Monday, October 8, 2012

Back to the Beginning: BAA Half Marathon, Halftoberfest Part 2 (10/7/12)

SRR's of all ages handing out finisher medals

"I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have."
-Inigo, Princess Bride

Race: BAA Half Marathon
Location: Boston, Franklin Park, the Zoo and Emerald Necklace
Goal Time: 1:40:00
Actual Time: 1:35:39

In the turn with about 150 yards to go, I opened it up to full throttle. I knew the two guys behind me had really good kicks and it would be all it took to beat them.  The slow building sprint that I had started was all out now.  Every step in my life had led to this moment.  This was the culmination.  I held on as Hector and I each opened on Chucky and the previous 10 minutes of lead were not wasted as I just out ran Hector the whole way.  Immediately 
the Herald reporter was asking me questions and I was handed a first place medal (and a fifth place medal for the shotput)...

That was of course the last time I was on this track: 20 years ago at the Boston City High School Championships.  Sunday brought it back to the beginning.  So I have, back to Franklin Park to the 2nd Stage in Halftoberfest and the 2nd Half Marathon of the weekend - The BAA Half Marathon.  I finished on the same track I'd run so many times next to the same field I'd played upon so many times.  My club was in charge of handing out finisher medals. So as I came across the line,  Urvi emerged from the pack.  She gave me my finisher medal and a kiss.  And there I got to unite another place with another shared memory with her...

The BAA Half course is very much another coming home event like the Hub on Wheels.  It starts from in front of the Giraffe Entrance to the Zoo, out along Arboway, Jamaicaway, and Riverway and back.  Then through Franklin Park, by the Shattuck and the Golf Course and then through the Zoo.  The last mile takes you out of the Zoo and around my old football practice field and into my old football and track haunt - White Stadium, to sprint the last 150 or so yards around the track.

As it might surprise you to hear, the second half marathon in a weekend (I ran Applefest on Saturday) - hurts.  By mile two I realized there would be very few miles that were 6 somethings. (I think only 1, 6 and 13 were, in fact, the only ones under 7 minutes.)  Neil Cronin - who I'd worked with years ago when we both smoked and before we ran again - passed me at 2 and we chatted a bit.  

By the five mile mark I felt like I had reached the 30km point of a marathon and had to fight through it to finish.  (Perhaps not so oddly, this was around the 30km point of the weekend).  Fortunately it was part of the out and back and downhill.  I was briefly able to zone out of running by cheering people on coming up to the turn around.

We passed by Forest Hills on the overpass (ridiculous running the overpass by the way) and reentered Franklin Park right at the 9 mile mark.  I looked at my watch and realized I was guaranteed to finish faster than 1:40 basically.  I  pulled in the throttle a bit and headed out to finish in 7:45s the rest of the way.  There was another turnaround about 10.25 miles.  Here my coasting dream was shattered.  I saw Matt Noyes coming and realized he was waaaay closer than the 5 mile turn around.  Shit.  

So, I picked it up.

Coming out of the zoo at the 12 mile mark, I knew what and how to run this last mile.  Every step was one I had taken a million times in either football cleats or waffle flats - or mostly both.  I stepped in the ghosts of my own self.  The self before my wasted 20s.  The self before I had virtually ruined my life.  The self of those final fitful joyful days in the Spring of life.  I was able to channel that long ago past with my current training.

The entrance to the stadium was the 13 mile mark.  After almost unconsciously turning right down the track, I went CORRECTLY left.  I kept my eyes on the football yard markers on the walls like I always had.  I outsprinted two people from the entrance to the finish line.  I finished with some Deion high-stepping into the aforementioned kiss from Urvi.

Later Matt said that he should make sure to race me every time I'm running my second half marathon.  That's the way he can keep up and maybe beat me.  But, really, once those ghosts of yesterday joined with my exercise of day to help exorcise some of those demons from that wasted ruined middle years, he never had a chance.  Maybe on another track in another stadium in another park...

I finished with a combined time of 3:09:40 marathon for the weekend.

SRR shoutouts

- Men's Team 2nd Place overall
- Women's Team 2nd Place overall
- Bradley Harris had a PR to lead the men's team and lock up 10th in the Distance Medley (only like 45 minutes away from beating Kiprono for that $100,000)
- Megan Hyland had a PR to lead the women's team, finished in 5th in the Medley and in 11th place missed the $300 for 10th in the race by one minute.
- Seth Maleri, Anthony White (my brother for the day) and Brendan Cafferey all had awesome PRs on the men's side
- Amy Dierberger, Korynn Stoyanoff and Sarah Bolt all had awesome PRs on the women's side.

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