Monday, November 22, 2010

I Survived My First Race as a Run-Walker, and Other Amazing Feats

I'm not quite sure how I managed to do it, but I survived my first race as a run-walker yesterday. I also, apparently, had a sex-change operation and moved in the process, based on the official results above. Not only was it my first race as a run-walker, it was also my very first race where my official pace was under 15 minutes/mile! Not bad for a 47 year old man from Colorado!

Now I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to manage that for an entire 26.2 mile marathon. (The run-walking, not the sex-change!) The running felt good, up to a point. I still feel like an elephant when I run, and I'm not sure why. I don't feel graceful at all! My legs feel like lead. I don't know if it's a physical thing, a mental thing after weighing over 300 pounds for 15+ years, or a combination of both. I'm still not sure that the running thing is for me. The one thing I do know, though, is that I feel a lot more flexible after a run-walk than I have after any of my long walks. I'm nowhere near as stiff afterwards, and I don't walk around looking like my mother before she had both of her hips replaced. Today, I'm a little stiff, but I'm guessing that's because between yesterday and Saturday, I put over 15 miles on my pedometer. I think I'm entitled to be a little stiff.

On another note entirely, I've made an interesting discovery the past few weeks about how some runners view race walkers. Twice in the past three weeks, I've had runners mention how they don't know how race walkers manage stay on their feet as long as we do. It's interesting, because while I know it takes me longer to finish a marathon as a walker, I never thought that runners would see that as an accomplishment. I've always viewed it in terms of me being older and slower and somehow inferior to runners. I never really looked at it as an advantage. I certainly never thought runners saw it that way. Interesting.

I have also, and I may seriously need to have my head examined for this decision, signed up for the annual Ted Corbitt 15K in Central Park on December 19th. Last year, we had temperatures of 10 degrees with a wind-chill of something like 4-below, followed by a snowstorm. For some of my fellow Team In Training friends and I, surviving it last year has become a sort of sick and twisted badge of honor. I still have my shirt from last year's race as a token of my survival. We hated that race so much, that participating this year has become sort of mandatory for the members of what we've begun referring to as the "Cult of TED". If you're anywhere near Central Park on December 19th, come and cheer for us! We will definitely need all the cheering we can get. Last year, my friend Norma and I came in third and fourth from last. We took a twisted pleasure at the thought of being the last ones to finish. We were actually disappointed that we weren't THE back of the pack! We're moving up though. Yesterday we were 112th and 114th from last!