Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Running One for the Gipper

Nearing exhaustion he conquered the final hill - struggling to breathe at the top as he entered the final straightaways....and then around the stadium calling on every last ounce of strength as the sun beat down to sap the last reserves of energy. And yet - with extreme courage - he rounded the final bend, overcoming fatigue to accelerate into the tunnel of no return - suddenly to be met by the Fight Song of the Fighting Irish - as he burst into the light of Notre Dame stadium - where thousands of fans rose to their feet to see and acclaim the triumphant finish at the 50-Yard line!
Okay - perhaps a SLIGHT exaggeration - maybe there were only a couple of dozen fans in the stadium - but we did finish there to the strains of the Notre Dame fight song. And maybe it wasn't quite THAT dramatic - but it was pretty warm and I was getting tired! And we'll say it was for the Gipper - his ghosts certainly still roam the sidelines. In any event, half marathon #15 is in the books - the Sunburst Hall of Fame (College Football) to Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Unfortunately, the finish was definitely the highlight. South Bend was really not very impressive - a tired, old mid-western city in need of some lipo or a face lift - and even the campus of Notre Dame wasn't what I would have expected (instead of old buildings shrouded in ivy, almost all of the buildings looked new and although distinctive in their architecture, not particularly impressive). The race logistics and course markings were similarly a bit short of expectations - but hey - we enjoyed it anyway. Certainly no best times in the warmth and humidity, but there were some very scenic sections of the course along the river and through one or two impressive neighborhoods. It was also nice to have Karen's Mom along to help us with Rachel - and we enjoyed the road trip over from Chicago and back.
And what might have been the lessons learned or running thoughts from South Bend? I think they centered around unfulfilled expectations again - but coupled with how we can begin making excuses for our performance very early on. First there was the warmth and humidity; how can anyone really run well in that? Second, there was a shortage of volunteers at one of the first fluid stations, meaning I wasn't able to grab a drink early in the race; who can run a best time without the proper hydration? Thirdly, there weren't mile markers or elapsed time signs along the half-marathon course; how can we know how we are doing and properly pace ourselves in their absence? There is probably a positive and right answer to each of those questions and circumstances, but it is far easier to let them accumulate towards a solid excuse for not quite measuring up to what might have been and perhaps even should have been.
Winners don't need excuses! Perhaps that one came from the Gipper.


Carl & Karen said...

Nice blog, sweetheart. Who's the dude next to you in our picture? The race is over--put your shirt back on already :>)

I like your recaps of our races--thanks for doing them. One more thing though--the medals were pretty lame, as was the post-race food (Austin spoiled us). Love you!

Super Daysh said...

I'm confused. Who is the "gipper"? Sounds like a fun run though and I enjoyed your exaggeration in the beginning. You almost make racing sound cool.....nah. You don't. ;) Go you on completing race #15!

Mythreesons said...

I asked Jared if he would commit to running a 5K with me and he said no. But at least I tried, right? I think it's funny that you enjoyed your Kansas run more than this one. I would have expected more from Notre Dame. Oh well. What's this about post race food? Do they feed you afterwards?
Have fun in Denver this weekend!

The Andersens said...

cool post. definitely very dramatic. :) you should write a book. i'm glad that at least the finish was pretty cool. it sounds like it would've been a rewarding finish. sorry i'm commenting so late in the game. :(
love you lots daddy!