Sunday, June 16, 2013

Friends, Hugs, food and fun at the races.

Running events are really just social events. At yesterday's half marathon and half marathon relay on McAllister parks paved trails I ran into so many friends I never stopped smiling. Before the run I spoke to local Running store owner Roger , and Asics Rep Roy when Jean runs by but stops to say hi and share a hug. I hung out with Connie and Larry before heading over to the starting area where I said hi to Doctor Liz. Just before the race start Cousin Elizabeth came by to chat with Joe, Scott and I. We walked over to the start line and Elizabeth shows up. Up ahead Fumi turns to see us and she works her way through the crowd to come share some hugs. Were we running the full event. As Elizabeth said with a perplexed look on her face, "we're running the full half."
I'd been drinking from a 16 ounce bottle of water and decided to start the run with it in my hand. I can leave it at an aid station later, I thought. To accommodate the relay teams the race is four loops. Winding through the wooded asphalt trails we get to see other runs ahead and behind us as we make turns at trail junctions. Weaving through the woods in hot, stagnant, humid air began to take it's toll on some runners very early in the run.  It was so humid the mosquitos couldn't land. They just skidded off our sweaty bodies. After one loop I decided I better hang on to my water bottle and not pitch it. I refilled it at the next aid station and drank two cups of gatorade. Half way through loop two I see Kimberly coming towards me on an opposite trail. Waving, she yells out "Hi Tony!" I wave back as I call out her name. At the start of loop three again I refilled my bottle and drank two more cups of gatorade! The hammer gel I decided to carry in my shorts pocket turned out to be a good idea. The aid stations had only water and Gatorade. Made sense. Most were running on a relay team  and one loop was under 4 miles. I guess they figured if you're running the half you have experience and should know what you need. Downing the gel I drank more water. And more water! Loop three down and I needed another water refill. I stopped at the aid station at the start of loop four to get it. Drinking more gatorade I walked away thanking the volunteers and looking forward to finishing this darn humid, moisture sucking run. The end couldn't come too soon. Exiting the woods and running down the road towards the finish line about 200 yards away the thought of finishing strong left my mind as soon as it entered. I just wanted to finish! I crossed the line at 1:55:23. Good enough. My goal was to beat two hours. At the finish I refilled my bottle with water again and walked towards the post race party area.
The post race party at Carrabba's half marathon has got to be one of the best. More friends were around! Cara, Kelli, Dulce, Michael and his running team, John, Jr. and another Kelly! They all came up to Hug and or talk and laugh. I feasted on Watermelon, Ranger Creek Beer, Carrabba's grilled Boneless Chicken breast smothered with sauteed  mushrooms, tossed salad, and pasta in a butter sauce, and more Beer! I Hung out with Fumi, Elizabeth and her Mom before leaving. Still smiling. All the way home.
Dad told me to keep it up. Don't stop running he said. I won't Pop. It's too much fun!
Happy Fathers Day to every Dad!

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