Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wings for Life - Ft Lauderdale, May 3, 2015

Wings for Life World Run is a fantastic global race event that I had been hearing about since early 2014. This race is different than most races because it happens at the exact same time at multiple places around the world. All runners line up at their respective start lines, the gun goes off, and runners begin racing the course. Not only are they racing themselves and the other competitors at their individual locations, but the runners in various cities are also racing against one another for a global champion. 30 minutes after the last starter crosses the finish line, the pace car starts to follow the pack. When the pace car passes the runner, they are officially out of the race.

100% of the entry fee goes toward spinal cord research, and who doesn't love charitable giving like that? Sign me up!

On race morning, there was a much larger turnout than I had anticipated. It was already late in the season, so I figured many people would rather not deal with the heat and humidity... but I was wrong.There were SO MANY PEOPLE there!

Right away though, I knew my heart wasn't really in it. I was struggling to get going right out of the gate, and I knew this would be one of those days where I would need at least 2-3 miles of running just to warm up and shake out the normal aches and pains that I struggle with when running. Being a slowpoke, I knew that the likelihood that I would even have that opportunity before being pulled by the catcher car was slim to none. And from there, I was discouraged right off the bat, and couldn't seem to get out of my own way.

So I adopted the attitude that my friend Mel has tried to instill me. Each time I was within 5 feet of the person in front of me, my goal was just to slowly but surely pull up to them and overtake them. focusing on just getting in front of the next person (over and over again) helps to distract me from the larger picture that gets me discouraged in the first place. I don't know if I'm even explaining that right.

Anyway, I'm horrible at math, but they provided us with a little calculator online to tell us approximately how far we would be able to travel before we were officially out of the race. Being a slowpoke, I really didn't anticipate being able to go much more than 2 miles or so before the catcher car caught up with me and ended my race. I was surprised when I hit 2 miles.

Then I hit 3 miles, and I was equally surprised. I had finally shaken off the morning aches and pains. I was settling into my rhythm, and while I knew that the catcher car was right behind me, I forced myself to go one step at a time and overtake the next person. Then the next. I was picking up speed. I was feeling good. My lungs were feeling excellent. I was a beautiful day to be out for a run, it was a beautiful day to be alive!

Around 3.5 miles I started to hear a commotion in the not so far distance behind me. I peeked over my shoulder and saw people behind picking up their pace, sprinting toward me. I knew the catcher car was on its was toward me. I still had a lot of energy in the tank, and I kicked it into overdrive.

Officially I made it 3.62 miles in 51.39. My pace was 14:15. I still had energy leftover, and I am certain that had I been afforded another few minutes out there on the course, I would have pulled an even faster pace.

This race was fantastic. I can't emphasize this enough. I was really satisfied with the support (although the logistics of catching the bus back to the start line area and the afterparty left a lot to be desired). I was so satisfied that while I was at the afterparty, I signed up for next year. And next year, on May 8, 2016, I am sure that I will make it farther.

For more information about this event, please visit their website here.