Alyssa waiting in line for the bus.
As the bus nears the start line, people are seen all moving the same direction, numbers pinned to their shirts, faces eager with anticipation. We get off the bus and follow all these eager running folk. The line to use the port-a-potties resembles that for the shuttle bus, so we all opt to wait until the end of the race, or hope that there may be some along the route. Music is playing, and the start line buzzes with excitement - thousands of people are lined up ready to run.
Just as they are about to officially give the go ahead, the band strike up Shout and suddenly about 1/2 of the runners are jumping around, singing along, hands flying in the air - I am one of them. Crossing the start line, activating my timing chip, I am eager and excited - and then there it is - the first hill. Ughh. I attempt to run it, failing miserably. Alyssa stays with me, the course flattens out, I feel better. A commotion to our right, someone has fallen down. I look over and see a girl, on her hands and knees - I can only imagine how scraped up she must be, but I keep running swept along by the other runners. The second hill approaches, again I attempt to run it, and again I fail. This time I lose Alyssa, I am sure now that we will be running the race separately, but suddenly there she is beside me just past the crest of the hill.
The camaraderie among runners is an amazing thing. Alyssa mentions the need for a rest room, and a guy running past yells out that he needs the same. Farther along a couple women are talking, one says "Slow is the new Fast," which brings chuckles from several neighboring runners. At mile 2 I lose Alyssa, this time because she has gone into the WQED studios to use the restroom, she sees King Friday's castle and the tree from Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood. I plod along, walking a bit more than running, since I told Alyssa I'd slow up for her to be able to catch me. I spot her at mile 3, she is still a ways back and waves me on. Somewhere around mile 4 we meet up again, after the first major downhill run. Mile 5, in an attempt to raise her spirits, I give her what I think is a playful shove (she disagrees) towards Smiley, and tell her to give him a high five. She curses me out for this most of the rest of the race.
Rounding the bend near the finish I spot Bob (Alyssa's hubby) smiling and cheering us on. We cross the finish line at the same time, both with a time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 23 seconds.
Don't I look ridiculously serious?
(Alyssa looks like she may cry)
My final place was 7788 out of 7958 finishers. I like to think of that as I'm faster than 170 people. I choose to ignore the 7787 people faster than me. There's always next year - maybe then I'll be faster than 180 people!