Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nine Tough Miles

First, the good news. Dori is feeling better. Though she's having a few lingering "issues," her fever is gone and she's eating again. I cannot tell you how calming it is to have her back to normal or close to normal. If the doctors had ordered her to go back in the hospital, I might have "dropped the gloves," as we say in hockey.

I found a photo of a red-tailed hawk, much like our neighborhood resident. I call him "Boss Hawk," because he really rules this part of South Nashville. He's the one we see cruising through our property, or perched on a fence down the road, just taking in the sights or looking for hapless rodents. The kids and I agree Boss Hawk is the most handsome bird we've ever seen. I did find our bird guidebook in Will's room, but I can't ID the sparrow or warbler yet.

Today's long run, which I started as soon as the rain stopped, is proof I'm not ready for a half marathon. After a decent first few miles, I felt the energy drop around mile four. After a GU, things picked up, but not for long. That's when I turned back into the 25 MPH wind that went from friend to foe. Miles five through 8.5 also were mostly uphill, so things got dicey. My 9:10 pace the first four miles dropped significantly. My mind said, "You don't have to finish today." I pushed on, knowing that yes, I had to finish this run to stay on schedule for the next half marathon. You don't do 13.1 by quitting a nine-miler.

Another GU at mile seven helped matters, but only slightly. When I reached mile eight, where there's a steep hill, I recalled the words (from ABBA's I Have a Dream) I heard earlier on my iPod:

" ...Pushing through the darkness ... still another mile ... I believe in angels."

I love that song. This helped me get up that hill, but I was totally spent at that point. I stopped at the top, breathed deeply, finished the last few ounces of Gatorade, and plodded on wobbly into the whipping wind. "Don't stop again, buddy," I thought. "Finish!"

The inner cussing worked. The last .75 miles weren't unbearable, just not enjoyable. Kinda like the whole run ... 9 miles in 1:29:09.

The kids, a friend of Kathryn's and I went to the Vanderbilt-Florida game yesterday. Dori and I made it out of clinic in time for me to do this, and sister Anne came over to be with Dori. After not showing much emotion in the first half, I felt myself get very involved in the game as the intensity on the court increased. I was sitting around a few Gator fans who were annoying quite a few of the home folks, including me. Do you think I had some pent-up energy from the last few days? At one point, I told myself, "This is just a basketball game." But I didn't want to lose to those Gators!

Florida made a nice comeback, but one of their guards stopped their momentum late in the game by getting a technical foul for elbowing our center A.J. Ogilvy. Then, they were called for an over-and-back at midcourt, and we hit our free throws. The Dores won, 61-58, to go 22-4. I looked over at the end of the game at my daughter and her friend, and they were doing the Gator chomp (flapping arms like Gator jaws)! Yikes. They were into it, too.

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