Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Survivor in Seattle!
So here I was, running the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half-Marathon on June 26, racing for a cure as a cancer survivor again. It is an incredible feeling. I think of all the names on my shirt and what each of those names represents - the collective suffering from cancer just by those whose names are on my shirt is collossal! I think how ill I was eight years ago, and here I am running another long distance race - something I had never done before having cancer. And I am in Seattle, a place I have never been before. And I met and exceeded my fundraising goal, so my hair is purple - or at least a semblance of purple. It all feels amazing!
I had a unique opportunity this race, one I may never have again - to get pictures along the way without costing me a bunch of time. I have taken my camera along in every race I have done for Team in Training, except for the San Diego Marathon. I always regretted the decision not to bring the camera along during that race. But this time, as a survivor in Seattle, I not only brought my camera, but a photographer as well - Coach Chuck Smith! He was running as a participant, not as a coach, and he was going to run with me from mile 4 to 13.1 as coach support, friend, and official photographer. So most of the photos here were taken by Chuck. With his speed and endurance, he could easily capture photos and then run me down.
This big guy near the start of the race is really into the spirit of the Rock 'n' Roll theme!
Here I am chugging along about four or so miles into the race, still feeling fresh, and glad to be past the first few miles, which was a rather unattractive industrial section with a lot of highways.
The race course was packed with runners and walkers the whole way, and never really thinned out. It was difficult at times to maneuver around slower runners without colliding or tripping.
I asked Chuck to race back and get a photo of this flag lined section of the race course.
Several miles of the course, ending with the "Tunnel of Hell", were along picturesque Lake Washington.
This guy reminded me of my first marathon, in Anchorage, Alaska. I wonder if I could have caught a flight up there with him?
I stopped for a second to pose by Lake Washington. We are almost past the lake at this point, I think.
These guys are also into the Rock 'n' Roll spirit of things!
Do you think they are talking to me???
I wanted at least one photo of Chuck along the way, and not being fast enough to run him down, asked him to hold still here. Eight miles in and he has barely broken a sweat!
At this point I had a choice to make. Have gone no more than 12 miles all season, it was a no-brainer!
Shortly after the half or full switch-over point, we left the scenic views of Lake Washington, ran up a steep grade, and continued uphill into the Tunnel of Hell. It was my one "bite me" moment of the race. I hated it in there! It was mostly uphill, it seemed, and there was a sound system cranked up to the max. It was deafening in that accursed tunnel. It seemed like it was 5 miles long, although it was probably closer to 3/4 mile. I could not wait to get out of there and when I did, I looked up to the sky and gave thanks. Then I resolved to get out of my funk and enjoy the rest of the mostly scenic race.
I am running by Safeco Field, heading into the downtown and the homeward stretch. I knew at this point I was going to be within a minute or two either way of my 2:30 goal.
One of our Team LLS staff comes out to congratulate me. Now that is purple hair!
There were many great musical moments along the way, and there were also larger crowds of people in the downtown area. It gives you a shot of adrenalin when they call your name out.
At this point, there was just over a mile to go and I knew that I was going to get a PR no matter what, and probably make my time goal of 2:30 as well. It was a great feeling!
There were also many active and colorful cheerleading squads along the way, all much appreciated.
Chuck snapped a photo of me from behind crossing the finish line for my second half marathon in something like 2:28:45:
Then I asked someone to get a shot of the two of us.
Being a grandpa myself, this scene brought tears to my eyes. I hope that someday my granddaughter will be able to see me in a race for Team in Training.
I asked someone to snap a final shot of me with any remaining purple hair.
In my next post about this race, I will talk about meeting fellow blogger, cancer survivor, and Team in Training marathoner Julie!