Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Exciting Conclusion (Part 1)

When we last left you, dear reader, your hero was mulling over his mild leg issues on the night before the big race. His pre-race jitters were mounting and he only wanted to get a good night's rest.

As the night grew deep, sleep was indeed in short supply. I lay down at midnight and tossed and turned for hours. I tried counting sheep, counting my exhalations, visualizing pure relaxation. None of it worked, until after 5am. My alarm was set for 6:30, and I awoke before it went off.

The ground was wet, but the rain was no longer falling. The temperature was in the mid 40's. My supplies were prepared, and I brewed a cup of coffee for a jump start. By twenty after seven I was in the car on the way downtown. I had to invent a parking space and I walked a few blocks to the start area. Runners (and some wheelchair racers) were mulling about in great numbers. I did some stretches and took my spot with the 9 minute milers. I was being conservative because I wanted to pass rather than be passed. The wheelchair riders were the first to go, and the rest of us waited in place for a few more minutes. I was easily 150 yards from the actual start line. This is not a problem due to modern race technology. "Chips" tied into shoelaces keep track of the time, so that a runner's true time can be determined.

This was good, because when the gun went off (I don't think there was actually a gun, though), the mass of humanity immediately in front of me was slow to react. This was because they were waiting for the people in front of them to move. It was humorous how we would begin a walk, and slowly begin a trot in tight formation. Then the bottleneck at the start would lead to a clog of runners almost like concertgoers squashed among humanity. This was repeated again before we actually crossed the start line more than 2 minutes after the first runners had begun. (to be cont'd)


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