Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dead Run

I wasn't going to blog about this, but my peeps in blogland have pressured me into writing. I can't keep my nose out of any challenge, and this is a writing challenge at that! A blog a day for 30 days, starting 10/28.

Sunday was the longest race EG and I have ever run. The Pumpkin Run was a 10 miler, 0.7 longer than the Gate (although my satellite GPS device clocked the 10 miler at 10.87). This was run on an early Sunday morning in late October in the Evergreen Cemetery in downtown Jax. There were two races running simultaneously: a huge crowd ran the 5K, and the 10 mile continued thereafter.

Starting off with the 5K crowd, it seemed like it would be a whimsical race. Many pumpkin runners donned their festive orange T's. Others wore costumes. Wonder Woman ran with Superman (did you know they're going together?). We blew by a sixty-something fairy godmother, in spite of her wand and fairy dust. Things were good.

We trudged along at our "long run" tempo, and skipped the turn-off for the finish mats at the 5K mark. Two more loops around the cemetery and we'd hit the big one-oh. The crowd thinned. Running alone through a cemetery on a gloomy October morning, trusting the flimsy race signs placed intermittently between rows of headstones, we hoped we weren't lost. We passed few people. Two ladies, schlepping and chatting among the dead, ran slower than we did. I think maybe they were on ventilators. Occasionally a really speedy runner would zip by in a whir, completing lap two and heading for the finish as we dragged through lap one.

Mile marker seven was at a turn; left to the finish mats, right for the final 3. "Turn left to finish!" the volunteers shouted at us. I shook my head and laughed between my labored breaths, pointing right. For the last three miles we were the sole live beings moving through the cemetery. Even the friendly water station volunteers had deserted their posts, leaving the gatorade-filled cups on the wet tables.

Alone but proud, and just a little more than 2 hours after we started, EG and I crossed the mats to mark the first official ten mile race we completed. There were no fireworks. The crowd didn't go wild. But these two out of shape forty-something parents of a teenager ran ten miles before most people got out of bed that morning.


Cora Spondence said...

Bravo! You guys still amaze me with these runs! Honestly I can envision a time when you are going to talk about running 10 miles the way you talk about walking down your driveway. I'm in awe.

MJ said...

I should have been there for you! See LJ is just going to have to step up his training so the full entourage can be together.

Have I mentioned how much I love your writing? All of your October posts have a sensory appeal that makes me happy and sad all at once--kind of like October does as it signals the true end of summer but the beginning of winter!

JSG said...

I love that you tell me you love my writing! From you, a rather accomplished prose-maker yourself, I treasure those words!

You're right about the mixed feelings of October. It's an end and a start all at once.