Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Delano Park 12-Hour - 3/12/11

Sunshine! I had been waiting on it all week. An office mate and I decided that the reason we felt so "blah" was lack of sunshine. On Thursday, I told her that I was losing my permanent tan, and that this weekend will put me back on track, lol! I came back from Decatur, AL with a slight tan line from my watch being on my left wrist. I'll take it. Bring on Spring!

Last year at the Delano Park 12-Hour, I managed 46 miles. This year, I only did 36 miles. I could have done a little better if not for two naps that totaled about 90 minutes, but I still would not have matched last year's distance even if I had stayed awake the whole time. No biggie. I was just happy to be outside moving in the sunshine. The best part of all was spending the day with my running buddies.

The course is a one mile loop on smooth, crushed gravel throughout the park. Even though there are a couple of risers, I still consider it a flat course. It's a great race to push for a 12-Hour PR. The one aid station at the start/finish area was fully stocked. I couldn't take full advantage of it, however, but I did enjoy two slices of cheese pizza, a couple of mini-powdered donuts, a few chips, and Mountain Dew throughout the day. After the race, we had the awards ceremony and dinner at a local church, and among other things, they served salad and a veggie lentil soup that was delicious.

My running buddies were awesome as usual! There are no words to describe Fred (OH). He finished the Rouge-Orleans 126 miler the weekend before Delano, and he still ran 51 miles on Saturday. He will probably double this distance at the Howard L. Aslinger Memorial 24-Hour Endurance Run this upcoming weekend. I will again have the opportunity to witness a great performance as he laps me over and over again. Fred is training for the Self-Transcendence 10-Day in New York next month. He usually runs about 500 miles in that race. I can't even imagine the physical and mental fortitude that accomplishing that feat will take. Fred is truly an inspiration and a sweetheart of a man to top it off. Check out Fred in action below in the long black tights.

Andy (FL) was there. He wanted to run a 50K and call it quits so that he could have dinner with his family. He finished the day with 33 miles. With upwards of 500 marathons/ultramarathons under his belt, he is a remarkable runner. Since he was on a mission, I did not chat with him as much as I would have liked, but we'll see each other on the trails and/or roads soon. Below, Andy is passing through the aid station and timing area on the right. On the left, several of the relay teams had set up their tents to hang out while waiting for their runners.

I have a new running buddy, Steve. He says we've met before, but neither one of us could remember which race it was. We shared some early laps together getting to know each other. He splits his time between Little Rock, AR and Chicago, IL. He and his wife are trying to sell their home in Chicago so they can be together, but she still works at a job that she loves, while he's decidedly retired. He is such a treat. His goal was "40 miles or 4 o'clock, whichever comes first". He was right on, too. He ran 40 miles in just under 10 hours (the race started at 6:00 a.m.) and then called it a day. I am genuinely impressed!

I spent most of the day with my running buddy, Gene (IL). We have run too many races to count together over the years. I know that if I can keep up with Gene, it's going to be a great day. Again, I had decided that I was going to take some time off from racing this year. But that decision causes me such mental anguish. At Delano, I was like a kid - talking and joking with everybody, running when I felt like it, walking when I couldn't run, and singing (making a "joyful noise" as stated by Fred (OH) as he passed me, lol) and dancing to my MP3 player the few times that I was alone on the loop. I miss racing every weekend. The last few months I have only been racing, on average, two weekends out of the month, but I wanted to be out there more. Gene, who is 75 years old, ran 32 miles at Delano. That's an amazing accomplishment, even for someone half his age. He never complained. He talked and joked with several runners throughout the day. He ran happily. Gene runs mostly ultramarathons now and needs North Dakota to finish his circuit of an ultra in all 50 states. He kicked my sorry a$$ into gear and taught me a valuable lesson on Saturday. I will do what I can and be grateful for it. I will no longer whine about what I can't do, because there's a whole lot that I still can do. So, I will "just do it". Because of Gene, I have registered for four more races that I know I can complete (two 24-Hour races, one 12-Hour, and a 30 Miler that has no cut-off). Thank you, Gene, for helping me to see the light!

I am always a little concerned when running buddies drop from the racing scene. I had been asking around about David (GA) because I had not seen him. He was no longer on Facebook and his Blog had been removed from the Internet. To be honest, I feared the worst. But David was there in full force. He's been running but has not been racing as much so that he could spend more time with his family. He is a noble man and has his priorities straight. We walked several loops together, but when he was running, he was really moving, and he finished with 51 miles. We both were so happy to be at Delano on Saturday. I could tell that he missed the ultrarunning scene, because the feeling was mutual. I'm looking forward to seeing him in some future races, now that I know that he is getting along just fine. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of David, but below are the "pear trees" along the course that remind me of David - tall, beautiful, and majestic. I don't think David cared too much for the smell of the bloomed trees, but I took in a deep breath every time I passed the trees. They smelled wonderful to me.

My running buddy, Tammy (MD), ran a very impressive 69 miles to finish second overall female and sixth in the entire field. She was happy, smiling, joking, talking, encouraging, and taking many pictures in the process. She was a running machine in her pink attire. "Wow" is the only word to describe her performance.

Heather (AL) has new purple hair, and she looked great out there, finishing the race with 49 miles and the female master's win. Rosemary (KY) is fantastic in every race she enters, one of my favorite 100 mile queens. She even slowed down to walk a few loops with me. I enjoyed her company, and I'll see her on the roads and/or trails again soon. We've run a lot of races together over the years. Well . . . she's always way ahead of me, lol, but she is a kindred spirit. And she rocked 46 miles at Delano!

John (AL) and Fred (TN) each ran a 50K. John is young and fast, so I think he was just doing an easy training run. He walked a little with Gene and me and told us about his work trip to Australia. Fred broke his leg a couple of years ago at the Chattooga 50K in South Carolina, but he is back at it and looking strong in the process.

In addition to the 12-Hour and relay race, Delano has a 50 mile option (with a 12-hour cut-off, of course). Vikena (GA), who was always encouraging when she passed by, Perry (GA), and Scott (GA) ran excellent times in that race. It must be something in Georgia's water, lol.

Running is a great sport that allows you to compete with the elites. I was in awe as the elites lapped me too many times to count. I enjoyed watching them going for their goals. Jamie (CO), Dink (AL), Robert (AL), Liz (GA), Beth (GA), and Susan (GA) are elites whose running careers I follow on a regular basis. It was a pleasure to run "with" them on Saturday as well. And one of these days, I'll have the courage to go up to them (before or after the race, of course) and talk with them.

As a side note, good vibes from Delano spilled over into my health. I had chemotherapy today, after being off for two weeks again because my blood counts have been too low. My CT scan on Friday showed regression in my liver. A 19-millimeter tumor in my liver is now down to 16 millimeters. The lung tumors are stable. My bones are showing no new lesions but a lot of new scar tissue, which is a good thing and means the Zometa is still working. Stability, regression, and a beautiful day with my running buddies at Delano. Tiger couldn't have asked for more.