Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday Morning Jaunt in the Park(s)

What is it that drives some of us to keep up an activity long after we were good at it? Brett Favre keeps on flinging the football, still proving his value. George Foreman fought into his fifties, if I remember right. The football field and the boxing ring, though, have a lot more variants than the clock, and runners can't make excuses--it's just them and the time it takes them to run the race. So it went on Sunday morning as I once again stepped onto the course in Sioux Falls for the Half Marathon. Though I can't cover the distance with the speed I once did, there's still some fun in it, like seeing former students, for example, such as Laura Carrow, once an English major at DSU and a star runner, she's now a writer at the Pipestone County Star. Or Katherine Fisk, also a star DSU runner, still at it. Dr. Sample of Madison also makes his annual appearance at the race. But the big gun with DSU connections is Sample's daughter-in-law, Marie Parker Sample, mother of three who has Olympic aspirations. She's won the women's race several times, and probably did again. She's still peaking, working to extend the curve of her successes. Read about her in the recent Argus Leader article. Last weekend I saw Marie and her husband running Sunday morning as I was leaving town on a long (20-mile) run, and I encountered them again an hour and a half later out at Lake Herman. They too, were putting in some long miles.
The crowds have about worn themselves out cheering by the time I come sauntering in to the finish line, but there's always one fan that's looking for me and ready to drive my tired bones home again. That's a good thing.


deana said...

While his modesty is one of the traits I usually admire in him, don't let John fool you. He didn't saunter in. The fans were far from being finished with their cheers when he crossed the line, completing his 13.1 miles run at about 1:41 (the site isn't providing official times yet).

You can do the math. As just a mere mortal who has been running a couple of years and still sees an 8 minute mile as a goal, running 13 of them in just under that time is a fairly impressive accomplishment. So while they might not fly like he wants, John can still make his tired bones zip pass lots of runners. And if that is not as easy to do today as it was in the past? Well, that's all the more reason for me to be proud.

JN said...

Well, now, isn't she sweet? Yes, my official time was 1:41:33, which puts me at about a 7:45 pace for that distance. Not bad, I guess. And of 890 runners finishing, I came in 157th. You have to admire those guys who come steaming in at a 5:18 pace (Bret Fransen) or 5:33 (Chris Heezen, another DSU guy). But look at Joshn Washenberger, at 47 years old, cooking along at a 6:10 pace for 9th place overall. Whoop! Thanks for the opening, Deana!