gentry13

The Half (The what? The Half. The what?)

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Submitted By: Kevin Smith Clark

“I don’t have that orange thing.”  That’s when you know you’re not a real runner.  About a year ago, I ran two consecutive miles for the first time in my life (at age 33), in preparation for my first 5K.  By the end of it, I thought, “I have to run another 1.1 for this to add up?”  But I persevered.  I got up early.  I ran, and I ran, and I ran…I ran so far away…I couldn’t get away.  I did the 5K…slowly.  I did another…less slowly.  I decided I wanted to try longer runs, so I tried a 10K in October…tough, but I finished.  The encore: what if I try for a half-marathon in the spring?  Who is this crazy person talking?  I’m reminded of this exchange from Back to the Future III:

TOWNSPERSON: If everyone in the future has one of these auto-whatsits, does anyone ever walk or run?

DOC BROWN: Only for recreation or fun.

TOWNSPERSON: Run for fun?  The hell kinda fun is that?

This was 13.1 miles we were talking about, to a life-long slow poke.  Is this my “Third-life crisis” (provided I live well into my 80s)?  But the registration had been sent, the money paid, the training book bought.  On May 7th, 2011, I would participate in the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio.   Three months of really good, followed by one month of really lousy, training later, I found myself in the car, headed to the race, getting all my “gear” ready.  Two miles from our hotel, I realize, I don’t have it.  The orange thing.  It wasn’t there.  Bibs and clocks aren’t enough when you have 6000 participants…you have to have the orange thing: the electronic timing device you strategically thread a shoelace through that will give the accurate time of your race.  And it was sitting in the hotel room.

So back we go.  Amy whips the car around, I get my orange thing (curse you, orange thing), lose a valuable eight minutes that I needed to get to downtown to get ready (not to mention use a toilet).  Then strike two.  Ooooh, traffic jam, got more cars than a beach got sand.  Suck it up, suck it up, Clark.  I get out of the car two blocks from the starting line.  “Five minutes, runners,” from the loudspeaker.  I really need to go nowI won’t make it the first mile.  There’s a toilet…yeah that one…with the long friggin’ line behind it.  “Two minutes!”  Okay, stretch now…get ready in line.  Do something while you’re doing nothing.  “Ladies and gentlemen, our national anthem.”  Sorry, I can’t put my hand on my heart, I have to stretch my Achilles. 

By the time I get through the potty line, the race has started, and the first two corrals gone.  Good thing I knew I was slow enough to be in Corral D.  Another four minutes, and we were off.  What a surreal feeling, to be moving with a pack of strangers, yet we were all for each other.  I didn’t look at the person ahead of me and think, “I want to beat you.”  Those comments were reserved for my own body.  “I beat my body and make it my slave,” First Corinthians 9:27, slightly taken out of context, but nonetheless, my mantra.

If any reading this ever consider a half or full marathon, let me encourage you to pick one that goes through a city.  It’s a terrific distraction.  I couldn’t imagine running one where I live.  Look there’s a field of corn…and there’s a field of soybeans…and there’s a field of corn.  People asked me on Sunday what I thought about over 140 minutes of running.  The truth: there were so many pleasant, welcome distractions I didn’t have time focus on how I felt, what Amy was doing, when I would hit the wall, etc.  There were literally, hundreds (if not thousands) of people lining the streets, clapping for us, cheering us on…some even calling me by name (our names were on our bibs).  What an encouragement…in some ways I feel like the church should take notes on community from runners.  I saw signs reading, “You all look Kenyan to me,” “Humpty Dumpty had wall issues,” and one Big Lebowski fan on High Street held a sign that read, “F*** it, let’s go bowling,” to which I yelled at him, “The Dude abides!”  Welcome distractions.

The night before, I tweaked my run playlist.  Again, I’m not a real runner, so I must have a soundtrack to keep me going.  I knew I was going to run slower than my 12.31.10 registration estimate, so I tried to anticipate when I could finish to Sigur Ros’ “Festival”…you know, the good part…where it picks up.  That scene in 127 Hours after Franco’s just hacked through his arm, and he finds the hikers, and the helicopter comes for him…awesome, chill-bumpy, Danny Boyle dramatics (if you need to YouTube the song, go to the 4:37 mark)!  I did it!  I’ve been rescued from my body and this race!  Except, I kept up way better than I’d imagined and finished only five minutes off my prediction, so I had to settle for the first part of Bright Eyes’ “Road to Joy”…which still worked thematically.  I’m wide awake, it’s morning.  And there’s my biggest encouragement…that tall, hot brunette in the red shirt, just before the finish line, waving at me.  Big smile on her face.  It was all worth it.  Even the orange thing.

KSC’s Official Half Marathon Playlist (5.7.11)

“Road Outside Columbus” – OAR

“Black Sheep” – Metric

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons

“99 Luft Problems” – Jay-Z & Nena mash-up (bootleg, if you’d like a copy, let me know)

“Never Hear Surf Music” – Free Blood

“Lovely Day” – Bill Withers

“We Are Sex Bob-omb” – Scott Pilgrim sndtrk

“Awaken” – Dethklok (the new Finland National Anthem, for you “Metalocalypse” watchers)

“Is There a Ghost” – Band of Horses

“Revisited” – OAR

“Wonderful” – Gary Go

“Brothers Gonna Work it Out” – Public Enemy

“Diablo Rojo” – Rodrigo Y Gabriela

“Touch the Sky” – Kanye West

“We Want Eazy” – Eazy-E (sometimes, you just need some old school hip-hop)

“Flashlight” – Parliament

“Bold as Love” – John Mayer – (it’s the guitar solo that does it for me in this)

“Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition was in)” – Kenny Rogers (cf Big Lebowski)

“I Wish” – Stevie Wonder

“All These Things That I’ve Done” – The Killers

“Little Lion Man” – Mumford & Sons

“Bleed American” – Jimmy Eat World

“Ca Plane Pour Moi” – Plastic Bertand (I have no idea what these guys are saying, but I like it)

“The Nearness” – David Crowder* Band

“Mausam & Escape” – AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire sndtrk)

“Knights of Cydonia” – Muse

“Leave Home” – Chemical Brothers

“Roll Your Stone Away” – Mumford & Sons

“It Takes Two” – Rob Base

“Weapon of Choice” – Fatboy Slim

“Dareh Meyod” – OAR

“Mombasa” – Hans Zimmer (Inception sndtrk)

“Jai Ho” – AR Rahman (Slumdog sndtrk)

“Road to Joy” – Bright Eyes

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