At 6:20am I found myself standing in corral F. Apt, universe. Apt. I realized between me and the start line there were many port-a-johns. I started moving forward. By the time I had woven my way to corral D I noticed everyone was moving forward. Then I heard over the PA that there were thirty seconds.
Then it was on.
I should have been stressed. I had a lot of reasons to worry. I hadn't run in weeks. At the beginning of the week my knee seemed to be the main limiting factor. And of course I'm still hauling around the thirty pound boat anchor.
As I jogged from the hotel down to the starting area I had not a shred of worry. I couldn't find Mandy and her mom at the start. I'd hung back with a roiling tummy and lost any possibility of finding them in the throng. So I took off running along the Ohio with a few thousand of my newest friends. I felt good over the bridge into Newport and good back across to the Buckeye state. In fact, I kept a steady pace until the long grade up to Eden Park. The park is amazing. It makes you forget the gain you're dragging behind you as you overlook the river.
I hoped when we started back downhill into Porkopolis that I could really pick up the pace, but when the grade declined my thighs began stiffening. I couldn't open it up. It hurt to keep moving forward. Around mile ten I worried I might lose my knee and DNF.
When I saw mile 12 coming up I could tell I was running on borrowed time. I was two or three miles past what was truly reasonable for me off the couch. But...
I had reached mile point 5 at 1:02. At mile 10 I was out 2:01. With 5k to go my impromptu goal became to come in under 2:30. I knew a PR under my 2:14 Iron Horse time was out of the question, but 2:30 was entirely possible if I could keep moving.
That last mile was an ugly, lurching affair. I ignored and refused to make eye contact with anyone who yelled for me to run harder. I did not kick at the end. I did not sprint, pick up the pace, or give up. I worried that I had wrecked myself.
With an official time of 2:27:20 I became a member of the Off-the-Couch Half Marathon Team.
Tonight is the Powell County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Workshop. Yes, I have a master plan for world domination. I’m hoping for a good turnout. At my first informational meeting sixteen showed up. In a community of 12,000 people. Pretty good number.
I should never doubt myself. I make my dreams happen. A long time ago I wanted to have a family. I wanted to be a good husband and father. I won’t boast and say I’ve achieved that exactly, but my family is amazing and I can’t think of how my home life is not the dream I once imagined. On a lesser scale I once decided I would become a rock climbing guide and I did it. A few years ago once I became a staunch bike advocate I pondered how I could somehow make my hometown a better place. I didn’t map it out this way exactly, and it was never the primary focus of my scheming…but here we are.
I ran the Pig. Okay, so I didn’t run the full marathon. I am not in a place where I can do that off the couch. But someday…
|The scene of the swine|
|The pig pen|
|Or the hog lot?|
|Sunrise over the Ohio|
|As we ran back from Newport|
|The feeding trough|
|Well deserved post-run agony|