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My Birthday Weekend

March 26, 2012

First of all… it’s kinda weird writing that title because honestly I feel like a hypocrite.  For YEARS while I was in Virginia, I:

a) didn’t really have a ‘birthday’ per se, and
b) told everyone who would listen “Jesus, have one friggin’ birthday celebration… when you have SEVEN over a 2 week period, people are gonna pick one, fulfill their birthday commitment to you, and all you’re gonna have is disappointment due to a bunch of poorly attended birthday parties.”

Now, there were a few exceptions (80’s Hip-Hop Throwback Party, anyone?!?!), but for the most part, this was the rule.

My, how times have changed.

I’m not sure how it happened to be honest, but it just kinda ‘happened’.  This weekend turned into a big ol’ “Gach’s Birthday Extravaganza” and, as much as I tried to fight it, I kinda liked it.  Actually, I KNOW it has to do with the fact that I’m home… there’s no question it’s a comfort thing – as well as a BIG ol’ long story.  But my family/ friends were amazing this weekend – starting with a very special Thursday night dinner made by the best li’l 6 year-old entrepreneur I know (my goddaughter), to my regularly scheduled bi-weekly dinner on Friday w/ my friends, onto Saturday in the city at the 9/11 Memorial and South Street Seaport and all the way to…

My first ever 10K race!

Yup, I did it.  In preparation for my first half-marathon IN LESS THAN A FRIGGIN’ MONTH, I ran my first 10K race – the ‘Run Away From Winter 10K’ out at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater.  The running team came out IN FORCE for this one, as myself, Courtney, Mai, Nancy, Brian and Martin all ran it.  Funny thing too… for all six of us this was our first 10K race – even though 3 of them have already run half-marathons!

So, my plan for this race was as it always is:  Finish behind everyone so I get the most cheers at the end. 🙂  But seriously, the plan was to finish at 1:33:40, which is a perfect 15:00/ mile pace (or, the pace I’m training at and trying to keep for the half.)

Well… that didn’t quite work out.

Gun goes off and everyone takes off.  And I mean TAKES OFF.  Cloud of dust, and I’m right now 3rd to last out of everyone.  That’s OK though… 15 minute miles is the goal, not to win.  I put my head down to stay focused so I’m not dejected by seeing everyone run away.  I get to Mile 1 – “12:35… 12:40!” the spotter yells out.  I LOL… I mean I literally laugh out loud.  They are clearly kidding, or lying simply to keep runners spirits up, because there’s no way in God’s green Earth I’m ALL THE WAY BACK HERE and just busted out a sub-13:00 mile.  NO WAY.  Mile 2 – “25:25!”  Seriously… y’all ain’t foolin’ me. I’m not going this fast.

Mile 3 – the turnaround. “38 frumphnrumph!” Now… I have NO idea what the seconds were because, as soon as he said “38” the words (apologies in advance to my Mother and Father) “you have GOT to be f**king kidding me!” came out of my mouth.  I’m 3 miles in running sub 13:00 minute miles.

I’M 294 POUNDS.  RUNNING SUB 13:00 MINUTE MILES.

Mile 4 comes us and the split is 50:50.  I’m literally outta my mind at this point – these are essentially 12:45 miles for 4 straight miles.  I seriously have NO idea what the hell is going on.  And that’s what did me in.  I started over-thinking:

“I can’t keep up this pace.”
“I’m gonna hurt myself if I keep doing this”
“Don’t get caught up in this… 15 minutes/ mile is the goal”

Now everything starts to hurt, because I’m thinking about it all too much, and I decide to walk a little bit.  I catch my breath and start back up again.  Then, ahead in the distance, I see my boy Joe standing at one of the parking lots – dude showed up to support everyone and brought an entire cooler of Gatorade and water for us (and I heard a rumor of PBR for Martin, but that’s unconfirmed as of this posting) in case we needed any hydration… but we literally had our own personal Water Station (I need to start bringing a camera of some kind when I run b/c I needed a pic of this and couldn’t get it!)

So we chat for a few seconds as I’m running and I get back in the woods, out of the sight of any people again.  I get to Mile 5 (1:05:35) and I walk a second time, just for a few minutes to catch my breath.  At this point the final clearing comes up, so I gotta finish strong… I do just that and, with all my friends around at the finish cheering me on (see… the plans works EVERY SINGLE TIME) I finish at 1:20:50, approximately 13:00 minutes/ mile.

For me? That’s is some fast runnin’… and check out how fast my peeps we’re cruisin’:

Mai – 1:02:40
Courtney – 1:07:09
Brian – 1:07:55
Nancy – 1:13:58
Martin – 1:15:40

I’m so overwhelmingly happy with how this entire weekend turned out.  I said to Mai at brunch after the race that every single day lately I realize more and more that moving back to Jersey was the right decision. This weekend was simply 3 more days reinforcing of that very fact.

This train is movin’, people… and right now, not even Denzel Washington and Chris Pine can stop it.  Less than a month till the Rutgers half-marathon and dammit if I’m not RIGHT on track to be ready to make that happen.  Thank you to EVERYONE who made this weekend fantastic and continue to support me – from both near and far… y’all are amazing.

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