Sunday, August 20, 2006
Note: Thanks for all the great responses to the fat-burning post. You may want to check it out again. I added yet another "expert" response and a "recap" section to the bottom to sort out all the info.
Congrats to my friend J. and my husband, Jason, who both completed America's Finest City Half Marathon yesterday! I was kind of bummed not to be doing it myself but it was nice to go and support Jason. He finished looking very strong. Plus, I decided to volunteer. It was actually a privelege. I led the handicapped division on my bike to show them the way. Not only did I get to see the race from an awesome perspective (the front--one place I could never be except in a situation like this), but I got a bike ride in too! Because it was a one-way course, Jason dropped me off at the start, and I biked to the front, which was the workout. Then, I just relaxed and did a sort of recovery ride the other way, leading the handicapped division.
Let me just say, that the handicapped athletes were not at all handicapped! They were much faster than I could ever hope to be! One athlete ran with a prosthetic, and we passed mile marker 1 in under 5 minutes! Unbelieavable. The other 3 handicapped athletes were double leg amputees and zipped down the course in wheelchairs. Although going uphill was sometimes a challenge (all arms!), there were several times I had to push it to keep ahead. I did not expect to be getting that much of a workout! Fantastic. Plus, at one point, one of the athletes dropped a velcro strap which I turned around and sprinted to retrieve before the other runners caught up.
We started 5 minutes before the runners, and the lead runner didn't pass us until well after mile 11. It was incredible. I was transfixed, watching the lead Kenyan run away from me. His biomechanics were flawless. Each leg landed directly under him in a fixed rhythm. He looked like he was floating. He wasn't even breathing hard, and this was going up the hellish 1-mile hill at mile 12. He finished the race in under 1:03!!! He had flown in from Kenyan Friday night! I wonder what he runs like when he's not jet-lagged!
"Wilson Chebet, a Kenyan racing for the first time on American soil, and Russian Tatiana Chulakh who defended her title on Sunday. Chebet won in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 38 seconds, the second fastest time in the race's history and 14 seconds shy of the course record, while Chulakh ran 1:14:12. Both athletes were awarded $1500 for their victories. Over 5,948 participants enjoyed the hilly but scenic point-to-point course under mercifully-cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 60s."
Runner's Web news
Oh, and the athletes in the handicapped division? We came in shortly after, in under 1:10!!! After we finished, I went over and congratulated the athletes in the handicapped division. They were from Brazil and spoke limited English but fluent Spanish. Hablo piquito espanol so all I could manage was "Muy bien!" very enthusiastically. I definitely have a reinforced respect for physically challenged athletes. They are more fit than I am, and I have 4 functional limbs!
I then settled in by the finishing chute and watched the competitors sprint in. Yes, sprint. They made it look so easy. It was amazing to see such finely toned, highly-muscled legs. This one woman came floating past, and a crowd of fans cheered her on. I thought they were saying, "Kaylie," but than the announcer came on and said it was "Michellie Jones." Wow. I actually got to see her. And that's just a small training workout for her. She's been in many of the same races I've done this season since she lives in the area but I never got to see her before since she's always done by the time I start. It was so cool to actually see her. Very inspiring. Now, I just want to get out and go for a run!