The Gentleman Runner

World Heart Day Fun Run  15.12k  09/30/12

Memories can be really tricky when you’re running for long periods of time. The sequence of events gets muddled up. Keeping track of your efforts becomes a chore. The lack of mile markers or kilometer markers in this race made the events especially difficult to track. However, you can always count on races to have milestones and this race had plenty of it. Here are the key events that transpired at the milestones in bullet points:

 

1st Water Station:

  • Everything seems to be going well. I didn’t know they spaced these stations apart but I arrived at this one around 12:30. Following the advice of my friend, I took a sip from a cup, walked to the trash can, and ran. This was supposed to ensure that I didn’t dehydrate myself.

2nd Water Station:

  • I arrived at this station at around 25:00. The thought of me running at 5:00 per kilometer popped into my head. It couldn’t be but the evidence was clear. The pain at my side from the frequent sips of water was already near agonizing.

1st Turning Point:

  • I was quite delusional at this point. Inside my head, I screamed, “I ran half the race in 40 minutes!” I picked up the pace even though the uphill road was steeper than I was used to.

1st Depressing Turn:

  • My bad. I did not cross the halfway point yet. The race course went further away from the starting point. I almost slowed down if it weren’t for a scrappy female runner. With considerable mental effort, I chased down her lead. I swear the ladies are getting with every race.

2nd Turning Point:

  • I allowed myself a bit of hope. The turning point led mercifully to the starting point.
  • There were two scrappy lady runners now. They challenged my lead and I’m ashamed to admit that I never caught up to the second one.

The Lull:

  • I started slowing at this point. The pain seemed excruciating so I walked. Runners were now applying the run – walk strategy at short intervals. My own version had me walking for 5 minutes. The first scrappy female was way ahead now.
  • A third scrappy lady runner appeared and challenged me. Well, not really. It was awkward running from behind her. I could tell she was feeling the awkwardness herself. She was unconsciously covering her butt. Being the gentleman runner that I am, I took the lead from her. She took it as a challenge and we fought for the lead for miles. The lull ended.

2nd Depressing Turn:

  • This turn took me by surprise. I was sure it would be a straightish route towards the finish line. How stupid was I? I composed myself with a short walk.
  • At this point, I was way ahead of the first scrappy lady runner. The third one still kept challenging me but I noticed that her footfalls had become louder.

Last Water Station:

  • My heart leapt at the sight of the familiar road. I was over a kilometer away from the finish line. The third scrappy lady runner was leading when she stopped for a sip. I passed her and she never caught up.

The Kick:

  • This was not my fastest kick but it was my most triumphant. As I sprinted towards the finish line, I was filled with elation. I knew I had beaten my PR.

The Finish Line:

  • 50 meters away, I waited for the third scrappy lady runner to cross the finish line. She was a full minute behind me. If I were not so shy around women, I’d congratulate her for challenging me. Oh well. At least, she finished the race safely. 1:38:42
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