I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roosa Gap - Not for the Average Runner

I woke up to rainy skies and the anticipation of 18 miles. 11.5 of them would be on a race.

The forecast called for rain all day with nearly 100% chances and it was accurate (funny how it is always accurate for rain). A picnic, a barbeque, a car show in the rain would be poorly attended if not cancelled but I knew runners would still come. Long distance runners are a strange breed, rain does not deter them.

The smart thing for someone having to run 6 more miles in addition to the race would be to run it before the race but I couldn’t do that. I had committed to helping the Race Director with registration and there was no way out of it or out of running his race. This man volunteered and worked my race doing one of the most important jobs – handling food – and without him, we would have been lost. He helped the night before, worked the race, and helped us clean up. I could not not show up for his race. It was a matter of doing the right thing and showing him my appreciation for his help. And I was happy to do it.

So, I started the race with the determination that I was going to keep a steady pace so that I could finish, grab water and take off again.

Right from the start I hooked up with a woman and we ran together 8 miles talking along the way. The first 4 miles on the trail were the most difficult. It was not raining and the humidity was so thick I felt I was breathing water. Marjorie and I would look at each other and ask “why, God, why are we doing this?” I knew why – cuz we’re jerks!!! – kidding.

The trail is followed by 2 miles on a hill so steep you can touch it with your hand. It is a walk/run and mostly walk for me.

Then God heard me and it rained. Ohhh it felt so good! At mile 8 Marjorie fell a bit behind and I hooked up with a guy – he was good looking….ahhhhh what an incentive to stay with him. Of course, he could have been my son but he wasn’t! Anyway, back at talking about the race….

I finished, grabbed my water and went for 6 more.

I felt good, tired but good. In pain but good. There is a kind of pain that makes me feel good. This was it.

Running in the rain has never felt so good.