John: “Hey Greg, I just registered for Goofy’s Challenge”
John: “Give me your credit card”
John: (points out my window) “Wow, look at her!”
Me: “Waaaaah?” (I fall for this every. single. time.)
John then physically wrestles my credit card out of my hands and registers me without my consent knowing full well that he’d be screwing up my training for Boston. But John doesn’t care about these things because he only cares about himself. That’s exactly how it went down. I swear.
Last weekend was the third major event that John, Mark, and I participated in together. In previous years we did the Marine Corps. Marathon and also Las Vegas. Mark and I do these things with John because bad luck sticks to him. The trick is to stay just far enough way that we don’t get sucked in (like the car accident involving my car at Marine Corps — clearly that misfortune was intended for Johnny boy and my car was collateral damage). It worked out perfectly this time. John was the one on the bus that hit another bus at the expo. John was on the bus to the start of the race that got lost for 90 minutes in the 3 miles between his hotel at the drop off area. John was the one that…well, I’ll keep that last story off of the public internet for John’s sake.
It was perfect weather to race — mid fifties. I could start shirtless, run fast, and be comfortable. But I wasn’t there to race. Had I raced I wouldn’t have had much chance at a decent experience during the marathon the next day.
I ran and I felt incredible. Everything was perfect. The course was great; flat, lots to see, more spectators than I had imagined, etc. I felt incredibly strong. I ran like I used to run races, with very little in the realm of expectations and just enjoying the moment. I didn’t see my mile splits because it was dark out and because they didn’t matter. I ran smooth. At mile 9 my stomach hurt as though I had a side stitch. I pulled off the course and massaged out the pain and returned to running strong and smooth. At mile 12 the pain returned and I pulled off one more time. At about this time a song started playing that I love to run to (one that makes me go just a little crazy). It was so late in the race that I figured it’d be OK to let loose a little and run a little fast. Even though I stopped I pulled off a 6:40 mile for mile 12!
My time goal for this race was to finish between 1:35 and 1:40. I ran 1:31:21 (6:59 pace). I blew away my expectations. Best of all is that I beat my fall half marathon time of 1:33. In the fall I ran the Rochester Half as my “return from injury” race. At that time I wanted to prove to myself that I hadn’t lost much fitness due to my stress fracture. I believed I could run faster than 1:30 even though I’d had only about 2 weeks of real training. I finished that race disappointed. But this time I ran a 1:31 while trying to go slow. I’m left only to wonder what would have happened if I ran all-out.
I loved this event. Of course Disney does a great job with massive numbers of people but this race reminded of how I fell in love with racing before I started taking things too seriously. It was the first day of a weekend that I shared with family and friends both near, far, and very far.