=PR= Run for Independence 8k

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Where have I been? Running….and running ….and trail running and track running and training in general. I may not always write but I’m always running.

Saturday morning was pretty perfect. Not too hot….nice early 7:15 start for the race. We had picked up my packet on Friday night so I just had to get to the race site and warm up. I was worried about the parking situation because I didn't know what it would be. It turned out not to be an issue. It was easy. There was a large field and people were directing for the parking. I asked my buddy to drop me off though so that I could avoid the wet grass.

We hung out at a picnic table….I warmed up …and waited in line for a real bathroom before the race. There weren't many people around so I didn't feel the need to get to the start line too early. I made my way there just as they were starting the national anthem. I ended up lining up pretty close to the actual start line. Mark that down as mistake #1.

A few minutes later we were off and running…FAST! Mark that down as mistake #2. I kept looking at my watch and knowing I need to slow down. But I felt so darn good and everyone around me was so fast. The first few streets were nothing but a blur. As I approached the first mile marker I knew I was in trouble. I told my buddy that I had made a big mistake and started too fast. He said to have fun. I wouldn't see him again until the end.

Through the second mile I held a pretty fast pace and I still knew I needed to slow down. Luckily there was more shade on the course than I was expecting. As the sun pounded down there was some relief under the trees. I made my way into the section that looped around a school. There were rolling hills….I was hoping for flat. I passed up the first water station without taking water. Mark that down as mistake #3. At mile 2.5 I ended up with a side cramp….there was nothing I could do to fight it. I had to walk when I didn't want to and had to focus on breathing. I alternated the running and walking a bit until I could overcome the cramp.

By that point my PR was blown and I was just hoping to finish strong. I kept just slogging my way through the course….chatting with a person here and there. Finally I made my way towards the finish line. I could hear a woman behind me say excuse me…..and I turned and said some not nice words to her. Then I raced her to the end. She edged me just by a little bit. It was mean but I needed the push.

Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running

At least I looked somewhat happy at the finish.

Photo courtesy of Potomac River Running

After the race I grabbed food…they had real food…hot food. Eggs and bacon (yuck!) and potatoes. I let my buddy have the bacon. And I had a bowl of fruit. It was awesome. As we watched people finish I knew there was still an older man out on the course. I had passed him on my way back and had seen him at a turnaround point. I knew I had to go back and look for him.

I’m so glad I did! He was there looking for directions trying to get to the finish line. I asked if I could run up the hill with him and point him towards the finish. I told him that he inspired me. He said he is almost 90. He is amazing…..he had a hip replacement and was still running! I ran with him for a few minutes and told him that he would get to own the finish line all by himself. He was sad about being last and making people wait. Everyone cheered for him….so loudly. No one cared about waiting for him. He is amazing. I hope I get to run with him again in the future. And I hope I can still run when I’m old.

So maybe the race didn't work out the way I hoped….and maybe I made too many mistakes but in the end I got to help someone and chat with some other runners. It was all worth it.