#1. Seven hours after the arrival at this Run location, you will still be able to ‘smell’ the sour aroma from the Beer Making going on at this Run. And yes, you have been gone from there for over five hours.
(I just opened a canister of Maxwell House INTENSE Blend Coffee and smelled it a while, to remove the SOUR STENCH from my nose hairs).
#2. I learned it feels good to almost cry with JOY when you cross the finish line, look at the results on you FitBit smart watch, and realize you have just beat your previous record by FOUR MINUTES!
#3. I learned while celebrating my new CONQUEST, and feeling like a marauding, wet, victorious BEAST OF THE JUNGLE, my wife, is still going to ‘roll her eyes’, shake her head, smile and think that ‘little boy’ she is married to is ….. so cute….
and that is ok.
Because I am cute.
But I am still a marauding, wet, victorious BEAST of the JUNGLE!
#4. People are so nice at these Run events.
They are nice to you while you run with them
The folks who stand on the sidelines clap, whistle, and cheer you as you go by are nice …. they even wave signs that say !RUN LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHING!, or ?YOU PAID MONEY TO DO THIS?? and GET A PLASTIC MEDAL? … they are nice to you …
…so far, the people I have met who are runners are so different….so …. nice.
#5. People in the RUN, pushing buggies with either babies, or doggies, are always smiling and passing me.
What the HECK is that about? Ok, the Mommies are not smiling if the babies poopie diaper needs changing, but that is rare…. really rare.
#6. There is always a runner who is at the front of the group as they sound the ‘Start’ Gun, or Horn (for the Snow Flakes), who is unknown to any locals, and will run like the Flash, take first place, their Medal, drink the free Beer, and will be gone before I get back to visit with them to see if they can even understand my language of ‘TEXAN’.
Is this what they do every weekend?
#7. All the ‘experienced’ runners have to do is LOOK at me, and they know I am a RUNNING VIRGIN.
Well, that was true UNTIL, I ‘PIMPED MY RIDE’ with this Bad As_ Collection of OFFICIAL CLUB THREADS I hoist now! YEAH ‘fly the Colors’ of THE MISSING CHINS RUN CLUB testifying like dRock Star I’m THE ONLY John Wayne left in this town! Save a HORSE BAD BOY. RIDE YO RUNNING LEGS kinda thang I’m saying now…. T-Shirt….
I can swag past ‘enlightened’ runners, count to three, take a quick look over my shoulder, and the astonished ones are open mouthed, leaning forward for a better look, and it is not uncommon that a few in the group are looking for a camera, others are drawing back in shock, and they are all saying the same thing….. “… there goes a CHIN!…”.
Yep, just Eat Plants, and Run Miles.
Yea Ricky Bobby, that just happened.
#8. Repeat #1. The ‘aroma’ of soured, rotting stuff is still in my nose. I am glad Beer does not taste like that smells during manufacturing.
#9. Always, and I repeat, ALWAYS make an honest attempt to ‘potty’ during the last ten minutes before the Gun, or Horn(Snowflakes).
#10. Be sure the Porta Pots are relatively close to the starting line.
#10A. It is not a bad idea to keep a ‘sufficent’ amount of Tissue Paper in your pocket.
#11. Be sure you always remember to tie your shorts securely after #9.and #10, and 10A.
#12. Do not attempt to appear to be a SUPERSTAR, or STRIPPER when you are doing your warm up stretching.
Just stop it. There are Grandpas and Grandmas out there, as well as children.
Either that, or I am going to have to start carrying Dollar Bills in my pocket ….
(If ‘squirrels’ can distract me easily, imagine what a ….. well, you know….)
#13. You should consider buying a camera with a telephoto lens.
This is not on the list of the ‘Top Five Items to Buy”, but definitely makes the ‘Top Ten’.
#14. I learned your Support Team is not going to stand in the rain, nor suffer much cold wind to take pictures, hand you water, hold your Hoodie, ‘fix’ your Pony Tail, nor take pictures of you crossing the FINISH LINE…
In fact, Elton never leaves the Car anyway…
#15. I learned you will begin a collection of interesting items given to you for entering the Runs…
#16. You still have ‘Favorite T-Shirts’ (Other than THE CHINS….)
(Run Your Jurassic Off! That is funny!)
#17. I learned I had an Angel that ran with me yesterday
I don’t know how else to explain it… It was not 110 degrees out there today, so I wasn’t hallucinating …
I guess she was my pacer.
