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My magnificent mile experience

September 14, 2009

DSCF0716” How did you enjoy your first event?”, my wife asked as we climbed into the car and headed home.  As I responded with my standard “It was pretty good” , I thought about the experience and decided it was definitely better than pretty good.

I had been aware of the Magnificent Mile , now in its fourth year,  not only because the company I work for has sponsored it but also because it was co-founded by the wife of an employee.     In previous years, this just wasn’t my kind of thing, and I stayed on the sidelines, but as I got to know this employee more this year and saw not only that this was a worthwhile cause, but how deeply vested he was personally, it was definitely the year to get involved.

Arriving a bit early, we collected our packets, T-shirts and pinned on our entry numbers.   Leslie has entered other events including a 1/2 marathon three years ago, and while she hasn’t kept up her training, she certainly knew the ropes.   Knowing we had done absolutely nothing to prepare for this other than getting in the car, we wisely decided to enter the  1 mile fun run vs the men or women’s competitive events.

Seeing the competitive runners, especially the elite was an amazing experience.   The men’s winner returned in 4:09 I believe.   That’s just a gnats whisker short of a sustained 15 mile and hour sprint for an entire mile.   For someone who might only run a little faster than 10 miles an hour while being chased by a swarm of yellow jackets, having found their nest while driving fence posts several weeks ago, 15 miles an hour is just a crazy speed, especially for the space of a mile.  I know, I’ve done the math on some marathon runs, and know there are supermen among us who can hold that pace over 26 miles.   Still, it’s just math on paper until you see the lead runner streak by, breaking the tape at the finish.

The Women’s event followed, and some were equally impressive in their own right.   Leslie pointed out the serious among the ranks as they stretched and prepared themselves.   Sure enough, an elite runner, wearing the #2 entry tag, completed the loop somewhere around 5 mins.  So short an interval that the back of the pack was barely out of view by the time she was back and bearing down on the finish.

All of this made even more of an impact on me as those of us in the recreational run loosely assembled ourselves at the starting line.   We met several other couples from work and chatted about whether we were going to run or walk.   I had every intention of just walking, but when everyone took off, after a couple of steps, I felt compelled to start trotting after pack.   Leslie joined in and we ran together for a little while, but we know from past experience that we have very different strides and it’s awkward at best for us to run together.  We threaded our way forward along the first 1/4 mile and being unconditioned, I wasn’t sure how far I was going to be able to go.    Rounding the back of the capital and reaching the half way point, I developed a cramp in my side and slowed back to a walk.  Perhaps the chili-cheeseburger and 32 oz sweet tea an hour before the run wasn’t such a good plan.  After half a block things eased up and my lungs had recovered a bit.   Checking my watch, I noted that 5 mins had elapsed – not too bad as we were now past the 1/2 way point.  I started running again and despite the fact that I felt better, I knew I had a way to go and wanted to cross the line with some composure.   I mostly managed that, and wrapped up the run in under 10 mins.  Six miles and hour average, an average drug down by my walking.

I still don’t like distance running, but I think a mile, or even a 5k might be a good distance to keep oneself in shape to be able to run on demand.   I think I’ll work a bit this year and see if I can take two mins off my time for next year.   If I could do that, who knows?

The event was rewarding – it reminded me how much we take our general health for granted, and how many people are afflicted with degenerative diseases.   Maybe this also inspired me to step away from the keyboard and get in a little better shape before my 40th birthday now looming at the start of 2010.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. nanombroyles permalink
    September 14, 2009 2:10 pm

    My first experience with one of these as well (you could prob tell by the jeans!). Van and I had a blast. It was so great to see all the Lenovo peeps out supporting Jeff and Sara. Look forward to seeking more of these types of events out and being a participant!

  2. Tim permalink
    September 14, 2009 3:22 pm

    Sounds like a good time indeed. Keep us updated on the 5K training 😉

  3. September 15, 2009 4:36 pm

    Mark,

    The cause for which you people are participating is really touching….

    Vijay

  4. September 24, 2009 10:56 am

    So when are you training for the next iron man triatholon? 😉

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