Sunday, April 27, 2008

Country Music Half Marathon... 2:00:14

4:45AM came awfully quick! The weather man had predicted rain for the morning and he did not disappoint. The rain was steady but the spirits could not be dampened. After training for hours upon hours, day after day, week after week, for what seemed like forever, race day was here and a little shower would not interfere with the plans. I have never raced in fowl weather. Some have been cold and windy, others hot and muggy, but I never have I experienced a wet, rainy race. How will I react? How will I perform? What will the water and wind and cold do for the race and the runners? The puddles? The roads? So much was added to the pre-race gitters. At one point I remember thinking: "If I can run as fast and steady as my mind is going now, I will be okay!"

Upon arrival to the starting site, the rain was still coming down steady. Again, the weather man had predicted that he showers would end by 7am. As time approached the rains moved out! It was time for me and the other 30,000 runners plus to get serious about the task at hand. So off it goes, the elites take off and the race is on. Being corralled at number 16, it would be another 36 minutes before my turn, so it became a hurry up and wait situation.

Then there it was. All the preparation, all the expectation, all the build up and jitters would finally be put to test. But as I crossed the starting gate, one thought came to mind: "this is just another race... take it as such and you will be alright!"

That's what I did. With every step taken I would be one step closer to realizing my goal. And as with every event past, my goal still very simple; I just want to finish! A respectable time would be nice, better than last year would be awesome. I carry with me Garmin that helps me keep in pace. Not to fast, not to slow... just steady. If I get anxious and push, it'll remind me to slow down. If I get lazy and slow, it reminds me so crank it up a bit. The only other aide I bring with me is my mp3 player. Although I cannot tell you what was playing while I was running, I can tell you that it kept me going.

As the miles passed I began to realize that alll the work leading up to today was paying off handsomly. I hydrated as needed, I fueled as planned. My body was responding as I hoped it would, it was time to push, to see what I had.

Somewhere along mile eleven, give or take, I realized that finishing in two hours, which would be 27 minutes faster than last year, could actually be a reality. I would have to run the last strech of race in under nine minute mile pace. And that I did!

I do not pretend to sit here and tell you that every step taken came without some sort of pain, sometimes physical, sometimes mental... because there was plenty of that throughout. However, the memory of approaching the final stretch towards the finish line, having thousands of cheering supporters helping you through, and amongst those my daughters, wife and her parents, was the ultimate motivator. Again, I was not disappointed, it was everything I had remembered and expected it to be. Unbelievalbe to most, one of my thoughts at that moment was not that I had made it through in two hours flat, it was the thought that I couldn't beleive that the race was over, that it would be a year before I could do this again in front of family and friends.

Have you ever wonder if you can do this? Have you ever wondered if you have it in you to run a race like this? Have you ever wondered if you have the discipline to train and dedicate some of your time to do something as crazy as this? All I can tell you is that it is within all of us. There are people of all walks of life participating, and from what I managed to gather when talking to some of the participants is that we all have one thing in common; the desire to put our mind to something, something we never thought we could do, and doing it! And by a unanimous, albeit unofficial poll, once you do in once, you'll come back again and again.


  1. Big Bro Moe. I wanted you to know that we are all very proud of you. You are an inspiration to us all. As you know, I have been preparing myself for the Grand Canyon hike and can not wait for that trip. I will be stepping my training up a notch and God willing I would like to join you in running the Clearwater marathon. Congratulations on your accomplishment.


  2. I will be right there with you next year dad!!