Sunday, April 5, 2009

On the other side of the tape

I volunteered today at the Platte River 1/2 Marathon; it was a nice change to be on the other side of the tape for a change of scenery. The woman that runs this race is a local Denver area running coach and has a very successful running career herself, which in include 3 Olympic marathon trials. I found her through various channels but her daughter also attends the same small Catholic high school that my daughter does and are in the same grade (though do not have the same mutual friends). Maureen has provided me a lot of valuable marathon information as well as some tweaking of my running form by watching me run on the track and some hills. All for free. So when she asked if I would be interested in volunteering today at one of two local races she puts on for charity, I couldn't say no. It actually worked out perfectly as I was in no condition to run it due in part to having just run a hard half last weekend and because of my Boston taper. I had a great time watching racers come across the finish line as I tore off their tags and offered congratulations. I even got to see Brian, one of the coaches at Smoky, cross in a victorious NYC marathon qualifying time (way to go, Brian). I had hoped we'd be handing out medals so I could proudly put it around his neck, but no such hardware existed; so a hug had to suffice and I promised I'd bring in my Atlanta medal to school tomorrow so he could deservedly sport it round his neck :). Jeff, the other track coach, unfortunately did not manage to qualify and I know that's just gotta be so hard for him. He missed qualifying for Boston, some odd-years ago, by a mere 9 seconds. When I told Dennis this, Dennis said he's probably have to just end his life right then and there, he'd never be able to live with that. I'm certain Jeff is disappointed - all us runners have been there and know his pain (you still rocked, Jeff, with an astonishing 1:32). I found out today, that I missed qualifying for NYC by an entire 11 seconds myself with my Atlanta time. Not that NYC marathon was a goal or even a's just the principle of it now that I know I was only 11 seconds off. I'm not certain NYC is a marathon I would attempt again (though I'm almost certain one could convince me to run just about anything out there...and probably in less than a minute). At one time it was a desire but it no longer has tugged at my heart. Not like many others I long to do. I also found out today that the Nike Women's marathon in San Francisco in October, is already closed. That was one on my 2009 race goals but I had no idea of it's popularity and before I figured that out, it was closed. So chuck that off the list and now we've come to the source of my imbalance right now: I don't know what to do this fall. Maybe not a problem for most but I am afraid of returning from Boston with no particular fall goals, and hitting that big Boston "let down" (Rack Nike up to #2 that was on my list that no longer is; the other was the Sunmart 50K in December which is no longer a race after 20-some years. Rumor has it that the sponsor, Sunmart itself, has run off with all race moneys... hum). I just run better when I have a purpose behind my running so with two races nixed, I am in race limbo. I want to take the summer to fine-tune my body; like I did this winter, and hit the fall hard; like I did this spring. So an uncertain fall race calendar is weighing heavy inside right now.

It struck me very deeply from the perspective of the sidelines without the painful cloud of my own effort and the layer of my own experience as I watched those cross the finish line for their own various and awesome reasons why they were running. Whether it's for their own personal race time goal to gain entry to a race they've longed for, or to cross their first half marathon ever, or perhaps in memory of a loved one (saw a few of those); it is one of the finest attributes of people who run, a tether of humanity that grounds us all. We all have our reasons why we run. And why we volunteer for those that do.

BTW, I'm dead tired today the past coule days. Maybe it's due to my whirlwind 11-day spring break? I hope it's just that and nothing more. I don't want a cold right now.......

1 comment:

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