9:17 a.m. – “All Of the Lights” by Kanye West comes on. I only mention this because I’m a 39 year-old white guy who has Kanye West on his iPod. That counts for something, right?
9:19 a.m. – My left leg begins imploding into itself like a dying star. I now officially hate hamstrings more than racism. That being said, I am still maintaining a sub-10 minute mile pace.
9:21 a.m. – “Bodysnatchers” by Radiohead comes on, which seems more consistent with being a 39 year-old white guy. I match my pace to the rhythm of the song and my leg pain begins to dissipate just in time for the first big hill of the race.
9:28 a.m. – I have conquered the hill without expelling any additional bodily fluids (it’s cold and asparagus pee is warmer than rain). I attribute some of my success at climbing this hill to “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen. For the record, this is one of the three or four greatest songs ever written. Hearing this song played loudly will allow you to do anything better. It’s a scientific fact. I also attribute a good amount of my success in scaling the hill to my daughter. In our previous two races, no matter how tired she was, she always ran uphill hard. Part of me thinks she would have been proud of me. The other part thinks she’d just roll her eyes. In her honor, I start giving random children the middle finger.
9:30 a.m. – For the record, I’m still running sub-10 minute miles. Suck it, Susan G. Komen Foundation.
9:33 a.m. – The rain has only intensified. There are parts of my body that don’t get this wet during a shower. I might be bad at showering.
9:36 a.m. – As I climb the last hill of the four miler, I realize that I might be able to finish the race in under 40 minutes. Not sure if it’s runner’s high or all the whippets I did around the third mile, but my legs feel fresher than at any previous point in the day.
9:38:44 a.m. – As I cross the finish line, I hear Ed Vedder tell me that “Life has nothin’ to do with killing time.” That’s a nice sentiment to hear at a moment like this and I wish I could say I lived by those words. I instinctively want to high five my daughter. At its core, running is a solitary experience. A series of physical barriers that give way to even more trying mental barriers. We all want to be cheered on at whatever finish line we cross. I’ve enjoyed having her around the previous two races, and selfishly, I wish our schedules had worked out differently, allowing her to make it this time as well. I’m proud of her for what she accomplished. As the Grand Prix comes to an end, I pace around, waiting to cheer on Katy as she crosses the finish line.
Photo courtesy of the Whitpan Memorial Archives