So yesterday I did the One America Mini Marathon in Indianapolis, along with about 30, 000 of my closest friends. It was my third Mini.
I've mentioned this before, but let me reiterate: I AM NOT A RUNNER, or any kind of athlete by any definition of the word. My basic race strategy can be summed up in one word (Finish), but this year, I set a goal and calculated what my mile splits needed to be to finish in under 3 hours of running-walking-running-walking. I ran the first part - maybe two or three miles - straight thru to get out of the packs of pure walkers and carve out a little space for myself, then I would pick out a slow walker way in front of me and walk until I caught her. After that walking break, I ran until I passed 50 people. It's hard to count accurately in a crowd that big, but it gave me something to think about and a concrete goal. Everything went pretty well. I knew I had to be at the 9 mile marker at the 2 hour mark to make sure I could make my self-imposed deadline. Surprise - I made 9 miles in 1:58.
If you're a runner, you're laughing by now. I started out doing 15 minute miles a couple of years ago...my average mile yesterday was 13:38... a little progress is better than no progress.
Like I said, everything went great. Then there was the Mile 12 marker. The mile markers are huge electric beacons of hope. I scanned the horizon constantly for the next one throughout the race. The red 12, shimmering in the heat, came into view as we rounded the last right hand turn of the course. I challenged myself to be there by the 2:43 mark, which would give me 17 minutes to cover the last 1.1 miles. I could do that on my slowest of days. My mind scrambled to do all the math problems - What if I couldn't get there until the 2:45 mark? Could I still do it? What if I didn't make 12 until 2:47? Could I run the last whole mile? What if I finish in 3 hours and ONE minute? Then there I was at Mile 12. My watch read 2:43. Then it happened. It started just above my right heel and slowly crept up the entire back of my leg - A CRAMP! BUT I DRANK THE GATORADE! I'm not a real runner! How in the world did I get a cramp? Thank the Good Lord it stayed at a bearable level of crampiness and did not reach full on charlie horse status. It did slow me down quite a bit. It took me 15 minutes to cover that last, dreadful mile and finish in 2:58. Nine whole minutes better than last year. Sixteen whole minutes better than 2007. My goal for 2010? 2:45
I made this doll today. It's me at Mile 12. Sorta. My hair isn't that long and colorful and if it was, it would have been too sweaty to blow in the breeze behind me.