We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.” ~ Mother Teresa

Walter, Attila and Me 1

Well, Friends, the Cape Cod Half Marathon is in the books and good news, you guys!  I finished it.  I didn’t even have to get on the sweep up bus for those who just can’t make the minimum course time. W-I-N!

My training for this event was sub par, even by my own low standards.  That’s not an excuse.  That’s a fact. I knew that this would be hard and I was right.

Walter and I got up at Zero-Dark-Thirty to drive to the Cape.  For some insane reason, Walter’s girlfriend (Cynthia?) and my niece decided to come cheer us on.  We met up with Attila near the start and began our pre-race routines.  The slowest rendition of the National Anthem in the history of the Republic was sung.   The horn sounded and the field of about 1,200 runners set out.

Walter, Attila and I hung towards the back of the pack. That was our “strategy.”  Attila ran the Chicago Marathon the week before and she wanted to hang back with me.  Walter, whose own training was a bit wanting, also decided to hang back.  It began beautifully.  We ran around the Cape and could see Martha’s Vineyard in the distance. It was cool and breezy, but not really cold and the skies were clear. Really it was a beautiful day for running.

At about the 5 mile point Walter decided to pick up the pace a bit.  Being only half crazy, I decided to keep my plodding pace.  Attila stayed with me.  She said she was a little sore from the marathon, but I knew she was just making sure that she could report back to Walter if I ended up on a Life Flight to Mass Gen.

I figure we were at about the 7-mile marker – Attila and I were running in a little bit of a pack, enjoying the view and our conversation.  One of the spectators who lined the route yelled, “Way to go ladies! . . . . and man!”  Nice. . .

We were at about the 8-mile point when a spectator encouraged us by revealing something that I hadn’t known.  He smiled and said, “Have fun in the hills!” Hills?  No one said anything to me about hills. What the hell? This is Cape F*#$ing Cod!  It’s supposed to be flat!

But, there were, in fact, hills – plural.  Even though I currently am a denizen of the city where three rivers merge, I hadn’t trained for hills.

I handled the first hill or two alright, but on the third hill I had to walk a bit and that is when IT happened.  Phil passed me.  Phil was an elderly speed walker.  By elderly, I mean maybe late 60’s, early 70’s.  I know his name was Phil because of his mantra. Phil was “walking” the tangents, so his course up the hill took him directly in front of me as he cut diagonally across the road, nearly stepping on my foot.  As he passed I could hear him repeat, “You’re strong, Phil.  You’re strong, Phil,” or some such crap.

I resolved that I wouldn’t be defeated by a speed walker in a half marathon.  THAT COULD NOT HAPPEN.

It happened.  I got defeated by an elderly race-walker in a half marathon.  No joke.  Phil WAS strong.  He also had really, really long legs.  He was a giant, really.  Imagine you are Jack-in-the-Beanstock running from the Giant – – – that’s how much ground Phil was covering in a single stride compared to me.  Again, no excuses, just facts.

It was my second worst Half Marathon finish.  Only the debacle of 2011 where I ran on an injured hip was worse.  It was also the hardest race of my life, I think.  Harder than the Marine Corps Marathon.

I finished.  I was able to spend a fantastic morning with Walter and Attila and some quality time with Walter’s girlfriend and my niece.  I’d never seen the Cape before.  And, I stayed off the short bus designed for “special” runners like me.

Yeah, I’m a pathetic runner and I got beat by someone who WALKED the whole damn thing.  But, I had fun and my humiliation wasn’t enough to make me quit.  I’m looking for my next race. Any suggestions?

Until next time, PR

Cape Code Half Medal 2

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“I Think I’m in Trouble” ~ Lindsey Buckingham

The PR is in trouble – his half marathon is two weeks away and he’s run precisely twice since his last post [I thought it might be fun to refer to myself in the third person like the cool kids on TV do].  He’s surely got trouble!  Right here in (three) River(s) City!  [Nope, it’s not all that fun.  It’s actually rather tiresome].

I’d already ran four halfs by this time last year.  This year I have precisely ZERO under my belt.  None.  A big Goose Egg.  Plus, my training has fallen off a cliff.

I have a boatload of excuses.  New job.  New town.  New life.  New house.  Big hills.  Rain.  Wind.  Government Shut Down.  Pretty Little Liars retrospective on TV.  Unusual lunar events.   Alien assassination attempts.  Zombies. . . Yak. Yak. Yak. Yabadabadoo.  It doesn’t matter:  the bottom line is that I’m running 13.1 miles in two weeks and I’m not ready.

Two years ago I ran a half marathon when my hip was hurting pretty badly.  It was the race where I was nearly beaten by an 89-year-old man who looked like he was recovering from a debilitating stroke (true story AND I can prove it for any doubters out there.  It’s 100 % true).  I don’t remember how pathetic my time was that day, but I seem to remember that it was in the neighborhood of an embarrassing 2:40.  I’m currently healthy and not in pain.  I’m just old, fat and lazy. . . this race could be even worse.  Potentially must worse.

Walter and Attila have registered for this race and they are expecting me to show up.  And, show up I SHALL!  I ran 5 miles last weekend (nearly killed me).  I followed that with an 8 mile run on Monday and 4 mile run today.  The plan is 4 more on Friday and a 10 mile run some time this weekend.  Then, a DRAMATIC taper the following week.  I will show up.  I will finish, but I won’t promise that my pathetic pace will be sufficient to keep me off the short bus for the stragglers who can’t maintain the minimum pace.

Wish me luck.  I’ll check in afterwards and regale you with stories of my heroic effort and legendary failure.

Till next time, PR