Saturday, August 1, 2009
I Broke 40! (But I Didn't)
The first good news is that I found the PERFECT picture for my "Last Banana Club" blogs, thanks to the Fallen Heroes Race at Tom Brown Park here in Tallahassee today. You'll see it heading up my "Last Banana Club" blogs.
So, I decided to run the "Fallen Heroes" 5K today. This race supports Operation One Voice, which supports the families of wounded and fallen Special Operations Officers. Here is their website: http://www.operationonevoice.org/
I was hoping this would be the race where I would break 40, a milestone on the road to eventually breaking 30. I think I technically did, since it took about 30 seconds to reach the "start" line from the back of the pack and the race was actually 3.27 miles. Fred Deckert guesses I could count it a "39:11" 5K but since the official time is 41:20 that's the one I have to go with.
A couple observations:
1) When you do a race organized by law enforcement and military types, a lot of things get done right. For example, we all received a detailed "pre race" email last night with parking instructions, the timing plan (including color guard at 7:40), and status of tshirt quantities, etc. The email did warn us that the course was going to be longer than 3.1 miles -- it was helpful to have a heads up.
2) This course was marked every quarter mile. What a godsend for pacing. Two thumbs up to whoever took the time to do that!
3) The color guard pre-race was a very appropriate touch. When the singer started singing the Star Spangled Banner, I was so far back I couldn't tell if it was a solo or if she was trying to lead us all in the song. One of my fellow runners belted it out along with her. I still don't know if it was supposed to be a solo or a sing-a-long but I admire the pride my fellow runner showed in proudly singing our nation's song.
4) It is no fun to be one of the "older and/or heavier" people that fellow runners use to motivate their young child to go faster (i.e., surely you can beat that lady). And, true confession, this is a tactic I admit to having used with Wayne Kevin in the past. He's on his own now; it's not nice form to trash talk your fellow back-of-the-packers and I am hopefully past that as a parent.
All in all, it was a lovely day out at Tom Brown (especially the downhill, shady parts). Since my afternoon was spent at Camp Gordon Johnston, where our troops trained in the 40's, my day seems to have been spent contemplating the luxury of running for fun rather than evading enemies.
One more thing before I close out this blog. I realize it is running a little long (pun intended!), but the organizers of today's race shared the following with us in explaining what it is they do:
"The request [for assistance with rental car expenses] was for the family of a female Air Force Special Operations Airman; you'd think as a parent, that your daughter is in the AFSOC, ok, but she's not going to be out with a high-speed shooting teams, instead she'll be in a support role. She's deployed overseas, and after a while she comes down with an illness. The illness moves into her circulatory system (blood), the doctors can't identify illness or how to control it. (kind of sounds like an episode of House). The illness continues to spread and she's medically evacuated home, but doctors are still unable to stop the spread. So a decision is made to amputate your daughters legs (both legs). Decision made, surgery done....... and now no improvement, the disease / illness reappears and continues to spread... finally after some time your daughter loses her battle and life.
Losing a child is not easy and I can't really imagine how one copes, but losing a daughter to an illness not directly related to combat seems especially difficult.
The next time I have what I think is a bad day, I hope to recall what some of our families are really living through."
So, a shortage of bananas at the end of a race is now in clear perspective for me.
I'll "run into" you soon, readers!