Did it again. I ran the Omaha Corporate Cup Run.
It's the only organized run I do anymore. When I lived in Kansas City, I was running at least a 5K nearly every weekend. After I moved to Omaha, I ran a few other runs but the frequency dropped dramatically because, well, there just weren't as many. I believe I started running the Corporate Cup in 1996, and I've done it every year since then without fail. Here's how it usually works.
About a month or so before, I think about running to get my muscles in some kind of running shape. I know through experience that biking doesn't cut it...it's a different set of muscles altogether. I've biked pretty regularly before runs thinking it would get me in shape for the run, and I'd be so sore after I could hardly walk for several days. The last few years, I've always tried to run a few times just to make sure the old running muscles still kinda sorta worked. Stretching always seems to help as well.
I've really improved my times over the last couple of years (under an hour), not just because of training and stretching...but making sure I thoroughly hit the john before I take off. That porta potty stop halfway through the race always seems to kill off my times, a bit. One year I was standing in line - I was next and a fellow that was in dire straits asked me if he could cut in front of me. I told him sure, but it'd cost him. He handed me a $5 bill! I certainly didn't turn it down, and I figured I could pinch up another minute or two. Easy money.
The run usually starts around 8 am or so, on a Sunday morning. Who in their right mind gets up early to run on a Sunday? At least 10,000 corporate Stooges, nyuk nyuk nyuk :>) I usually try to time it so I don't have to stand around too long, a few minutes of stretching, yawning, and farting. My lovely wife has always driven me and dropped me off so it's easy. What a woman!
They have a seeded runner section which always goes first. I've never been seeded, although I am getting a bit seedy. Then the rest of the 10K runners go (including my fat, slow ass), followed by the 2 mile walkers, strollers, kids, dogs and other assorted farm animals. I usually start out with a slow, loping limp and end up with a somewhat faster, hopping, pigeon toed hobble. People are weaving, jumping, dodging, tripping. You try to avoid ramming into the walkers that inevitable get mixed into the runner's start, and try to avoid tripping from the faster runners who step on the backs of your shoes. I always stop and get a cup of water at the 2 mile and 4 mile marks, and have always choked it down without puking. I try to keep a steady pace to keep ahead of the 80 year old runner who always inevitably passes me and makes me feel like a lumbering hippopotamus.
As I get toward the end I always try to focus on someone that's slower than I. Maybe that mom pushing that stroller with twins, or the octogenarian with the lower-leg prosthesis. It makes me feel great when I blaze past them, spitting and wheezing, one shoe untied. As I round the corner for that last sprint towards the finish, some flaxen haired youth usually flies past me no matter how hard I think I'm sprinting...I do it just to impress my wife who's standing on the sidelines, phone at the ready to call 911. Medic! I stumble and trip across the finish line, nearly taking out several race volunteers.
About a half-hour later, after I catch my breath my wife finds me and we go get our free breakfast of bananas, bagels, and donuts washed down with a gallon or so of water. Since my employer is right there downtown I hit the fitness center showers and we head for shopping, or home depending on whether I'm still ambulatory.
I get up the next morning, sore as all hell and hardly able to walk. I curse myself for not training enough for the run, and always question why I still do this every year.
Then next September rolls around, and there I am, standing at the start line. Glutton for punishment! -D