Sunday I got to participate in an amazing event! The Wings for Life World Run in Sunrise, Florida. The event took place in over 30 locations and had over 35,000 participants throughout the world running at the SAME TIME. The race started in different time zones (obviously) so race start times differed per country but we all started at the same time and ran in honor of those who couldn’t. The event raises awareness and funds for those with spinal cord injuries and 100% of the proceeds from the registration fee goes to this amazing cause. Here’s more info on the event:
The concept of the race is unique. Rather than run towards the finish line… the finish line catches up to you! You must run at a certain pace to hit certain mile markers because once the “finisher car” passes you with its censors (like the timing strip you run over at the finish but just mounted to the car), your time is stopped. My goal was to run at least 9 miles before getting passed. Considering the hypochondriacal, neurotic fit I was having Saturday, I arrived at the start not knowing if I would even complete my original goal. Once I met up with my co-worker who invited me to join her in the race, I was began to feel a little better but was still hesitant.
Once we started, I hit my stride pretty quickly. I was calm, well paced and feeling energized. By mile 5 I was beginning to think “I got this… I only have 4 more to meet my goal and I’m feeling pretty good.”
By mile 6 a short gentleman about my age, wearing crazy metallic shorts and neon compression socks started to run along side me me. My thoughts at this point were… “what the hell, guy?!”
By mile 7, me and the short guy were running the exact same pace, never saying a word to each other. We were approaching a water station and all of a sudden a highlighter-yellow-colored piece of paper seemed to flutter out of no where from the sky and landed in front of us on the pavement. We both looked at it and realized it wasn’t a piece of paper at all… it was someone’s escaped pet parakeet! I’d never seen one so neon colored in my life. Me and little dude just turned to each other and exclaimed simultaneously “What the hell?!” and laughed. That was pretty cool so, I decided it was a good omen that this was going to be a kick ass race and that little dude was pretty cool.
By mile 8 I didn’t even feel myself running anymore and was now on auto-pilot. The world was just passing by.
By 9.5 I passed Casey who was waiting with the camera. I was having the run of my life… I was averaging 9:02 and feeling great. I wasn’t even thinking about the finisher car that was creeping up slowly behind us all. My random running buddy and I were pumping each other up… “yeah! We’ll be able to finish a half for sure! We’re killing it.”
Before I knew it, it was mile 11… and that’s when it happened. A guy on a bike rolled by and warned us. “Its coming guys. I see it about a quarter mile away.” We decided to push a little harder. “Lets give it all we got!”
Suddenly, my running buddy shouts, “Ok, lets book it!” I turned to him and told him I was at max capacity and couldn’t go any faster… “Turn around!” He told me as he bolted off. And there it was… the car! I squealed as though this were the zombie apocalypse (yeah, I’m obsesses with Walking Dead, whatever!) and I was getting chased by a walker. I booked it! But not for long… I proudly finished 11.43 miles before my race was over.
But here’s what I’m so excited about… I calculated that if I had continued at my pace of 9:02 for 13.1, I would have finished a half marathon at 1:58! Safely under 2 hours which is my goal for next season. I got it in me baby!! woooohoooo!!! I’m STILL beaming with excitement and pride.