What? Back in Pasadena only a few short weeks after the Rose Bowl Half?? But why? Simple, I re-discovered at the last minute that even though I had known about it but had forgotten about it, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series was in town… and as I looked closely, saw that they hand out some bitchin’ medals at their races.
This was my first Rock ‘n’ Roll race, but it will absolutely not be my last. And now, most importantly, many people, more than usual lately in fact, had made sincere and heartfelt #run3rd dedications. I wanted to honor them in the way I am accustomed to. And so, as it turned out, even though I knew it but had stupidly forgotten, TWO count them TWO #run3rd Team Captains, @andreabarber and @captainstewie would be leading the way through the famed streets of the New Year’s Rose Bowl Parade. Of course, the brilliant #run3rd Team Captain @Leahmari11 was also on hand to REPRESENT!!! Plus, there were the simultaneous international exploits of @Voxpax2 in Canada. It just had to happen.
So, I popped into the expo on Saturday and coincidentally happened into an old friend Bob Babbitt who I met many many years ago at the Malibu Mini-Triathalon. On that day my trainer, Kurt Broadhag and I were privileged to team up with 8yr old Rudy Garcia-Tolson. He swam, I ran and Kurt biked. The thing is that Rudy is a double amputee. I carried him from the ocean to the bike area. Such an inspiration. He’s an old old man now [not really, he's 24!], a sponsored triathlete and everything. [Read more about Rudy and Sean here.] Well, Bob and I met back up in Pasadena and had lots of fun.
I accomplished negative splits. In long distance running, this is a great thing. I ran the second half of the race faster than the first. I had officially signed up with a projected finished time of 2:30 or something, base on two factors, my previous half marathon times in the preceding weeks (2:39 and 2:27) and the fact that I had run a 19 mile training run on Tuesday. I wasn't sure if I’d be recovered yet. (The long distance training route has to do with prepping for the LA Marathon on March 17th.)
Well, I had gotten my leg treatments for my Achilles, and everything fell into place. The 11th mile was excruciating for some reason; it was preceded by a steep down hill section, which counter intuitively makes the post-easy bit feel harder, plus I had tried an unfamiliar gel (no sugar or caffeine) and it didn’t work. That was followed by a spectacular last mile (relatively speaking and defying my own expectations). I guess that it was an 8:15 second mile. I did this, at the risk of hurting my Achilles, for two reasons: First, I’m an idiot, and second, I looked at my watch and realized that if I went crazy on the mile I might barely finish faster than 2:15, shattering my projected time.
The hilarious thing is that I ran that mile like a total spaz. My head was titled so far it almost rolled down my back. My arms were flailing, fully extended, side to side like a couple of spasming octopus tentacles. No joke, I closed my eyes for most of it, only blinking them open to make sure that I didn’t crash into anyone and so I’d be sure to make the 90 degree right turn into the finish line. I thank my new nutrition emphasis for my ability to pull it off. My time was 2:14:45.
Then came the best part of the day. I met up at a prearranged spot on the grass, incidentally the first time since #run3rd started that I actually tweeted out an ‘official’ meet up time and place ahead of time…last minute of course, but before the race. Three other #run3rd Team Captains, Andrea, Heather and Leah, sat with me and we just chatted. It was awesome. Because of a little idea I had over a year ago, four people came together for no other reason that to visit. We had running and #run3rd in common, but we just enjoyed a few minutes being. I loved it.
I threw out some ideas and so did the ladies for how to make #run3rd visible at races. Some of the good ones were creating a #run3rd “finishers” medal like the ones the races hand out, making #run3rd pins and those fake tattoos that kids wear at carnivals, setting up a #run3rd booth at races and others. This blog already has templates for people to print out signs and labels to put on race bibs or whatever using the logo. It was quite the cool thing.
Andrea and I have a running bet. I keep under-projecting (not on purpose I swear) my finish times and then sneakily coming in barely ahead of her. It’s a great “rivalry” based on a good new friendship that started at the Hollywood Half last year. By the way, that’s coming up again [April 6] and at least a handful of #run3rd Team Captains will be on hand… Will you be one of them???