Sunday, December 2, 2012
Last Man Running
Three weeks ago, Hawkeye Lewis from KSCS (sister station of The Ticket as part of the Cumulus empire) called me to ask a favor. He had broken his ankle in a training race, and wanted me to take his spot in the upcoming Dallas Half Marathon (note: HALF marathon, not FULL marathon). Hawkeye, and the Dallas Marathon (formerly the White Rock Marathon), had come up with an idea to raise money for the Scottish Rite Hospital, the long-time official charitable cause of the race. Hawkeye was to start in last place--let every single runner, probably about 13,000, cross the start line before he would. He would be the "Last Man Running." For every runner he would pass on the road during the 13.1 race, the Cotton Patch Cafe would donate $4 per head to the Scottish Rite Hospital. Great idea, great cause--but a bad break meant Hawkeye wouldn't be able to run. So he picked up the phone.
I didn't give Hawkeye and immediate "yes" answer, mainly because I hadn't been running much due to extreme burnout. After running my best-ever marathon last December at California International, I was on cloud nine. I should have stopped and taken some time off. Instead, I ran Boston in April--it was a 90 degree day, and it was miserable. Then, thinking I should run another marathon soon after Boston so that my Boston training wouldn't go to waste, I signed up for the Utah Valley Marathon in June. On the start line, I thought to myself "what the hell am I doing here?" It was my 5th marathon in 14 months, and I had no interest in pushing my body hard for 26.2 miles. Needless to say, I had a another miserable run. Since then, I've been running one day a week, about 6 miles each time--not the kind of mileage I should be doing to prepare for a half marathon.
I've been riding my bike quite a bit, and I actually started swimming two days a week this summer (with the idea of doing triathlons next year, which will be the topic of a future blog post as I detail my ridiculous triathlon attempts of the mid-80's), so I've been staying in shape--I just haven't been running. So, when Hawkeye asked me to take his place, my first thought was "but I hate running right now!" But, it's for a great cause, and I'm intrigued by the idea of seeing how many people I might be able to pass, so day later I called Hawkeye back and told him I'd do it.
For the past three weeks, I've been on a crash training program, trying to get ready for the race. Instead of one day of running per week, I'm up to three days per week. I've done a couple of slow 13 mile runs, a couple of track sessions, and I ran the Turkey Trot last week as a tune-up. My half marathon best is a 1:28, but I'm not in that kind of shape right now. I think I can run a 1:35 or so, but I have no idea how much I'll be slowed down by the congestion on the road ahead of me once I start running. I could end up running a lot more than 13.1 miles if I have to do a lot of weaving through and dodging around the runners ahead of me.
To add to the pressure, Channel 8 will be televising the race, and they've informed me that they're going to follow me for the first five miles with a helicopter to check my progress. Great.
If you would like to make a donation to the cause and support my run, and more importantly the Scottish Rite Hospital, go to: http://www.dallasmarathon.com/last-man-running/ (sorry, you'll have to cut-and-paste this because blogspot won't let me post a proper link--I plan on suing them for this inconvenience).
My best guess is that I can pass about 4,000-5,000 runners, but I really have no clue. I just hope I don't start last and finish last, and end up not raising a single dollar for the charity. If that happens, I will officially retire from running forever. I will also wear a dress to work for one year--actually, I may do that anyway.