Around 8 a.m. PT on Saturday, I embarked on what would be the best worst experience of my life as I crossed the start line for the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle half marathon.
Drew Polley and Jono Lafler -- both former WSU cross country runners -- already were well out on the course by then, having gone off in the first corral at 7 a.m. instead of the 35th. And before I even completed my first mile, Lafler crossed the finish line to win the half marathon in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 7 seconds. A little over an hour later, as I was in my eighth mile, Polley crossed the finish line to win the marathon in 2:24:51.
For the occasion, WSU dug up a couple of photos of Polley (left) and Lafler:
It had taken Polley -- shown here, crossing the finish line -- a mere three minutes longer to run 26.2 miles than it took me to run half that amount. (My official time covering 13.1 miles: 2:21:51.) I will never not be jealous of those people for whom running seems to come so easy. That said, I told my wife shortly before we started that my only competition was the finish line, and in that respect, three months of work paid off and I actually surprised myself with my time, having only trained up to 11 miles in the hope that adrenaline would carry me through to the end.
It did, as I crossed the finish line 6,025th. Shortly before that, our own B-Lot Tailgater snapped this picture of me coming down the stretch:
If you need a good laugh, you can visit my finisher page and check out the pictures at the bottom. If you click through to the full page of pictures, the second picture is moments after I crossed the finish line. Not too long after that, a medical person asked me if I was doing OK or if I needed some help. I told her no, that I was fine, but as my legs wobbled with every step, I thought, "Man, I must look terrible!" I blame the final hill, and the sadistic a-hole who decided to incorporate that into the course. The pictures of me running past the American flags that lined Lake Washington to honor fallen soldiers are especially lovely. (Not sure what it was that surprised me, but something sure did!)
Still, I set out to finish, and I did. I started running two years ago to honor my son's fight against cancer -- it seemed pretty lame to me that I was 250 pounds and eating everything in sight while all he wanted to do was get out of his hospital bed. He doesn't always understand that's why I leave the house a few days a week to go for a run, and he was way more excited about the Power Rangers Megazord he got for his fifth birthday yesterday than my medal, but that's OK. He's doing a lot better these days than my hat at the end of the race:
Were any of you out there? I'd love to hear about your experience on Saturday - or just about running in general.