The morning started off early, cool, breezy and dark- like many running days often do. Searching for my bib #, pants, shoes, grabbing a coffee and banana to-go. I walk towards the noise and crowds quickly building. Nerves and excitement fill the air as the time slowly passes to reach start.
The man behind the mic monotonically rambles on about the usual guidelines and event sponsors to reach the point in which every American sport should start … with our National Anthem. Due to some technical difficulties (the mic man explains) we will be skipping our Anthem going straight into our wave releases (seriously it’s 2017, we probably could have a live recording from an outer space rocket off a cell phone).
(Here enters one of my newest favorite running experiences)
In an overwhelming movement to not start the race without a proper beginning- we sang. First with a quite but sure whisper. The men and women of the streets pushed through charging into a strong and proud roar of “oh say dose that star spangled, banner yet wave”. Climaxing into “and the home of the brace”, most whipping our not so dry eyes as we cheered. It was right and just and completed. Give a crowd of strong, determined, long-distance runners a challenge and we will for sure give you a solution.
Luckily, we would also have plenty of opportunities to recharge on the electrolytes cried out with all the Gatorade stops we would be hitting over the next thirteen miles. And so then, it was go time.
We ran tightly together towards the Island with beaming lights set up periodically and in between barriers. Some fellow friends, family and complete strangers stood shooting and ringing, yes cow-bell’s throughout the course.
I believe the mime was better received towards the end of the race, after the sun had come up and it was light. Hard to take much notice of a hard to see and silent fan. Nonetheless, I did find myself in a bit more awe then usual to the flame throwing juggler (re-read my last post “On Deck” to find the humor). My ridiculous mind pondering old thoughts of being able to tackle that feat- maybe minus the flame part.
We were escaping the island’s grip just in time to see the sun starting to rise behind us. Onto the long, straight and flat corse of our beautiful Bayshore Blvd. With elegantly extravagant homes on our right and the waves crashing in from the bay on our left, we ran further yet. More cheering, bands and parting in the streets with a wide open road just for us.
Hitting the turnaround point in which we travel back towards downtown, there are moments of peace and quiet. Only the sound of branches blowing, feet pounding pavement and your breath to hold the pace. That’s always great. The run in all its glory.
Soon the marker with a running time clock reads 13. Looking up to my surroundings I can see that indeed it is almost over, point one to complete. With the cheering and crowd thickly surrounding us, I kick it in to high gear. Burning off anything and everything I’ve got left. Which turned out to be barely enough to make my half marathon finish just under two hours!
Whaooo – it is finished, another race in the books.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it agin, the best thing about running a half marathon (aside from not having to run anymore)… is meeting up with my crew aka: my family!!!
BTW: finding them in the finishers crowd however is another story!