What a day! We have been awake since 4 A.M. this morning so we could find a parking spot and buy donuts and coffee before the race. Parking was not as difficult as I had thought, although I was worried a little when the ramp from yesterday was blocked off.
With an hour to spare, Cheryl and I headed to the “Yellow Section” that matched her bib tag….Simple enough. All the directions warn you to arrive early and make sure you enter your color zone at the proper entrance. I was forced to bid Cheryl farewell at this point, since there were no spectators allowed.
So as Cheryl found her place in the start line, I headed up the road to find a good vantage point to see if I could get any pics of the Elites and possibly Cheryl as she came out of the gate. In typical fashion, my “AWESOME” vantage point was quickly taken over by oblivious and (unknowingly rude) spectators. The kind who dart in front of you as if you are not even there. Ah well….what are you going to do? I guess I’m used to it by now.
The temperature was hot and humid. The announcers were warning folks to take it easy and be safe. They urged the participant to expect a 30-50 second addition to their “per-mile pace.” I was not worried about Cheryl as we both agreed that this run was simply a celebrity watch and basically a freebee, since it is practically in our back yard. Cheryl knows she does not have the same performance in the heat as she does in the cooler weather.
Nonetheless, the race seemed to take forever to start. I guess they were waiting for the planes to line up with the songs and the cannon start. Just a side note….stick to the national anthem…. PLEEEASE! Not everyone loves country music….no matter how “patriotic” guns and pick-ups might seem. Just sayin’. The Wrong Music can KILL THE MOOD!
After the Planes, “Vietnam Vets” on Motorcycles, and Lee Greenwood serenade….all that was missing was a HUGE HAMBURGER and a full sized pickup truck to kick off this run! YEEEHAAAWWW!
The Elites tore out front since there was money on the line. The Top 10 runners win cash prizes. ( I believe) I was able to get some good shots of Meb as he ran by. (Notice the 4 guys in Purple in the back behind the lead pack….you will see them again. ) Meb took the lead around mile two I believe….and held it for several miles before being overtaken near the end. Leading the “pack” is tough because I guess you have to plow through your own air instead of drafting behind someone.
The next wave of people ( the ones with the orange tags on their bibs) came thought. I was a little suspicious as to their placement….they did not look like “serious athletes” from my vantage point. From what Cheryl witnessed, that was the case. I’m not sure who or what they put on their entrance forms, but my guess is that “average pace” was exaggerated a bit. Cheryl was placed in the “yellow” zone and she ended up passing many of the “orange” folks. They only reason I am complaining is because I was trying to find Cheryl in that cluster of human torsos…and that is never an easy task…since Cheryl is so short and dinky and cute…..but I digress.
I must have shot about 30 pictures of nameless faces….but, with a little help from Cheryl’s memory, I was able to find her amidst the marching brigade of runners. Can you see her? Here is a close up:
The Elites finally returned charging down the Brady Street hill like sprinters. ( Note the group of purple guys…again) Two were from Kenya and Two from Ethiopia. I’m not sure which one was the winner, but it was a mad dash to the finish. Meb Keflezighi eventually dropped back to 8th ( still in the top ten) I’m sure the heat was a factor, just like it was for Cheryl.
I found Cheryl at the train bridge coming in for the finish. Once again, I was not allowed to join her at the after race party. I guess there was a treasure trove of snacks. It didn’t really matter to me since we were planning on Ice cream after the race anyway.
So, there you have it. I guess the heat affected quite a few people this year compared to previous years. Judging from the participants, and from stories I overheard, I can imagine why. Several “groups” entered the race at the last minute with little or no training. I’m not sure how much “partying” they had to do to think running 7 miles in the heat and humidity sounded good. And perhaps I’m profiling too much…but you did not see ME out there running this morning….And there is a reason for that.
The results for the race are not up quite yet. Cheryl is obsessing by her computer waiting for them to update the final tally. Her time is similar to her training runs but she wants to compare her results with everyone else's today. The Heat has a way of leveling the playing field…even if you do NOT manage a personal best. Everything is relative.