After a mile into the run, the Leaders already passing me going back to the Finish Line. That doesn’t bother me. I try to remember to run MY RACE. Those runners doing near a 5 minute mile don’t bother me. Good for them!
It was about this time I began to notice a little girl dressed like a …. flower? Her outfit was very … happy! It is not unusual to see little girls dressed like that.
She appeared to be with a group of women in front of my pace. They were running and then walking, then repeating the same over and over. They too were having FUN! And staying ahead of me while intermittently walking…
The little girl would pass them, stay with them and then fall behind me, and sometime run at my side, then repeat the routine.
I paid little attention.
At the half way point, while not breaking my stride, I took a drink, disposed the cup in the provided trash can, removed my Hoodie, and secured it around my waist, and thought about the remainder of the run. I felt I had good strength in my legs.
Breathing has NEVER been a problem for me since the Triple By Pass seems to have been an abnormally SUCCESSFUL procedure, and neither has breathing been a problem since I have started running.
I can take deep, deep breaths, and never fear the ‘smokers reflexive cough’ that always used to accompany an attempt to take a deep breath….
While I noticed the path ahead seemed to appear all uphill (which is confusing since I remembered it being UPHILL when I was going the other direction….)…. there was the little girl…. pacing me… and every few seconds she would turn and just stare into my eyes.
I have a habit, that if someone makes eye contact with me, I try to stare back and make them break contact… not me….
Honestly, I am not sure who won those staring contest between her and I…. I mean, we were running on some Farm to Market Road that was not in the ‘best’ condition…. we had to check the steps ahead for safety reasons…
After a few moments of nothing said, just the stares, she pulled ahead really fast.
It was at this time I noticed the group I perceived she was with, was not there.
She stayed ahead for a while, then she stopped, turned and then ran behind me a bit, and I thought she was going back to be with her people….
But I found, ‘they’ were were not back there either …. I am not sure where they went.
So in a moment she came to my right side, and paced me for a few minutes. We would look at each other, look at the road, and run.
There was the repeating of the running out front, running behind, running along side for quite some time.
There were still people heading out, as well as the many that had passed me and had already finished the run and were drinking their free beer.
I passed one Distinguished Gentleman who inquired of my thoughts on the seemingly confusing situation of the path going Up while Going AND Coming.
Neither of us decided a better solution other than a fellow named Murphy S. Law had been the designer for the State, and this foolishly built the road that went up hill, in both directions.
Government, what can you say about it?
And my little flowered pacer was still running with me, before me, then behind me…. looking into my eyes as we ran.
I never saw her actually speak with anyone during the run.
I also do not remember her disappearing.
Going uphill, still, on the last left turn, then the last right turn, I could see the finish gate, hear the music, and smell the Brewery.
After reading the life of Ultra Marathon Champion Scott Jurek, I try to finish strong, and as quietly as possible.
Today’s FitBit report shows I peaked a pace in the last yards under a 10 minute mile.
As I went under the Finish Line, and the Chip I wore in my Bib Number registered the Official Chip Time, I looked at me report on my wrist, and ‘Danced A JIG of JoY’!
I still wipe tears remembering that feeling.
I do not plan to forget, nor lose that Joy.
But after the emotion settled back down to a warm ‘GLOW’, I suddenly remembered my Little Pacer all dressed like a Flower…..
When did she fly past me ? Did she drop back and return to the group she was with? She was too young to be out there alone?
Or was she?
I don’t know.
I guess it doesn’t matter.
So I had my first ‘Pacer’.
I am grateful for her being with me.
As I neared the last yards, I do remember two thoughts I had….the first was “I have to get a picture of this Little Girl”, and the second was, “I have to ‘leave nothing on the table’ and I knew I would run as hard as possible through the Finish Line.
So with my ‘camera’ in hand, and my decision to give all I had to the Finish… I sat off…. and there was one last disappointment that I had waited too long to take her picture.
Then I ran with all I had.
As I am typing this morning, all I have left of her, is ‘those eyes’, and the memory of that CraZY Flower Outfit she wore.
I know, that will be enough.
Learning, is good.
( The ‘Featured Image’ is a Mango Tree that sprouted in our Compost Barrel last year….. much to our surprise. I believe there are ‘surprises’ everywhere for us. I believe they are in many places waiting to please us with their discovery. Magic is everywhere.)