The Day After

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It’s over, is mostly what I can say. I crossed the finish line at somewhere like 3:10. It was not pretty, not PR, but I was determined. I ended up walking about 2/3 the route– ran the first 2 miles, but ti was pretty apparent my shins were going to complain loudly.

And they are today, could barely walk until I got some ice and aspirin.

But rewind to yesterday. It was cold at 5:00 AM leaving the house. Not just an Arizona, faux winter chilly, it was 27 freaking degrees on the truck’s thermometer. Still feeling a know tin my calf, I thought of bailing, but also thought of the excitement, and writing less than 24 hours ago about how determined I was.

So, I got to ASU darn early, almost too early, as the main parking lot north of the stadium, has still more than half empty. I just relaxed in the truck for maybe 25 minutes, watching all the others bundle up, run back to their cars for forgotten items.

Time to go to the buses. What a surprise, and empty seat next to another Team D runner. We get downtown at 6:30, still dark, and time to kill before the Team D photo at 7am. How do the guitar players move their fingers this early?

The Tylonel I am taking is not having much effect, so although I hear suggestions, otherwise, I pop a few ibuprofen. Later, that does work, and I take a few more during the route.

First bathroom break- long lines already… tio, go past the long one on the end, where everybody falls into line. There are shorter ones towards the middle. Back in time for our group photo– what a big excited Team-D! Wish luck to the marathon runners leaving at 7:40am.

I walk down and get in line for a free sports massage. Talk to a guy from London, who has an afternoon flight home after the race. Crazy. The massage feels great, but they avoid working my sore calf muscle since they say it could lock up in the cold.

Time for bathroom trip round 2. Longer lines. Now a bit after 8, and the first bits of lovely sunlight break over the taller buildings. Grab a sliver in a parking lot, and begin organizing what goes on my and what goes in the gear bag. Get braver, remove the outer long pants and bare the legs in shorts. Not bad in the sun, worse in the shade.

Drop the gear off, and head for the starting corrals on Jefferson. Find the other red shirted Team D half marathoners. Fortunately, Corral 14 is in the sunlight! The announcements come that there is a delay at the start…. what can it be? Broken down bus? Oh well. We are shuffling forward towards the start.

And then we go. Ouch, I go out at a slow run, and can sense it will not be a pleasant few hours on this course. Turn north on 7th Ave. The first big sign I see is a huge banner:

YOU ARE ALL GOING TO HELL! REPENT AND FIND JESUS!

I tihnk hell must be in Tempe, cause that’s where us 25,000 sinners are headed. There were more than a few of these, provide some chuckles along the way. Still cold, a few people are already shedding sweatshirts and gloves– folks from Goodwill are collecting them to give away. A few times some runners go to the sidelines and grab something someone else has dropped before– once a girl dashed over, grabbing a sweatshirt almost before it hit the ground.

I check my time at one mile- 10:40, a bit surprising. Best slow down. This is not going to be a race for me.

Turn east on McDowell. Still running. At two miles, 23:06. After another half mile, time for a walk break. Run into Coach Dave, who takes a photo, though I doubt I was smiling. I am into walk mode for the rest.

It all goes in a blur, not really stopping, and where possible, trying to fast pace it. With time, the proportion of walkers to runners slowly increases. It’s still darn cold, especially in the shadowy underpasses below the freeway crossings.

Walk past a favorite restaurant on Van Buren- wish I could drop in for some ribs:
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Honeybears, Yum!

but why that when I can eat gel?

Down Van Buren as it curves and becomes Mill. When is that darn bridge going to get here?

Cross the bridge over Tempe Lake. Cool, they have re-routed it so we go north of A Mountain and enter the north side of the Stadium. Lots of folks cheering, bend to the south, and finally it is there! The finish!

Head right to the medic and have them plastic wrap some ice to the leg. Have to give all kinds of info to get aspirin. Weird. Data gathering.

And its done. Sign out one last time at the Team-D tent, find the truck, and weave and snake north through the side streets to find a way across the race route. Scottsdale is closed at McDowell, Thomas, but get north on 68th across Camelback, and I am home free.

And that was yesterday.

2 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. I’m glad to see you enjoyed the signs too. As my cousin said, “At least in hell we’d be warmer.”

    Congratulations on the race!

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