Friday, March 07, 2008

Ok... Recap time (finally)

Thanks, Holden, for being the first to toss out the “chip joke”.

This morning I got the e-mail from Brightroom that the photos from the event were posted.  I clicked the link and entered my bib number and to my great horrified surprise there was NO PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE that I was even at the event.

 

I was there, I assure you.  I couldn’t walk normal for 2 days.  I was most definitely there.

 

So, I start clicking through the lost and found pictures and sure enough, there I was a few photos past number 615.  It looks like the shots were taken as I’m exiting the viaduct, which means I was hurting and hurting badly—and you can tell.  The last 2 shots are at the finish line and I look like I’m feeling A LOT better at that point.

 

Here’s how the run went…

We saddle up and head off to the race with the intent of getting there close to 9 and before 9:30.  We park, load gear, and head off to the train…  which leaves as we approach the platform.  An ominous feeling begins to grow in my gut, but I dismiss it and we settle in to wait.

 

10 minutes later (and after a great conversation with a fellow visiting from Montreal) the next train arrives.  [An aside…  The fellow from Montreal asked “where can I shop downtown?”  we say “not a lot of shopping on the weekends… there’s Macy’s and maybe the Park Shops Mall, but I think it’s closed on the weekends.  Lots of parks, today there’s a parade, baseball games, and a carnival on the other end of the line at Reliant.  Spend some time, meet some people, have a good, relaxed day.”  “No shopping?”  What’s with the shopping?  “Don’t think there’s a lot, but you can always make it out to the Galleria.  It’s a big, fancy mall with skating rink and restaurants…  it’s fun to window shop even if you don’t buy anything.”  “Can I take the train there?”  “Not yet, but soon we’ll have it extended out there.”  “Really?  The train doesn’t go all over town?”  No…  our forward thinking, civic minded, turds in congress Mr. DeLay and Culberson have ensured that, thank you very much.  Rant off.]

So, we’re on the train slowly rolling downtown.  9:15 clicks by.  9:30…  we get to the Preston station sometime between 9:30 and 9:40.  My lovely wife settles in to a spot on Travis and I pull off the warm-ups and pin on the number just as the first runners are coming by.

 

Ugh.

 

Kiss, kiss…  run the wrong way along the sidewalk, behind the crowd, towards the starting line.  Periodically I stop and consider whether it’s even worth bothering to get there, and periodically I decide to press on to the start line.  Dodge, weave, spin, and make my way through the crowd.  Oh, and to the lady on Texas who was blocking the sidewalk with her baby carriage and telling people they’re “just going to have to go around” or find another way and then yelling at me when I go in front of her to get around her, I don’t know if you heard me Saturday when I told you then, but you’re a bitch.  Piss off.  It would have taken zero effort to not block the entire walkway.  There was plenty of space on either side of you and if you’re weren’t trying to bogart far more space than you needed fewer people would have been calling you a bitch on Saturday.

I finally get to the starting line (still a crowd of 5k walkers) and start asking where the chips are.  They’re packed up, that’s where they are.  So, I decide to run “for fun”, whatever the hell that means.

I start running and when I get to where I dropped my lovely wife and beautiful child at the parade route, I stop and give my lovely wife the traditional running kiss, I explain the sitch and head off again.  This apparently put my beautiful child into fits because I didn’t acknowledge him.  He fussed for 5 minutes repeating “dada?  Dada?  Dada?”  Lesson learned, son.  If I’m ever stupid enough to do this again I’ll acknowledge you on the route as well.

Somewhere near the 1.5 or 2 mile mark is where traffic diverted for the first time between the 10k and the 5k.  I had to make a decision right then and there to do the 5 or 10k runs.  I closed my eyes (yes, literally) and veered toward where I thought the 10k was and, much to my delight, discovered I wasn’t the only one that far in the back of the pack.  I was feeling a little better, and getting thirsty.

 

We kept rolling and the paths merged again, but I had yet another decision to make where the 10k and 5k again diverged.  To the right was the finish line for the 5k (which would have been something less than 3 miles), straight ahead was the Viaduct and the rest of the 10k.  Again, I closed my eyes to eliminate temptation and ran forward, peeking only periodically to look down and make sure I wasn’t stomping  on little kittens or puppies or babies or something.  I get through the intersection and again am quite pleased to see that I’m not the last runner.  In fact, as I look ahead to the viaduct (which is more up than down, by the way) I see a tremendous crowd not too far ahead.  I soon realize that they’re only that close because they’re going uphill and I have no hope of catching them whatsoever.  There were 2 “rabbits” that I could see like beacons on the horizon who were wearing bright, fluorescent orange shirts.  I resolved myself to catch them at some point.

