Sunday, December 10, 2006

Before...and After

This is your Tucson Half Marathon 1:12-1:13 pack at about 5 miles into the race.Here's the same pack a few miles later, just after the screw has been turned by my friend and nemesis Dan, who is leading.

I love competing, and I've run long enough to pay attention to this early "sorting out" during a race. The bus is pulling out of the station here, Dan is driving, and if you don't grab the rail and hold on here you're most likely thumbing a ride by yourself for the rest of the day. This is why Dan is the winner of the Grand Prix.

These guys were turning out steady 5:30's, even with chronically misplaced mile markers, and they were all duking it out for 4th place. On a good day I might have found myself in the mix with these guys, but with this race falling one week after my marathon I found myself acting as cheerleader/photographer/split-taker instead. I had three friends in this pack, and I really enjoyed following the race by car. I'd drive ahead of them, park, then jump out and cross four lanes of traffic in a sprint with my camera to catch the action, all the while minding the watch and calculating overall pace for the guys I knew. I picked up discarded snotty gloves and yelled encouragement along the way as a only a jealous would-be runner can.

A few times during the race I ran alongside Lucas for 400 meters or so, and I noticed that the soreness and stiffness in my calf and piriformis was finally relenting. I'm feeling good again, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the next week of easy running. Come the end of January I'll see these guys again, and this time I'll be wearing a bib on my chest instead of a camera.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for you. Way cool to watch all the moves and strategy that the other spectators have no clue about.

Great to hear your leg is doing better! I bet your cheers really helped to move them along!

Elephant Trunk said...

Mike,

Thanks again for coming out and supporting everyone. It's awesome having people out there cheering. No prisoners were taken.

p.s. got any pictures of the 25th place finisher? I hear he is pretty hot.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on coming 2nd in the Grands Prix series, though I did notice that Jason's points per event are outstanding; it looks like he would have won easily if he had run more than 5 races.

Is there a reason why you're not listed in to 30-39 age group? You should have won that one by quite some margin, but you're not in that list.

Mike said...

Thanks Dusty, it really was fun. E-Trunk, for some reason the only photos I have of you are one with Dan at the start milling around and one with you yawning before the start. I'll put it on Dragons if Blax will let me.

Thomas, Jason spent most of the fall running cross country for the University of Arizona, which is what kept him from competing in more events for the Grand Prix. He was either the winner or on the podium for every event he was able to work in around the season and surely would have crushed all comers and been crowned champion had he not run for school. The way the rules go, I stay in the "overall" category unless I drop out of the top three, so no "double-dipping" for prizes. I expect some nice shoelaces for my efforts.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Giving back is important, whether it's formal, as a race volunteer, or as a cheerleader. Glad to hear the leg is doing better.

Elephant Trunk said...

yeah, I was pretty tired at the start.

Phil said...

Great job on the photos. What a treat.