Friday, September 5, 2008

The Half-Marathon Story

By all rights, I should be washing my car, but I am devoted to you, dear readers. Know that in my life's priority system, you rate above dead bugs. You're welcome.

First of all, near disaster on my first long distance running event was averted when I remembered to pack my new running shoes. For some reason, I almost totally spaced and left them at home. My excuse is that I usually dress for a race at home, and don't have to bring anything to a race. I packed my water back pack because I fully intended to carry it in the race, and of course, my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of gum mi bears. I was really feeling stressed about the race. I do not know why because I had already decided to run it as a training exercise, and not try to go on an ego trip although I was enticed by the fact that there were only 8 or 9 women in my age group running the half. I could imagine myself placing and becoming Pocatello (Idaho) famous. That is a little different than world famous, but just as good in a small town.

The trip from Boise to Pocatello took longer than we planned because all traffic stopped for a fire that was trying to cross the road, and a car that did a serious roll across the median. Eventually we met the Race President at the Red Lion Hotel. He was passing out bags of potatoes and gave us four really cool burlap tote bags filled with raw potatoes and dehydrated hash browns. You gotta love potatoes in this state. The natives are friendly and generous.

I think that I got a total of four hours of sleep before we went down for breakfast. My body is on strike, and does what it wants sleep wise. I seem to have no control over this, other than drinking Diet Pepsi to stay awake in the day time. Yes, I have gone back to caffeine, the drug of choice of sleep deprived women.

I decided at the last minute not to carry my water pack, but to trust that volunteers would provide water, but for some idiotic reason I carried my gummi bears and peanut butter sandwich for the entire 13.1 miles. I don't like the Goo product line, so the gummis actually were very useful energy boost, but the sandwich ended up completely squished and unrecognizable by the time that I tossed it to Mr. Sinta near the end of the race.

Mr. Sinta dropped me off at the bus stop for the runners where I met up with some of the members of my team. The bus drove us for a gruesomely long time. I kept thinking to myself, that this absolutely has to be much, much longer than 13.1 miles. The buses stopped in the middle of nowhere next to a row of about ten potties. If you ever have to go to nowhere, you can take comfort in the fact that they will have plenty of potties. I ended up about tenth in line. When I was second in line, the bus officials told us that there were three minutes until the race started. If there had been a bladder race, I could have won. That is all I will say. My running partner and I made it to the start line with about 45 seconds to spare.

We ran the country course along farms and up and down rolling hills in relatively humane temperature, but with constant sunshine. The only shade in 13.1 miles was the .1 at the end. A special unplanned feature of this race was the pair of turkeys in the middle of the road at about mile 3. Before this, I did not know how LARGE turkeys could get. Only they know why they were in the middle of the road. One lane was reserved for the runners, and the other lane had plenty of cars in it, so we maneuvered carefully around the birds.

TR and I ran together for about 90% of the race. Both of us were missing our actual running partners who did not travel to Pocatello. Our coaches advised us to run only as fast as we could run and still talk. In order to keep a good pace, I make conversation while I am running. Since I ask a great deal of questions, I get to know the people that I run with fairly well, at least on an informational level. I did not know TR at all, so I asked her to tell me about her life. She was pretty brief, a trait I know that Mr. Sinta has wished for 28 years that I would develop. When she was done, TR asked about my life. I was able to share my experience with Jesus, how I was born again. I also had the opportunity to clearly share the gospel, that when Christ died on the cross, He did it for all of us, to pay the penalty for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life in Heaven with Him when we die. She was politely interested and even asked a question before we moved on and talked about other things. It is funny to me that I did not orchestrate or even expect an chance to share something of so personal a nature, but I enjoyed talking with her, and hearing about her life as well.

Mr. Sinta drove my yellow car and parked beside the road about halfway through the course to cheer us on. While he was waiting for us he was embarrassed by how many women told him that they liked his car. He pointed out to all of them that it was his wife's car. In Idaho, men are not supposed to drive VW bugs. They drive big man trucks, like Mr. Sinta.

When we got to about mile 12, TR decided to walk, and I did not want to walk, even though I was running to train, so I got ahead and crossed the finish line first. I have no place to boast about this race, but I did run the race and finish the race.

A very kind-hearted photographic service took all of our individual portraits as we were running across the finish line, and it is on line for anyone to see. I could down load it for free. I won't because I do not look like marathon runners are supposed to look, and it is too disappointing. I guess that I thought that anyone who could run a half marathon would be really trim looking. It is just not true. As long as you are willing to carry an extra thirty pounds over the finish line, there is no one there to stop you! Sad, but true. Fat people can run.


Todd said...

Congratulations on completing the race!

Mrs. Sinta said...

Thank you very much.

Airport Gal said...

Gosh! I just marvel at people who will run! I'm very unathletic, have never been very interested nor very talented in this area! So, way to go!

bristowmom said...

Wow - Congratulations! I can ride an exercise bike for 15 minutes...

I'm impressed.