This morning I ran a half marathon.
It wasn’t my first, but it certainly was the first half marathon I attempted without a completing a full round of training. This put me in the mindset that today, I would strive to enjoy the race as much as possible. I would choose to take it all in, instead of focus on heart rate zones, pace, or strategy.
I started the day by parking at my office in Southtown. I hopped on a B-Cycle and huffed it to the Alamodome. It was the first time I rode a bike in well over ten years, and yet I flew through and around closed streets, barriers, other prospective runners and busy streets just in time to gear up and start running. I had timed it perfectly, maximizing sleep, minimizing time waiting for the race to start, and completely avoiding the crazy shuttle scene.
A few miles into the race, I lost one of my GU packets. I thought I heard something drop behind me, but wasn’t sure. I reached back to see if I had lost one, but couldn’t quite tell. I assumed it was lost and that I would need to rethink my nutrition. A few minutes later two friendly ladies caught up to me and handed me the GU I had dropped! Apparently they had seen it fall out, picked it up, then kept me in sight (among thousands of other runners) long enough to catch up and give it back to me. Crazy right?
Along the way, I paid attention to the spectators that came out to support the runners. They were giving high fives, and I partook in them. They were holding signs, and instead of ignoring them I took the time to read and enjoy them! Here are three of my favorites:
“Lebron would have cramped by now!”
“All of this for one banana?”
And my personal favorite,
“Run now. Tacos later”
I ran into Spurs Jesus in the hilly part of the course surrounding Trinity (can’t make this stuff up) University. Well actually, he just passed me. Even so, the sight of a man in full Jesus garb, wearing a Spurs hat, ascending hills was something to behold.
I saw a few friends and colleagues operating aid stations along the route. I was surprised but happy to see them as I wove my way through the first half of the race.
I also saw a coworker later in the race. She had made a sign with my name on it, and she flagged me down as I suffered my way past her. I inadvertently gave her a hug, which I’m sure means she will have to have her holiday sweater dry cleaned. Yikes!
Later, a good buddy (and member of my running group) rooted me on and had me press an “easy” button as I passed. Something about pressing that button, and seeing friendly faces put some pep in my step!
Finishing the race was difficult. I could sense that I lacked the training I should have had, and in the last few miles I paid for not having it. But I got it done, and then I spent a good amount of time “post race tailgating” with my running buddies.
When I had filled my belly and fully recovered, I decided it was time to stop avoiding the long walk/bike back to Southtown. I got my check card out of my bag and put it in my pocket so I could use it at the first B-Cycle station I found.
When I got to the B-Cycle station, however, my check card wasn’t there; I had lost it somewhere! As I pulled out another card to rent the bike (and thought about how annoying losing a check card is), another incredibly friendly duo of women walked up and asked for my first name, then my last name. I responded, and they handed over my check card! They had found it, figured it was probably mine (because I had passed them about 10 minutes prior), and they caught up with me to return it! They had also run a race that morning, so I can’t imagine the effort it took for them to not only bend down to pick it up (ouch!), but to catch up and then find me around a corner just moments after I had realized I lost my card. Oy!
I thanked them profusely. I shook their hands. I thanked them profusely again!
I rented the bike, hopped on it, and took to the streets of San Antonio once more. By this time, the streets that were closed earlier for the race were open. I cruised through Southtown on the way back to my office with the full purchasing power of my check card placed securely in my backpack.
I pedaled hard, thinking about how today was measured in friendly faces and friendly coincidences, not distance and time. I stopped at a red light to turn left at my office, and two motorcyclists pulled up just behind me.
I looked back at them and nodded that nod that I assume all brands of cyclists share when they are within talking distance of one another. One of the motorcyclists nodded back. She then smiled and said, “It’s a beautiful day!”
Indubitably, I thought, and then replied,
“Yup, today was a good day.”