The Finish Line

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Greetings from The Booth!

Some of you may not get this reference, but there’s an old Dick Van Dyke Show episode where Rob (played by Van Dyke) goes on a ski trip without the blessing of his wife, played by the great Mary Tyler Moore. During that trip, Rob suffers a fall on the slopes and is injured. Long story short, when he goes home to face wife Laura, who eventually starts to kiss Rob, he tells her the only place she can kiss him is the corner of his lip, because that’s the only place he doesn’t hurt.

That’s how I feel this afternoon (Sunday) after running my first half-marathon, the Third Battle Of Winchester Half, organized by Bishop’s Events, a DC area organization that stages races all over the DMV, and does a great job giving back to charity, especially our veterans. The event today was a 5k, 10k, and half-marathon that was held on the Third Battle site, between Redbud Road and Millbrook High School. You know the story by now: after losing 54 pounds starting last May, my passion for running was re-ignited, and after some 5k and 10k races this year, decided to try the half, which is 13.1 miles. I also wanted to help Dakota’s Dream Animal Rescue in Winchester, so I tied the 2 things together and made my race a fundraiser for them. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Anyway, after ramping up to a 10-week training program (thank you, Andrew!) and logging 250 miles since June 19th, Race Day finally came. The “hay was in the barn,” as they say, and it was time to run the 13.1. Before the race, some more experienced runners than I made the butterflies even bigger by telling me how brutal the course was, and they were not kidding. The course was a series of loops with various terrain: dirt trails, gravel, and some paved stretches, with a few “heartbreak hills” thrown in for good measure. As one runner said to me, “not one I would have picked for my first.”

Then came the race itself. I will learn from this, but my mistake was going out too fast, which many warned me about. Along the way, I made sure to stay hydrated at the Gatorade stations every several miles, and fueled with fig bars starting about mile 6. Despite these things, my early pace left me with nothing in the tank the last 4 miles, and everyone except Molasses and Christmas started passing me. It was gut check time, but I was able to come across the line to the encouragement of the crowd in a little over 2 hour, 18 minutes. I had completed my first half marathon. Now I can finally put one of those “13.1” stickers on my car!

Back to Dakota’s Dream. Because of some generous donors, we were able to raise over $4100 for the organization,  and specifically Liam, a cat who I wrote about in a previous VFB. His first treatment has been scheduled, and Liam is hopefully on his way to finding his “forever home.” I could not have completed this race today without Alicia and Ken of DD out on the course and at the start/finish line to cheer me on. A great day all around (I wish my time was a bit better), but now comes the recovery, as this afternoon, I am hurting all over.

Remember in the original “Rocky,” when, following the brutal 15-round fight between Balboa and Apollo Creed, Creed says “ain’t gonna be no rematch,” to which Rocky says, “don’t want one.” I felt a little like that after today’s run. But as we know, there was a rematch in “Rocky II.” Stay tuned, the Battlefield Half happens in November…

Until the next visit from the Booth…GO RUNNERS!