I finished the race, ran the course, and
obtained the prize.
Yes, I actually got a medal. Well everyone got a medal that finished the 15k Gate River Run this past Saturday. The weather was perfect. The sun was bright. The crowd of runners, over 17,00, was pumped.
Mark, Wanda's son, and Kaleb his friend, and I rode down to EverBank Field at 7 AM and got in line with the thousands. Wanda, Julie, Mark's family, and Haley, Kaleb's fiancee went with us. We had eaten a light breakfast, done some stretching, and warmed up.
It is quite a thrill to line up and push yourself for a 9.3 mile run. The crowd was ready and the announcer started the race. The cannon misfired so we took off by the announcer simply saying, "Go!"
Well, when there are 17,000 runners waiting to start, nobody moves. It was a few minutes before I started running and crossed the starting line. I ran with the thousands slowly for a mile or so and then it began to thin just slightly.
After running about 42 minutes, a guy on the side of the road yelled, "The race is over!" Just forty minutes, and the race was won. I had an hour of running left to do. So I kept running.
Every mile they had bands playing and the streets were lined with people cheering you on. Water was offered every mile or so by volunteers and people who were just trying to be kind. You have to hydrate going into the race, and you need some water throughout the race too.
I ate Gu Chomps, a pure performance energy chew, every 30 minutes and then just before trying to climb the Hart Bridge. They work.
The Hart Bridge is the last mile of the race. Wow! That is tough to do. You run 8 miles, and then have to climb this steep, long bridge. But I did it! I made it. I did quit, throw up, and I finished ahead of over 8,000 other runners. That put me into the first half of runners.
So, why would a 61 year old man do this? I wanted to get back into better physical shape. I wanted to prove I could do it. I wanted to run with the young bucks again. I hope to do it all over next year and beat my time for this year.
How long did it take? By my watch I ran from the starting line to the finish line in 1 hour and 42 minutes or so. I was hoping to have a faster run, but the crowd of slower runners in front of me made it hard to weave through. I just settled in an ran the pace that was comfortable without having to crash through. That's my story.
That's me with my hands raised preparing to cross the finish line. Praise the Lord!