Short of tripping myself, I’ve done everything possible to stall today’s 11-mile run. I’m nervous about my foot, I know, and so I’ve just delayed, delayed and then delayed. At 10am, I was ready to go and then decided that I simply MUST run up to Garry Gribble’s Running Sports to get a fuel belt and the Yurbuds I’ve been wanting with the 3-button mic (thanks again TiffeeG and family and my parents for the gifts!). I couldn’t find the cap to my old trusty Camelbak bottle (lost in the move, I guess) and couldn’t go running that far without hydration, right? And I’ve been dying to get my hands on a 3-button mic cord so I can adjust the volume on my songs, which is critically important for a successful run, right?
I came home, geared up and stepped outside feeling like a complete dork with my pink Nathan fuel belt on…and the wind is howling! Now, the wind sucks on short runs, but it can really make you miserable on long slow runs. I decided that I simply MUST come back inside to check the weather and see if the wind will abate in the next few hours.
OMG, look at the time! 11:00 already! I can’t go running for two hours without more food. I simply MUST eat! It’s essential, right?
So here I sit eating banana bread and stalling. The plan now is to leave the house by noon. I will do it, I just haven’t found my mojo yet, and I’ll take this time to describe today’s famous runner.
It’s Neil from England.
Oh, I’m sorry–do you not know Neil? That’s right…he’s only famous to me. He is famous to me because I ran close to him in the Geneva, Switzerland half marathon in 2011, and because HH caught a couple of pics of him–one in particular that captured Neil’s essence.
He doesn’t exactly look like he’s got himself together, does he? Hmmm. See me back behind Neil? This pic was taken around Mile 11–I was dying and heel-striking like a true tired runner with deformed feet.
I saw Neil that day, and I’ve never forgotten him. I came up on him that May morning and thought, “What the #$^k?”! Here’s this guy in a Hanes undershirt, looking like he’s got at least twenty years on me, and he’s kicking my ass? He looks like a hack, and he’s in front of me? I really wanted to throw in the towel, especially because I couldn’t take him. I was just too tired.
(I was also grossed out…you see a lot of things in European races. Check out this bonus pic from that day…love those Union Jack boyshorts, guy!)
Here’s another pic of Neil…on the right hand side of the pic in the high ankle socks. I am struggling to catch up but completely out of energy (I later realized that I had busted out several sub-8:00 miles earlier in the race, which explained things). I am passing off my water bottle to my sweet Alex, who is running along and encouraging me…Max was just behind me but out of the pic. I also was telling myself that I would never run another race of any kind ever again, while feeling sympathy pains for the dude on the left who had clearly just hurt himself.
I was cursing myself and Neil at this point. I figured that he must have started ahead of me (I took 4 minutes to cross the starting line), but still! I was completely hacked off by Neil.
I know that you never know what people are capable of and shouldn’t compare yourself to other runners and all that crap, but he haunted me that day…so much so that I looked him up when I got home.
I was a little relieved, but not much. Yes, he started ahead of me, and yes, he finished with a slower time, BUT he was only twelve years older AND his time was only two minutes behind mine.
Neil, you shall be famous to me forever…a true inspiration. I hope that you are still running and that you finally invested in some moisture-wicking gear. I’d hate to see you get bloody nipples.
Almost noon…time to restart the launch sequence. Go to the bathroom, stretch, gear up, etc.–keeping my fingers crossed that all the icing and medicine application have helped. Here’s to 11 miles!