Abi and I took off Thursday morning for Baltimore. I was armed with a backpack stuffed with toys, books, PSP loaded with Elmo, and diapers. I was prepared. Armed. Together. Then Abi started in with another bad fever about 30 minutes into the flight and she slept the entire way there on my lap. We touched down and after simultaneously picking up my packet and chatting with Abi’s doctor, I realized a trip to urgent care was unavoidable. Byron carted us all around town and we finally got Abi seen. The doc said it was just a viral infection she had on top of her strep, and it could last a few days. Two sleepless nights later, it was race morning. Wes got into town Friday afternoon and he stayed in Arlington with Abi so she could rest, so it was just me meeting my parents and Amy at the running festival. (In case you’re worried, Abi’s fever completely broke by Monday morning and she is fine and healthy).
We got Amy to the race start of the 5K and sent her on her way, right near Camden Yards. Then we headed to the finish line to wait for Amy’s finish. Amy looked really happy as she crossed the line. We immediately lost her in the enormous sea of people.
We tried to find Amy but couldn’t. Dad and I had to run over to my start about 4 blocks away. I jumped into my start pen about one minute before we started running! I looked up and saw Amy there too before we took off. It was amazing, I think there were 10,000 people in my race and I don’t know that I ever had any pacing problems. Everyone was polite and chatty as we wound our way through the city streets. The whole course was REALLY hilly – we didn’t go by the harbor at all. Blocks and blocks were completely closed to traffic and we ran on as the traffic lights turned yellow, red, then green again. I felt great the first 8 miles, considering how our week had gone! I was right on pace for running about 1:48 total. Then….mile 9, walk break, exhaustion set in, legs were tired. I didn’t have to exert any mental energy into my breathing like I usually do, but my legs were plain old tired. I decided to just enjoy the rest of the race and not focus too much on my finish time. The neighborhoods lining the last 4 miles really came alive. People were standing on the yellow line high-fiving, serving platters of gummy bears, yelling “almost there!”, with impromptu water stations set up along the road. The frenzy continued to grow all the way to the finish line, except for our brief dash through Camden Yards. Looking down on the ball field was pretty fun, although everything hurt so bad by then it was hard to really take it in.
I missed Wes and Abi, but it was so great to meet up with Mom, Dad, and Amy after the race and get some lunch. So, did I meet my time goal? Not even close. But you know what? I really, truly don’t care. As I was running I had a lot of time to think. And I was surrounded by lots of other runners. When I came to the realization of what my finish time would be, I thought “well – that’s just an average time.” Then I looked around me – the people I was running with were anything but average. Average isn’t running 13 miles, or 26, or at all. Average isn’t continuing to do something even though you won’t ever make any money at it. Average isn’t being in better shape after a baby than you were before. Average isn’t the many 50-plus runners that passed me. Nothing about that experience was average. It was about so much more than finish time, and as I crossed the line I felt a deep sense of satisfaction with not only that race but the entire racing season that it ended. I know where I need to put in my work, and I know that life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. And I don’t want it to be any other way.
I might stop posting race results on here completely – as far as placing or times, and just post a different kind of results like I did for this race. We will see.