2012 has been both a struggle at times and seen some great accomplishments for me. In this recap, I thought I would call out a few specific moments that stand out to me this year. I call this post "moments in time".
Moments in time….
The year started with me standing at the Disney Marathon starting line beside Mike and feeling both under trained and unsure if I was going to be able to finish it. At least, I was not sure I could finish it without walking, but this was Disney marathon. I paid a ton of money so I was at least going to try. The fireworks sent us on our way. Mike disappears in to the darkness ahead of me. I try to find my happy place and wait to see how my hamstring is going to take running 26 miles. The darkness keeps my mind off my troubles. I reach the ½ way point in just over 1 hour and 26 minutes. The sun rises and I see this line of runners ahead of me. For the next 13 miles, I charge after them and not once thinking about my hamstring. With the finish line finally in sight, I realize that my only walking today would be after I cross the finish line. My 2 hours and 53 minute time felt as good as the day I ran 2 hours and 38 minutes.
A few months later, l let Megan talk me into running a couple of local 5k races. In the first one as we are lining up, the rain starts pouring. They send us on our way and the rain only gets heavier. Then, the thundering and lightning happen. This isn't the kind of thunder and lightning that happen miles away. This is the sound and sight of it happening on top us. The thunder cracked and my adrenal glands dumped enough adrenaline into my system to last me for days. I felt like I was soaring to the finish. The second race wasn't quite as exciting but it was another pouring rain affair. Two soaking races made for an interesting start to '12 and I have Megan to thank for them.
From here, the memories shift to the running of the Palmetto Relay. We start the relay with several other teams. Glen is our lead out runner and I have never seen him run faster. I remember seeing Jason running along on a dirt road section of the course. With all the vans passing him, he came to the relay point and had this shade of grey about it him. I smile now just thinking about it. On Megan Fillnow's first leg, she takes off running at about 5 minute pace. I am not sure she realized that her leg was about 5+ miles. My leg is the first leg that transitions from daylight to dark. When I hit the transition zone, I hear people yelling for me, but I cannot see anyone. There seem to be about a million head lamps shining into my eyes.
There was the 3:30 AM 2.5 mile run. It was cold and I was more asleep than awake during this run. In the middle of the night, we found out that Kent couldn't go and Jason had covered Kent's leg of the relay. I volunteered to run Kent's final 5 mile leg. I kept looking for Mo as the runners came through. Then I saw her and I yelled to her. I had run already run 45 minutes for my first 7.5 mile leg and 13 minutes for the 2.5 mile. I had no idea what this 3rd leg would be like, but 28 minutes and 40 some seconds later I reached the next exchange point. I exhausted and my tank was empty. The night had been tough but interesting. I remember seeing Stan asleep behind the wheel of our van. No he wasn't driving. We were waiting in the parking lot and Jinnie was sleeping in the floor. I don't know how she could do it. I remember leapfrogging from relay point to relay point and chatting to Thomas to see how our Raleigh team was doing.
Jinnie and Stan had the two legs before me. Jinnie's leg lead over the bridge and into the Island Palms with an awesome view of the ocean. Stan's leg took him over the Charleston Bridge. I remember seeing him chugging away up the walk way on the side of the bridge and then sprinting to hand me the baton so I could run the final leg.
I remember being hot, tired, and worried that I would get lost. The best sight was coming to the finish and having everyone finish along with me. This was an awesome experience.
3 memories really jump out during the summer months and they were from the China Groove 5k, Beat the Heat 5k, and the Elvis 5k. For the entire race, I could see Mike running in front of me. I was closing and closing. With a maybe a half mile to go, I was almost to his shoulder. With the finish line in sight, I was about ready to kick when someone yelled "Go Bill" and Mike took off. I had nothing left and I could not match his effort and finished a few seconds behind him. But it was so much fun.
At Beat the Heat 5k, I am coming to the finish and this guy stumbles, falls, gets up, stumbles again, falls again. Finally, as I am almost to the finish he throws himself across the line and just lays there. I have never seen anything like it in a race before.
At the Elvis 5k, I am coming to finish. This 16 year boy has been setting on my shoulder and he strikes coming to the finish. Darn it, I would love to have those young legs. He just seemed to float by me and to the finish line.
Labor Day came and Mike, Megan, and I were in Charleston, WV for the running of the Charleston 15 miler. We were heading over the Bridge when Mike says to me "This feels like we are running a 5k". I didn't say anything in response, but thought "Oh, you have not seen anything yet". We were just about to hit a 2.5 mile climb. Charleston Distance Run has always been a favorite race for me, but "man" the last 2 years it has been hot.
2 weeks later I was in Badin for their brutally hilly ½ marathon. What I remember most is running through the 10k finishers. They were an awesome group and cheered me on. I also remember getting this awesome trophy. The thing was huge.
The month of October saw me battling Donny down to the wire at the Big South 5k. That was so much fun. I had passed Donny around a mile into the race and he just hung on my shoulder. Then, coming to the last 2 turns, he put a serious move on me. I couldn't respond to it on that day.
November turned into a busy racing month for me. I ran OBX for the 5th time. I was happy with the time 2:46 but I wasn't happy with how I preformed. I felt like I didn't run up to my potential.
A week later, I finished 3rd overall at Santa Scramble and 1st Male Master. I remember going through the first mile in 5:31 and feeling like I was sprinting. "Man" was I glad this was a flat and downhill course.
4 days later, I lined up at Charlotte's very own "Turkey Trot 8k". I had no real expectations other than just run hard and enjoy a run with 9000+ of my closest friends. Within the first half mile, I catch sight of Donny and quickly make my way across to run close behind him. Just before the mile, I make a move similar to the one in the Big South 5k and pass him. But this time, I don't try to settle. I keep pushing.
Turning on the Colony which is the new section of the course, I am holding something in reserve. We reach Sharon Rd and the 4th mile point. My Garmin dings with the split and I think I have blown any chance of running in the 28s for this day. With nothing to lose at this point, I charge the last mile. If I blow up, so what.
I turn the final corner and remember being confused by the time on the finish clock. Did is say 27 minutes or 29 minutes. No, it says 27 minutes. I charged to the finish and the clock just ticks too fast for me. I finish in 28:03 after having run the last mile in 5:14. I have no idea where the energy for this last mile originated.
Two days later with my spikes in my hand, I am ready to run the Foot Locker Open/Master. The ground was frozen that morning so while the spikes grabbed well in the grass, they were not very good on the dirt. And, I went out way to fast that first mile. This was not a case of oxygen debt. This was more like the running version "Fiscal Cliff" raising lactic acid levels and having 0 oxygen in my sytem . But the fun part is racing around so many other good runners. That's where I found the enjoyment in running and in competing. I would go on to finish as the 13 overall masters and receive a Foot Locker medal for my efforts. At the end of the day, I was happy that I choose to check the Foot Locker 5k off my bucket list.
Clearly, I have highlighted some of the most enjoyable moments of '12, but it wasn't all roses and smiles. My hamstring kept me in-check most of the year and only after seeing Dr. Markel did I feel the corner being turned. I missed running the New River 50k because of dumb incident with my quad. There were races where I just didn't race well and probably a few races where I should have just not run.
But when I look back on '12, I don't focus on the low moments. I focus on the good moments. I spent many miles running with friends. Some were speedy. Some were not so speedy. Some like running on trails. Some like running on the roads.
What I feel most fortunate about is they don't mind running with me.
Here's hoping '13 brings me as many good memories as '12 and hopefully more.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner