At my starting line…Rock n Roll 1/2

May 20, 2012 – I find myself at the starting line for the second time this month – this time at the Inaugural Rock n Roll Portland ½ marathon.  I actually signed up for this race last May when they first announced the race.  I think I got a great deal on the registration fee.

The race started at 8 am -I love races that start after 8 am.  Somehow it makes me feel a little more awake.  Anytime I have to get up before 5am to get ready for a race – this includes fueling, shower, stretching, etc. seems like a good thing.  However, I’m beginning to think I run better when I’m half asleep.  Once again I didn’t do as well as I hoped but I did it.  My final time was 2:15.  My best half marathon time is 2:01 and that was right before cancer set me back.  I’m still struggling to ‘bounce’ back.

Luckily this time I wasn’t in the bathroom as the gun went off.  I do tend to stress when nature isn’t exactly cooperating with my schedule and my goal time. Instead I was in the corral with about a thousand other folks.  I was warmed up, stretched out and well hydrated but not too hydrated.  I waited in the corral for about 15 minutes and it started getting hot and claustrophobic as more people got in the corral. You can’t help but think you’re not cattle.  I kept reminding myself that I was here because I wanted to be and soon I would have enough space to stretch my legs and run like the wind.

The course was great.  I’ve run the Portland marathon twice and that course actually sucks – I don’t recommend it. The marathon course takes you right through the industrial area of Portland which in any city is boring and ugly.  Instead this course took us over the river and through the east side – a part I’ve never really had the time to navigate through – new shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods.  (I even went out on a real estate site today to look at the few houses I saw on the course that were for sale. I could see myself living in those neighborhoods) Anyways back to the race – it was great – a great loop around the city with nice hills even though I was having a hard time getting up them they were good.  There were no out and backs and no visions of the finish line until the end. I didn’t even run into any annoying people walking or texting in the middle of the courseJ.  I probably made someone’s bitch list though- just as I was about to spit, this woman came out of nowhere – I almost spit on her but I missed – thank god!  I apologized profusely. The race ended back in downtown Portland at the park alongside the river.

The weather was good – if you recall last weekend it was hot.  Not Africa hot but for the Northwest, it was hot.  Yesterday was overcast with a slight mist, temperature around 60-something.  Perfect running conditions.  It wasn’t till we got down to the river that it felt humid.  As soon as I started running I was having a hard time breathing the humidity was affecting my pattern. Despite that I was still going at a good pace.  Nothing hurt.  Just hard to breathe.  I took note and thought I need to revert back to my original plan – run in the winter, bike in the summer.  Perhaps May is too late in the season.  Oh well – live and learn.  By the time the race ended, it was raining, still not bad but I was now regretting pouring water on me midway.  It was making me quite cool.  But I guess cool is better than hot.

Music keeps me going and I have a wide variety of music on my ipod.  In fact, I’m quite embarrassed about what I have on there.  I have several 80’s songs, some 90’s and some recent releases. Each song on my playlist conjures up memories of something.  Tangent alert – When I was living in Arizona I would go to the Diamondback games with friends and every time a new batter would come out they would play the batter’s ‘theme song.’  We chatted often about what our theme song would be – and wouldn’t it be great if our theme song played as we entered the office?  Well I always think about that when I’m running.  I don’t know why – I need something to think about.  For the longest I thought my theme song would be Juice Newton’s  ‘Playing with the Queen of Hearts.’  Now – I have to say its Melissa Ethridge’s I Run for Life…here are the lyrics.  The chorus definitely hits home and really explains why I run.  I run for life…

It’s been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Every day that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast,
If you ask her why she is still running,
She’ll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run life

It’s a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin
And they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul

And now I’m still learning a lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I’ll tell you I run for her soul

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run life

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her, remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers, running for more

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth, for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth, for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh

I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

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