Well, the free beer is just a ploy to get you to read this post. There was no free beer and will be no free beer. I lied.
Yesterday morning I ran the LVRR Super Bowl 10K. The previous day’s snow was not a deterrent for the couple hundred of runners who joined me. I started the day by rising early with some grapefruit juice and my power breakfast. What’s a power breakfast? Whole wheat toast, with peanut butter and thin slices of banana topped off with a drizzle of honey. Delicious. Oh, coffee, too…can’t forget the coffee.
I ran the race in 2009 with approximately 10 more pounds on my frame and less running experience under my belt. I was confident that I’d reach my personal record which was somewhere under 1 hour. I also remembered from the year before that parking was a nightmare. Since I was driving myself, by myself, I stressed a little about the parking situation. I left my house around 9:30 am for the 10:30 am start time. I am infamous for letting my gas tank run on empty, so I took the hubbs car.
When it comes to the radio I’m a compulsive channel changer. As expected, nothing satisfied, and I immediately checked the status of the CD player. Woohoo! Jackpot. Bang Camaro offered some awesome arena rock riffs that I was jammin’ out to. “Push, Push Lady Lightning.” Delicious.
I actually found a great parking spot approximately 1/8th of a mile from the starting line. I put the car key in my mini fanny pack, slid my already frigid hands in my gloves and hit the ground.
I’m a loner. I train alone. I stand alone…at another starting line. Again.
I wander off to find a quiet spot for some stretching and reflection. Although the temperature was hovering around 20 degrees the shining sun and blue sky warmed my face and made me dream of spring. The sharp, rolling water looked enticing enough for a little dip, but I was pulled back to reality by a small pile of snow that fell on my head from a tree high above. After some standing yoga poses I walked back over to the starting line.
Within ten minutes we were off. The masses started the steady climb out of the Parkway. We were running the same route as last year and I mentally approached each climb and turn before it actually happened. I continued with a steady pace and slowly pulled ahead from the slower group, but by no means did I even touch the elite runners. Let’s just be clear about that.
Some of the roads were packed with snow as a result of the previous day’s storm, but they were still fairly easy to navigate. I felt great. Until that last climb. It must have been around 4 1/2 miles into the race when we made a great descent. I tried to pace myself and not build up too much speed. But that last climb. Whew! I almost stopped running. I can’t run six miles. I’m never going to be able to run another half marathon. Never. I hit the wall. Well, almost.
My mind instantly went clear and I was briefly taken back to the starting line. As I was standing there – by myself – I noticed a young girl with a track tee-shirt on. The back of the shirt sported her school logo with the following quote: “Feet, don’t fail me now.”
“Feet, don’t fail me now.” This was my mantra. I repeated it over and over in my head. Don’t fail me now. This pulled me through the finish line at 58 minutes – six minutes under my previous time.