'Should I really be in this race? Is there any way I can finish it? How big are those hills? Etc., Etc., Etc.
There were enough runners expected it made sense to get downtown early, so I was in the general area of my starting position a half-hour before the start of the race. Which was really more than 90 minutes before I would start running.
Moseying up to the street girding the Capitol Square, and then around two more corners (two city blocs between each corner), we were welcomed by Buckingham U. Badger and the Badger Band as well as quite a few University of Wisconsin athletes. As I wrote yesterday, that was very cool and a nice moment put together by the organizers.
At the start, I thought I was in my pace and felt pretty good about things - slapping 'five' with a small boy next to his mom exhorting the runners to 'go, go' - when I came up on some runners from the wave in front of us that were already slowing down because of a hill. As I slowed, the earlier questions came back, but there was 'no way' I was giving to a hill this early. That resolve lasted about another mile when a significant hill brought the doubts back.
Many more folks were slowly trudging up the hill and I was slowing waaaaaay down, but kept moving and breathing heavily. It was after reaching the top that I thought about walking for a while, and the only thing that kept me 'running' (quotes necessary) was the great encouragement I've been getting from close friends.
They were back in my head a mile later as I began to look ahead searching for a water station and saw nothing.
Thankfully the hills were pretty much over after the two in mile two... so then it was a matter of resolve and playing mental games with myself ('you're more than half-way now, just keep moving,' 'come on, stay with that runner ahead of you') and knowing that supporters were on the course and in my head.
Two memories remain - after finishing the race I looked up into the stands that were not packed, but still nicely filled with fans and runners relaxing after their runs and second, before I left the field I got down into some semblance of a three-point stance and came up running, just like the football Badgers will again this fall. (It appears, however, not to be athletic enough for the Packers to spend a late-round draft pick on me yesterday.)
So, my thanks for getting me to the finish line and spurring me ahead into 2013. It's nice to have you running with me.