10/9/13

Scenes From a Run . . .

To date, I have logged over 465 miles as part of my GoRun Wichita Start2Finish program for the Prairie Fire Half Marathon. If you're a regular reader of the blog you know that the race itself will be starting in exactly four days (pretty much to the minute). Am I ready? Yes. I think. I had a bad final long distance training run but I've done 13 a few times and my head and heart and legs should all be ready come Sunday morning. 

In the meantime, I was feeling reflective on Sunday so I hopped in the car (it was my rest day) and drove and took some pictures of some of the spots where some of my more memorable or important training moments happened. Presented here (in the order the pictures were taken - not the memories made) are a handful of the sharable things. 

Please to enjoy.

The view I have at the start of all of my weekday runs and where I stood for those long, fateful moments preparing to take my first steps on this journey in June.

This nail (in the middle of the picture) is my OCD release and the official "Start/Stop" line of my weekday runs. I touch it to start and to end every run around the neighborhood.

This traffic signal (you can't really see it - but it is there) is the 1 mile mark from my apartment. It was my first running goal and it remains a common spot for me to evaluate the early status of a run. Through the light, by the way, as 1st street climbs through Crown Heights, is my LEAST favorite "incline" to run. Not sure why.

This stretch of road, behind the Bob Dole VA Hospital, is where I gave myself the most cheesy pep talk EVER- the basic thrust "If men and women can risk their lives for their freedom - you can jog around your neighborhood." I believe and respect the sacrifice of those brave soldiers but I really did want to punch myself in the throat that morning.

These markers (you can't really see them that well) will tell runners doing the "half" and "full" marathons on Sunday which way to go. The first time I saw these markers was Saturday  morning. I got a rush of nervous energy from them. NOT because I was afraid I might make the wrong turn on race day but because it felt very real to follow the arrow.

I was out running one morning down this double yellow line - probably about where the tree's shadow overhangs the lines - (it was dark, there are no sidewalks, and there was no traffic) when a cop pulled up next to me - asked if I was running or drunk - and then told me to be safe and give my remaining miles "Hell" . . . I enjoyed that moment. Maybe a favorite in the grand scheme of things.

This fence, at 1st and Battin, was the first place I peed in public (while sober) as an adult. I've peed on it a few times since. I  have also peed on the Saddest Garage of Hydraulic (just south of 1st on Hydraulic) and in between a storage unit and a garage near 1st and Washington (several times each) during my training. My mother is so proud right now.

I ran these railroad tracks just three times. I didn't like being on gravel, I hated it was a mile between each chance to turn right or left and, frankly, it felt very Stand By Me to run this path. Yes. I've seen a dead body before. Not exciting.

These benches, on the K-96 trail just South of 21st street, are where I sat the day I "quit" training. I was having a bad run and feeling overwhelmed (it was week two - three mile run so . . . I've grown a lot in four months) and I sat there, angrily, and calmed down just long enough to realize that the 1.5 mile marker was probably 200 yards away so even if I didn't go touch the marker,  simply walking back to my car would make my distance three miles. I couldn't even justify quitting at that point. I've never really thought about quitting since.

The morning of my first 10 mile run I stood behind this building and cried prideful tears for a good three minutes. I don't know what the finish line will feel like but that morning was very emotional for me.

I truly can not say enough good stuff about the people at GoRun Wichita. I've been so warmly received and store co-owner Kevin and his staff have been very supportive and given me lots of great advice, product samples, etc. to make my running experience better. If you want to get started with running - these are your people.

This is where I got "mugged" (the road has since been paved but I was probably just about where the orange thingy separating the traffic lanes sticks up (just about the center of the shot) where/when it happened).

Hands down my least favorite part of the PFM course (yes, I've been running parts of the exact course for weeks - I have OCD). Why? It is a distance builder . . . we run three sides of a rectangle. I'll be cursing the course designers every stride of this stretch on Sunday. Also - there is a QuikTrip not far from this spot - can we leave the course long enough to get Diet Mtn Dew?

I do love my home, my Wichita. I've enjoyed getting to know so much of it on foot these last several months. 

Ah. ANOTHER BS mileage builder. The second 5K I ran required you to run the path along the river all the way to the garbage can (middleish of the picture) and THEN turn 180 degrees and run the path coming all the way back WHILE running uphill. Go eff yourselves, course designers. You're the WORST!

Douglas Avenue, downtown Wichita. The first +5K of our route is Douglas, heading due East. This is the stretch I'll use to get my pace, to let the pack leave me behind (I like running alone anyway), to get my head locked in to what is ahead and to drown out any volunteers and/or spectators around me. It is also where I'll start uttering my profanities. Because that is what running means to me - expletives.

I ran MOST of my weekday miles up and down 1st and 2nd streets. If I wanted scenery - I went East first (through College Hill) if I wanted flat and "easier" I went West (toward downtown) the metal cable you see coiled in the middle of the shot is the closest I've come to tripping, falling, and busting open my face and butt while running. I didn't see it one morning and got caught up on it. But I'm quick like a friggin' cat and recovered. Then screamed profanities at The Radio Shop as I passed it (they weren't yet open - it's okay).

This intersection (Grove and First) is where I had that dramatic moment where the motorist slams on the brakes and stops just inches before hitting the pedestrian and the driver and person on foot make saucer-sized-eye contact while the near collision is averted . . . you've seen it in TV and movies a million times. Anywho - that happend in late-June (early in my training). I totally apologized to the guy for jaywalking (running?) once he stopped screaming about what an idiot I was (he was right - 100% my fault). I am a little faster now when speeding through a "Don't Walk" light.
That's it. There are more photos and a lot more memories in my head. It will all be over in about 96 hours. THANK YOU for the memories and the support. I'll post ONE LAST running blog post next Wednesday to summarize the race itself and maybe to reflect, in words, on how much this really has meant to me.