Wednesday, February 9, 2011
MEET ME "HALF" WAY
My first attempt at any new race (in terms of length) has always tuned out disastrous. In fact, my first shot at a half marathon (13.1 miles) was over before it ever started…literally!
Since I had increased the distance of my Saturday runs to around 13 miles, I now felt comfortable to enter my first half marathon. My friend and running “role model” Pam (to be discussed in a future blog) suggested I dive in “feet first” and enter the Disney Half-Marathon.
Typically, a marathon and a half marathon are run at the same time. Because of the popularity of the Disney event, the half marathon was to take place on Saturday; the full marathon was scheduled for Sunday. If you were insane enough (as Pam is) to enter both races, it is affectionately known as the “Goofy Challenge.”
The family and I left Friday afternoon for the frozen tundra of Orlando. The temperature in the Magic Kingdom was around 35 degrees, and it was expected to be in the high 20’s for the start of the race. Many of the runners purchase inexpensive sweatshirts and sweatpants to throw to the side of the road once they have warmed up. This way, if they didn’t go back to pick their “Wal-Mart Special” after the race was over, it would be nisht gefloygen.
There is an expo that takes place the day before each marathon. This is where you go to pick up your bib (race number), your race shirt, your timing chip and other assorted swag. They also have vendors selling and demonstrating all the latest and greatest running products including shoes (we don’t call them sneakers), apparel, accessories and nutritional supplements. The expo took place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex; I was like a kid in a candy store. The adrenaline rush was overwhelming, but ultimately… it would come to a crashing halt.
While at Pizzeria Uno later that evening, my wife Glenda got a phone call from her mother. Glenda’s father had been sick for a very long time; it did not look like he would make it through the weekend. After an extremely brief discussion, we decided it would be best to skip the race and drive right home. This way, Glenda would have a chance to say goodbye to her dad for the final time.
The drive home was quiet, and we were both disappointed on many levels. Although Glenda’s dad did not pass away until Sunday, it was still the right decision to make. There would be many races to run, but only one father to say goodbye to.