As I was chipping away on my second mile I heard the cannon sound back at the stadium. The sound of the cannon signified the first runner had finished the race, I was working on mile two. I was not in anyway discouraged in fact I was excited, excited for the runner who ran this distance in an amazing 15 minutes and a few seconds. Excited to be running at my pace, excited just to be their on a beautiful day doing something that made me feel happy, and alive, something for me.
The course ran from the stadium, around a large parking lot, across the street into another large parking lot (which used to be a parking lot for a large shopping mall). At the end of the first mile and at the water station it appeared we would wined around the outside parameter of the large square parking lot. As I ran on the far south side of the large square I could see the mass of good runners on the far north side . It appeared we were going to run in a big square. South turn left, east,turn left, north, turn left, west head for the finish line. No problem, I felt very confident about my time, and the way my body felt. As I turned to go north on the east side of the lot I then realized the people ahead of me were not merging into the pack that turned toward the stadium There was a small gate ahead on the right, as I ran closer I saw three very young thin pretty women waving their arms pointing in the gate. All the runners ahead, like lemmings off a cliff jetted into the opening, Why, why were they listening to the pretty girls, why weren't they ignoring them and running to join the others runners that were heading back to the stadium and finish line? As I kept my target runner in sight he turned, so as any self respecting lemming when I got to the gate I made the right turn. As I jogged through the gate it was a moment that took my breath away. I have lived in my community for 38 years. I was here when our pro team was purchased and developed, I was here when the first stadium for the team was built, I was here through the many losing seasons, I was here when the coaching staff changed and changed again and I was here when the team finally won a Super Bowl. I have been a fan from the beginning. The team has just completed a new training facility complete with field and gigantic office building.
I had been on the floor of the stadium many times for many events. I have even preformed in several half time shows but I never thought I would make it inside the new training facility, but here I was. Could this day get any better! As I was directed thought the gate I found myself in the end zone of the perfectly manicured, still dew soaked practice field. That was the good news. The bad news! I was at one end of the field and the runners ahead of me were running the around the entire field. The temperature on the field was very cool and the grass seemed to have an energy about it, it had to, most days of the year some of the best athletes in the business practice with great speed and talent on this grassy field. After getting over the ahh of where I was i refocused finding my pace person and my target person. With my strategy in place I started to reel in two younger women. If I had spotted them in the beginning I would have pegged them to be very quick and out of my league, but for whatever the reason they were back in the pack. I quickened my pace and began to pass them. As I passed them I realized they began to run again. I stayed a few steps ahead but I then realized yet another Epiphany, my stadegy apparently was not so secret, as I was selecting my targets to reel in and pass others were doing the same....AND I WAS SOMEONES TARGET. This could be taken one of two ways. One they could have thought, Crap... don't let the old fat lady get past us then we will look like big losers, or Crap she is old and fat and she is doing better then us, if she can do it we better get our butt in gear and keep up our pace. Maybe they were just pacing with me. Whatever the reason, I choose to look at it as I was an inspiration to keep running. Again I heard the question in my head Why am I here, and the answers came to me quickly.
After a few quick turns the course took us off the practice field and down the main road. The road traveled west in front of the beautiful glass building in which housed the offices and indoor training facility for the team. Not far in the distance I saw a tall man with a stop watch. I knew mile two was coming to an end the sun was coming up fast and the breeze had all but stopped. The mile marker and the water station were well with in reach. I moved into a quick speed walk, sometimes you can walk just as fast as you can run when you are tired, so walking was what I needed to do to be able to breath. I was concerned I may have lost my two minute cushion. As I approached the time man again I had great anticipation I called out for my time.