Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Perham Harrier Half Marathon

This morning Erin and I got up early and drove out to Perham so I could run the second annual Perham Harrier Half Marathon.  When I signed up for the event I was hoping to break 2 hours, but training hasn't been going very well lately and I didn't keep up with my running over our vacation so this turned from an A level event to one where I was just going out to have fun.

Terry and I before the race, the DBRC twins
The alarm went off a little after 4:00 and we were both fairly tired.  Erin was at a bachelorette party the previous night, and even when she got home she was texting all night because her twin sister had gone into labor.  We stopped for gas on the way out of town and headed east.  We arrived in Perham a little ahead of schedule which was nice.  We drove to the park and I was able to pick up my packet.  We ran into some other runners from Fargo we knew: Terry, Mike and Paul and chatted with them for a bit as we got ready.  They went off to warm up but I just waited with Erin in the car.  I'd have plenty of time to warm up over the 13.1 mile run.  Just before the start of the race I went to the bathroom one last time and Erin and I walked over to the starting area.  Since it was the same as Turtlefest this year it was all familiar.

Look closely for the hydration pack, you'll see

I'm not exaggerating about being dead last
When the race started, I jumped out to an early lead with the pack trailing me by quite a bit...  Ok, maybe not. I was dead last for the first 4.3 miles.  I settled into my running rhythm within a mile and started to pick the pace up slowly.  Even though I was last there was still some crowd support along the way.  There was a residential area we ran through and there were a few driveways with people standing near the road cheering. It was nice of them to stay out until we all had gone by.  I was starting to embrace the roll of being last place.  I had a biker and police car following me and had the road to myself.  Where else am I going to be pampered like this on a run?  After 4 miles, I started to close in on the person ahead of me.  When I approached I saw he was a teenager that looked like he was in a little over his head.  I asked him how he was doing and received a grunt in reply.  I couldn't think of anything inspirational to say and my legs were feeling good and I quickly left him behind.  After I passed him I started to hear something in the distance that I couldn't quite make out.  After going along for a bit I was able to determine it was music.  Eventually I passed a volunteer in a suburban with the doors and back hatch open blasting music.  He was standing outside his truck with a cowbell playing along with the music.  It was greatly appreciated and I thanked him as I went by.

As the music faded, anther sound became noticeable: thunder. I could see some nasty looking clouds to the west and watched the lightning as the storm rolled in.  Eventually I turned east and it was rather eerie listening to the thunder grow closer behind me without being able to watch the clouds.  I started to catch up to another runner right about the time it started to rain and we ran along together for a while talking until the wind picked up and the heavy stuff started to fall.  When the storm intensified I pushed the pace a little.  The heavy rain and strong wind stung my skin but I wasn't too worried.  Last year I had gone running with Connie and we were caught in a similar storm. I had made it through that when we didn't have anywhere to take shelter, but here if I got concerned I could get a ride with the race volunteers. My clothes were completely soaked by the down pour and the leading edge of the storm had some impressive lightning.

As the rain started to let up I was expecting some more fireworks on the trailing edge of the storm and I was not let down.  I was passing what looked to be a radio tower as it was struck by lightning.  I'm guessing I was less then a quarter of a mile away when it happened.  Just a couple minutes after that a van pulled up beside me and stopped.  I gave the thumbs up sign and continued on only for it to pull up along side me again with the window rolled down.  The volunteer said they were pulling everyone from the course because of the lightning. I wanted to continue, but would have been on my own for the rest of the race.  I decided to take the ride back.  Even though I was disappointed, I could see that this was the right decision to make after seeing the lightning strike so close to me.  I rode back to the starting area and found Erin who was waiting in the car.

After changing out of my soaked clothes we went to the lakes cafe for breakfast.  I had some pancakes and bacon while she had cheesy hash browns with toast and bacon.  The food was very good. After breakfast we headed home.

Later in the day Erin's twin sister, Elisa, delivered her baby, our first niece. Emily Rae Eastburn, 6 pounds 13 ounces.  I think I'll concede to Elisa I had the easier day today.
Emily Rae

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