Monday, June 2, 2008

We Interrupt This Biking Schedule to Bring You a Half Marathon...and a Flood!

Just when we were getting in some good mileage and were making progress on our quest to find every shuffle board table within biking distance in Iowa; the rains came. And we are not talking some mist in the sky, fogged over Pacific Northwest rain, we are talking about sideways rain complete with electrical currents zipping through the air, taking out trees, tornadoes ripping out entire towns, and then...the floods. That "big weather" people talk about in the Midwest? It's here.

So while one of our crew was volunteering to help clean up the mess that was once Parkersburg, Iowa after an F-5 ripped the place apart, others of us were stuck outside Ames trying to figure out how to get back in as flood waters rose. In the meantime the Little League diamonds became a lake navigable by boat alone, all roads into town were closed but one, and sandbaggers furiously hurled bags at the water rising on the one remaining road in. Not to worry, our Indianola contingent was keeping it real; zipping up hills and to the vineyards on swanky new rides. And then the ragbrai bus engine blew up.

It was an interesting week.

The good news is, I told someone, who told someone that I would do this silly half marathon Saturday, so I figured I'd best own up and run the sucker. So I rested in preparation for the thing for the better part of the week anyway. And because my people aren't ones to leave another behind, they graciously rested with me. And Saturday the skies parted, the sun came out and I laced up my Asics and ran the damn thing.

Insert honking sounds here, I finished! I was not pretty and I was not fast but given my five paltry weeks of training and two to three runs per week maximum, all ended well. I finished in under two hours. I did not walk. And I made it to the beer stand at the end for a cold one before heading home and nursing my chafe. Mission accomplished.

There has never been a sight so sweet as Keri standing atop that planter at mile 10, wide eyed and smiling and ready to shepherd me in those last couple miles. I was feeling fine until about 500 meters before this very moment when I felt the sudden urge to hurl my shoes into the Des Moines river and immerse myself in water. My feet hurt like a bitch and I will spare you all the other details. My music had also become mundane by this time and I swore if another Nada's tune (who I typically quite like) came on the shuffle mode I'd crush my i-pod into oblivion.

Like I would have had the energy.

But there Keri was, like some goddess standing there on that planter. And while she about had to jump into my arms to alert me to her presence, and might as well have strapped me to her back to pull me through to the end...her presence made the last couple miles totally bearable and sweet, and when I threatened a delerious sit in at 12.2, she talked me through my final steps before jumping off course while she and the others cheered me to the finish. Then there was beer and popsicles and friends and life was grand!

So that's done.

And now we will resume this regularly scheduled riding season. But only after we cheer Keri on at the HyVee Tri here in a few weeks will we be at 100% capacity. Until then, we're working on scoping out those shuffleboard tables and riding to as many live music events as we can dream up.

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