(thenotsomorningshow.com)- On Thanksgiving Day I ran in a 5 kilometer run in Dana Point, California benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. The following is a look of what I went through for this story, how I trained, how I prepared mentally for the event, my race day preparation, the race itself, and what competing in the event did for me as an individual.
Let me begin by making clear that though I am not out of shape, I am not in running shape, my longest run recently (this decade) has been stretching a single into a double in local softball leagues. The last time I ran for distance competitively Ronald Reagan was President, during his first term. I struggled with the thought of this for a long time, images of George Plimpton literally tripping over his own feet attempting to quarterback the Detroit Lions for a story haunted my imagination, but the hope for me was that running would be like riding a bike. This hope turned out to be a mistake, my first.
The idea for this story had been with me for a long time, my committing to the run came a mere five days before the event. My friend Ron, offered me his spot after being hurt and unable to participate. Ron is a big guy, if he could do it for a good cause, why couldn’t I, especially with an entire week to prepare?
My initial training effort was delayed looking for my old running shoes, a pair of lucky blue Adidas that certainly remained boxed in the garage, somewhere. On the third evening I finally located them in a box that included a few 8-tracks, Beta videos of “Rocky” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, a Commodore 64 computer, and a Members Only jacket. I found the Adidas shoes in the last box I looked into. This seems like an obvious statement, as I was able to quit looking once they were found, but hindering my search was this box was mislabeled as “Save Important”.
While checking the C64 to see if it was still operational I laced up the shoes to insure they still fit, once verified I put the shoes with my running outfit and returned the inoperative Commodore to the box on the shelf. This proved to be the extent of my actual training, or more accurately my lack of actual training, and my second mistake.
The morning of the run I awoke early and briefly reconsidered my coffee before rushing it down with a light breakfast, acutely aware that any excess weight I carried would be lugged with me for 5 kilometers which, since I was part of the generation that rebelled against going metric, I knew to be approximately 3.105856 miles.
Though Ron was injured and could not run, he offered to drive us to the race together, knowing his gesture would be appreciated on the way home. We covered the drive to the race site along the Pacific coast in about 10 minutes, arriving in ample time for checking in and preparation for the race start.
After briefly explaining Ron’s injury, and a cursory glance at me to determine I was not a ringer, the registration desk was gracious enough to allow me to run in his place. I was presented a t-shirt which was rightfully Jim’s, a runners bib with my race number, and a timing chip that attached to my shoes. With that I was pronounced ready to take my place with the runners.
At this point my driver parted my company to mingle in the crowd and get some shots, he didn’t have a camera, and those shots led to me driving home, but i am getting ahead of myself. I began my way to the starter’s line, with over 10,000 runners registered for the event, it would be more concise to call it a starting crowd.
As I paced and readied for the start of the run an older couple befriended me with some conversation. The pair in their seventies shared they enjoyed running together in events such as this for years, they were so cute together with their matching outfits, from the lime green caps on their gray heads to their lime green running shoes. As our talk continued I commented on several groups running by us and joked that perhaps we had missed the start? They both laughed and replied together to me, those runners were completing their pre-run warm up. I smiled to them only to hide the thought in my head, “pre-run warm up?” Mistake number three.
I don’t remember much of the run after about the first quarter mile, but I had nightmares for weeks of two sets of lime green running shoes blazing by me…
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