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