I came into this race hoping to get my first sub-20 in 17 years. Last year I got close with a 20:06. Twice! And last month I managed a 20:16. With lots of speed work, I was hoping this one would be the one.
race was called Alive and Running, and was a fundraiser for Suicide
Prevention. There were probably 1,000 people there and most of them were
walkers/fundraisers. There were many quilts on display with names of
people who had died from suicide. And a lot of participants wore the
name of someone they knew who had died of suicide. Yet it was somehow
also very upbeat, and a celebration of life.
I joined in for a little pre-race exercise:
here I was doing more heel drops to stretch out my calves and achilles.
My sore heels were definitely better after three days off. I am
optimistic. Also, I just like this photo for artistic value.
Warming up I didn't feel too great. But that's normal. I hoped race day magic would wipe that out once the gun went off.
got out fine, ahead of the mob. But a photographer decided to squat 10
yards from the start, in the middle of the road, and just stay there
after the start. I nearly ran into him, and I would be amazed if nobody
else hit him. First check of G was about 6:05, so I eased off a little.
Better than last time though!
course was straight out and back, but there were some small gradual
hills that were enough to suck the life out of you. I was at 6:15 after
1/2 mile, and thought I was maintaining that, but a long uphill had me
at 6:36 after mile 1. Already slower than I wanted, and now I needed to
pick it up. But my body was not having it.
I thought a
little downhill felt fast and I would make it up, but it was short-lived
and then we had more up and a hard u-turn. Mid way through mile 2 I was
at 6:45 pace, and I knew my sub-20 dreams were over. Because I felt
like cr@p - more like quitting than accelerating. But I tried to hold
on. I finally caught a guy running with two miniature poodles (!!!)
because I just couldn't let him beat me. After that it was a pretty thin
field and I was just maintaining. Finished mile 2 in 6:45.
was hard to keep pushing, when I knew I couldn't get sub-20. Pain
sucks, after all, so why was I doing this again? But I wanted to at
least get sub-21. And simple pride made me keep going and staying near
my maximum pain threshold. But the lactic acid was building. And I had
to run straight into the rising sun for the whole last mile.
3 was tough. One guy passed me, but then I stayed near him, and just
managed to catch him at the end, so that kept me going. Mile 3 was 6:50.
I saw the finish clock closing in on 21 and spent whatever I had left
at the end to get a 5:59 pace for the last .14. Official time 20:59.
was bummed. Not even close to what I hoped for. But DW seemed very
excited to see me come in so soon. (Not too many great runners showed
up). I finished 38th overall and got a 3rd in my AG, so there's that.
as I regained my breath, and walked through the tents I saw all the
suicide victims on the quilts. And it gave me some perspective (and my
blog title). And I thought of a girl I passed in mile 1 (see above
photo) who had a name on the back of her shirt for someone she cared
about. And I heard a story about a girl walking whose brother just
killed himself last month. Yeah, it wasn't the day I had hoped for. But I
am Alive and Running! And enjoying a beautiful sunny day! I have my
health, my mental health, a great wife and family, a steady job and
financial security. Life is good! So I was really not too upset about
We hung out with some friends. This is me with
my club rival Jim, who won his 55-59 AG, and Leslie Cohen who won her
55-59 AG and got 2nd overall female with 22:xx. She is a mini-celeb here
who has her own race and running club named after her.
then I collected my medal. Even though the girls handing them out
thought it was red for 1st, white for 2nd and blue for 3rd. I protested
once, and then took my blue ribbon medal!
There's a smile. Life is good. Enjoy it.