 

We hit the viaduct and the running comes to a screeching halt.  I don’t have the chops to run up that thing yet.  The sporadic walking I was doing became mostly walking up the inclines of the viaduct.  On the other side I start chatting with another runner who ran the marathon in January and was stunned at how hard this 10k was.  Somewhere on the downhill side of the viaduct some kid in a blue shirt passed me.  The only reason it bugged me was because he had distinctive love handles and a considerable back-butt (exact opposite of front-butt, it’s that flap of fat around the waist that looks like an ass above your ass) that looked like a fanny pack flopping around back there.  I resolved to catch that back-butt having turd because he passed me so easily.

 

We head through the neighborhood and I begin to close in on one of the rabbits in orange.  I catch her very slowly, and then quickly pass her.  There is a guy who was trailing right behind me who seemed hell bent on hanging on to my heel, and he passed her with me, then passed me, but then ran out of gas and I blew past him before I ran out of gas.  I walked for a block and picked up the pace never to see those two again.  I start chugging along next to another lady who I chatted with for a couple of blocks, then challenge to race to the top of the viaduct.  She said “are you crazy?”  I said, “yea, probably, but it beats walking.”  She accepted the challenge and hung with me through the first water stand at the base of the ‘duct, then faded away and I lost her.  I still had to walk most of the ‘duct.

 

Up the hill and over the rise was the second rabbit that I had resolved to catch, plus Mr. BackButt.  I was closing on another pair of runners, one of whom was having entirely too much fun this far in the back of the pack on a 10k.  She was jumping around, waving her arms, and having a grand old time.  I muttered under my breath “I’m so going to catch and beat her”.  Over the second rise I catch the second rabbit, who was (as near as I can guess) somehow connected to the first rabbit.  He had a little walkie on his belt that was allowing him to keep in contact with (I’m guessing) her.  Cool, I passed a whole team.

 

Somewhere before the third rise I pass Ms. Havingtoomuchfun.  About a block later she would be permanently in my rearview mirror.  Mr. BackButt was the next target and I caught him right in front of Minute Maid.  He was permanently behind me when we turned onto Texas.  In the final stretch I managed to pass up on more couple and felt surprisingly good after that horrific stretch on the ‘duct.  I really was struggling through the middle 3 miles of the run, with more walking than running being done, but on the downside of the ‘duct I think I ran more than I walked, which I’m ok with.

 

All in all, 6.2 miles, 1:19:xx  Not a bad run, all things considered.

 

Then the fun began.

 

Due to a parade lasting longer than was entirely necessary and than either me or my lovely wife expected, there was considerable miscommunication between us.  She wasn’t under the overpass near the finish, not at the finish line, not at the finish chutes, not at the info table, not at the med-tent.  We had discussed meeting at the train across Texas from the park, but she wasn’t there.  I went from the train to the table twice looking for my lovely wife—nothing.  Call her phone from the table—it’s off.  I wait at the booth until they start breaking down the festival grounds and make my way back to the rail line along Texas.

 

Unbeknownst to me, my lovely wife was heading the opposite direction—TOWARDS ME—at the same time along Preston, one block to the south.  She made it to a medical emergency where someone was having what looked like a heat related incident about 5 minutes before me.  When she was at the info booth, I was at the train station about to hop a ride south to the car in the Museum District.  When she was at the station—the same station as me—I was arriving at the car (where the afore mentioned cell phone is sitting securely in the cup holder) and settling in to wait.  When she was on the train heading south, I was deciding that something was very wrong and getting on the train to head to St. Joseph’s emergency room to be sure she hadn’t been brought in due to some sort of horrific accident.  When I’m leaving a message on her phone, she’s passing the Metro Transit Station in south downtown.  When she’s getting off the train, I’m getting on the train heading north to Bayou Place, the start of the run, where she might be looking for information on what horrible fate may have befallen me during the run.  As I’m standing at the spot on the parade route where my lovely wife and beautiful child were on Travis, she’s arriving at the car.  I see no blood or anything, so nobody busted their head on the pavement, and I head to Bayou Place, where I finally can make a call to the cell phone she’s finally turned on and awaiting my signal.  3 hours after the run, and after several miles of walking, two hungry and exhausted lovers meet back up (with their baby) and can finally ride off into the sunset. 

 

Next time we’ll just meet at the damn car.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Breda said...

Just think of the upside. Being the 8th you are 28 miles behind... not quite yet a full month (for a leap year that is).

6:29 PM  
Blogger WalkSports.com said...

Congrats on finishing! Somewhere I smell a runner coming back ... which would be great! It's been long time, no see.

9:56 PM  

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