else. By Hayes street hill things jammed up quite a bit and on the second block someone ran up my back and went down. I didn't turn around and kept running. I saw the salmon coming down Hayes the opposite direction (how damn annoying)! I hate those idiots. (For those who don't know what I'm talking about, these characters dress as salmon and run the course backwards).
After Hayes we took a quick left on Divisadero and right on Fell for the long strait-away to the park. At this point things opened up and I could finally settle into a groove. I may have backed off a bit too much hoping to save myself for the long stretch through the park.
When we reached the park I just fixed my target on guys who looked around my age and running strong. I passed them as soon as I would see them ahead of me. Finally the downhill was in front of me and I just started letting myself free fall. It was then I felt the "whap, whap" of my shoe lace coming loose. I never have this problem but, of course on this important event....
I kept telling myself I should stop but, kept putting it off and now the other was coming loose. Just when I was making a crucial decision to stop...Whomp! I was down and sliding. I caught my foot in my loosened shoe lace. I went down hard and bloodied my arm and knee. I lost probably close to a minute tying my shoes and assessing my injuries.

I got back in to the race and began to try and make up the lost time. On the last mile I was starting to struggle but still hanging in there. I met a woman named Lynn and for some reason struck up a conversation. We ran together and somehow managed to chat while both of us were in the red zone. On the final corner turning on to the last stretch to the finish I just sprinted with everything I had left! I yelled back to Lynn.
"C'mon Lynn! Don't let a guy beat you"! 
I forgot to shut off my Garmin for about 20 seconds after I crossed the line and the readout said 57:42. That being "moving  time". My official was 59:04.
In reality my time was over 2 minutes better than last week so, I'm happy.

I went over to the first aid tent, got work done, then grabbed my medal and began the long slow jog home. I went back along the race route watched the calamity in action. I thought on the way back of how much I enjoyed the day and that maybe running isn't that much safer than cycling...

I had a great time and an amazing experience...
I ran!

Walking up Polk Gulch there was a full out Pub crawl going on. Between the Partying at the race and the Pub Crawls, they'll be a lot of sore and hungover people tomorrow.

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