Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pat Tillman 4.2 Race Report!

"In our blessed and mostly peaceful society we're not as familiar with courage as we once were. We ascribe the virtue to all manner of endeavors that only really require skill, fortitude and a little daring, the qualities Pat Tillman showed on the football field. Pat's best service to his country was to remind us all what courage really looks like, and that the purpose of all good courage is love."
- Senator John McCain, at Pat Tillman's memorial service, May 3, 2004

Courage is a funny word. It is sort of like hero. They are both generic enough that I can be a hero and courageous to one guy for eating two Chipotle burritos and not shatting myself....while to another I am courageous for laying my life on the line rescuing baby seals out of the mouth of killer whales (yeah, didn't do either of those).

This past weekend, my wife and I walked the Pat Tillman 4.2 memorial run. It is a 4.2 mile race commemorating the life of Pat Tillman who turned down a $3+ million NFL contract to join the Army. He was subsequently killed by friendly fire while serving overseas - which regrettably the govt tried to cover up (but I digress). 4.2 miles represents Pat's 42 Arizona Cardinals jersey number and the race finishes on the 42 yard line of Arizona State's football stadium. Gotta love symbolism.

The race started early - really early. I forgot how easy it is to get out of bed before a big race when you are in a hotel - and how hard it is to get out of bed when you are at home. 4:50am rolled around REALLY early. Here my wife and I are waiting in the corals. I hate it when people say: "Wow Adam, you look tired" What they mean to say is: "Wow Adam, did you just get beat up by a hooker? You look like shit". Well, I'll admit - in this picture I look TIRED.

This race is Arizona's largest race (when you count Rock and Roll half and full separately). This year there were 28,000 who actually participated. You know what this means - long port a pot lines.

For some reason though, I have to think that if I was waiting in line and I REALLY had to go, I would have just "found my own path". I've modified the picture above (using red arrows) labeling all SORTS of alternate watering holes.(This is why I can't have nice things)

In fact, the lines were so long that I just decided to try to hold it. Unfortunately we got a little delayed and I had to hold it about an hour longer than normal. This means that along the course I pee'd behind a dumpster - it was like the weekend all over again!

Lots of people:

While I was waiting for the race to start (which started 30 min late - not including the 20 min that it took us to get to the starting line...grrrr) I noticed that the lady in front of me had a bit of a blowout. I mean, I'm all for ventilation, but this seemed to go a bit far (maybe she just has one REALLY long toe):

The walk itself was really fun. It was the 3rd race that I've done with my wife so it was really fun to drop all sorts of running knowledge bombs on her to share the experience with her. We walked along at a really good clip, averaging ~15:45 min miles - speed walking! I'm actually looking into Olympic level speed walking. Since most of those guys are 80, I'm thinking that I'd rock the 25-29 age group category.

After the race, I had originally planned on meeting up with RunningLaur, Demi, and Jeff however our meeting place (the ice cream tables) didn't exist this year. Bummer. Fortunately, I was able to see RunningLaur about a mile away from the finish (she had finished and was walking to her car):

And got to meet up with Jeff at the end. Jeff waited a FULL 45 minutes for my wife and I to finish - mostly because he rocked the race at 38:XX. Huge PR for him. You're OK Jeff, I don't care WHAT all of those other people say about you.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet up with Demi. I've missed out on meeting her for a NUMBER of races (due to scheduling issues) so I am just going to assume that she is a figment of my imagination. That strategy has worked so far for the leprechaun who tells me to burn things! Just kidding - we'll meet up soon Demi! (Even if I have to twitter stalk you and show up at your front door)

Overall, it was a great race and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, next year I may do it twice! Because of all of the participants, the leaders actually finished before my wife and I crossed the start line, so depending on the timing, I may be able to run it AND walk it! Same money, double the fun.

This report got a little long, but I wanted to close with this. I'm not an incredibly patriotic or spiritual guy. Just like my running, I'm pretty middle of the pack in whatever I do. "Don't ruffle the feathers Adam, keep your head down, get shit done." But, I do know one thing - Pat Tillman sure was courageous, and I hope that my $40 went to someone who will be half as courageous as he was.


Chad said...

I was there, too. This is the first year I've ever ran that race. Usually we jog it. It's a whole new game, dodging 20k people. They line up in the 7:00 pace coral and then walk the whole time. I took out a lady with a stroller when she stopped speed walking to adjust her iPod. Fun times!

Jamoosh said...

Excellent pictures!

Psyche said...

I liked this report. Lots of good pictures! Also, a very good cause.
And it explained the whole 4.2 thing which was seriously bugging me:)

Barefoot AngieB said...

Nice photos! Glad you had a good time :)

Jill said...

Did you rent a helicopter to take pictures of those long potty lines?? Who gets shots like that?? Anyway, glad you had a great time - and what a great cause! Very nice!!

inspiREDtorun13 said...

Aww that's cool! Sometimes big crowds are worth it just to know what a massive race feels like!

And yeah, "you look tired" has got to be in the top 5 comments I hate to hear. It's not polite. It's code. And everyone understands it.

Her Name is Rio said...

(Sing song voice) this is your imagination commenting here. . . . Nice report- great pictures! i still can't believe i missed everyone. Although the crowds were crazy and the corrals were a mess, I agree it was for a good cause.

Johann said...

Great report and pics! I never stand in those queues and just find a spot. Sometimes I borrow my dad's camper to go to races and then I have my own "bathroom".:)

rtfgvb7826 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Julie said...

Hi Adam,
I loved reading this race report!! It looks like such a fun time:) Thanks for sharing all of those fantastic and your wife are such a good looking young couple:) Have a good one Adam!!

Ace said...

Skip doing it twice, you should do the race 4.2 times and give 4.2% effort. Just to be consistent.

Glenn Jones said...

What a great cause Adam! I think I'd even put up with those porta potty lines for this cause. I sure hope they don't allow this one to sell out (as in too many runners)...

RunningLaur said...

Well written.

(42 was Pat's ASU #, he was 40 for the Cardinals though.)

I was wondering what all the red arrows were for in the overhead shot when I saw it on picasa. Makes more sense with commentary.

kilax said...

I didn't think this was too long :)

What a cool race. It's so fun that you walked it with your wife (love the pic of you two)! Sometimes large races like that can be a bit stressful if you run them. Just so many people! I have yet to do a race that large. I think the largest I have done was 18000 people. (I was going to say 18K, but then that could be misconstrued as an 18K race! Ha!).

I love meeting other runner bloggers! Even if they are imaginary!