My Marathon Disasters Chapter One
Jan. 24 2012
I just finished running my 8th marathon and it is now time to reflect. Of course I could have run this recent PF Chang’s Rock n Roll Marathon better, however that is not where my mind wandered to. Instead I reflected on other runs and races where rather than averting disaster, I landed right in the middle of it. Over the next couple of blogs I am going to share my top running disasters. These are in no particular order, chronological or other logical organization.
Disaster I – Big Mac Attack
Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon I was in pretty decent shape. My training paces were solid. I was hitting the track for speed work. Heading to Mummy Mountain for most of my long runs, sometimes forwards, sometimes in reverse and sometimes even both was paying off. Mummy is great training run as it provides some good quality hills to navigate, something us Mid-towners rarely get to enjoy. The only hill I have encountered in Central Phoenix is the top of Central Avenue. I am digressing, but the point is basically I was in pretty decent shape as I just recently mentioned.
Well the what is that one day I went off on a training run with Carolyn after work on Central, up along the Bridal Path. We started at Camelback with the destination of Glendale then turn around and head back. Six miles of a good run. I liked living just off the Bridal Path because it is a fun pretty run on a great surface and offers distances from one mile to ten. There also usually a plethora of friendly runners and walkers along the route as well.
So back to the what. On this day, as had become more usual than rare, Carolyn took off and I was doing my best to keep up. I hung well for about two miles then the gap started. For a while it was a step and a half. By the time we turned around at Glendale, no one would have realized we were running together. As the distance between us grew so did my resentment. I became more and more annoyed as she became smaller and smaller in the distance until she was completely out of sight. Not groovy out of sight, but literally out of site.
Finally I decided enough was enough and started to push it in an effort to catch back up. As I approached mile 5 at Bethany Home the traffic light was cooperating so I knew I was going to be able to rein her in. But just as I gained confidence some woman in her Honda Civic was thinking Girl Power and I shouldn’t catch Carolyn. A few steps from the intersection I saw her stopping and respecting her red light so I maintained my accelerated pace. But just as I entered the intersection, I quickly realized she decided the red light was merely a suggestion for stopping. To compound the joy of the situation, I think she also must have had a kink in her neck that prevented her from looking right before she made her turn.
It was fortunate for me that I first noticed collision was inevitable and secondly had seen many episodes of Starsky and Hutch as a kid. As we reached the same point, otherwise known as impact, I leaped into the air and started sliding across the hood. I had heard stories that in moments of great tragedy, time often slows down. I found out this is true. As I traversed her hood semi-face- down I was able to watch her in slow motion. Her eyes grew wide, her mouth fell open with the half eaten batch of french fries flying out of her mouth mixed with a hearty Oh Shit! The Big Mac fell from her hand as she clenched her steering wheel at 10 and 2. She had the look of horror of someone that had just hit a pedestrian. And while she technically had in fact just hit me, I think the real dread she felt was the loss of her Big Mac.
Just as quickly as it started it was over. With an accidental grace I ended up on my feet on the opposite side and with momentum on my side, I resumed my run. I never turned around, so I have no idea if she stayed frozen in panic or took off to avoid possible confrontation. I imagine she remained still until she was able to locate that dropped burger.
I resumed my run losing only a second or two. I didn’t catch Carolyn but I wasn’t too disappointed as I also didn’t have any broken bones or lacerations either. When all was said and done, I ended up only with a bruised hip and a story I could make better and better over the years. I imagine in another couple of years I can upgrade the Civic to a Hummer and bump the speed from a slight roll to 45 MPH. That reminds me, did you know I walked to school in the snow uphill using a hot potato to warm my hands that I later ate for lunch?