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Grandma's Half Marathon - Race Bib Number 123 Rev 1

Grandma's Half Marathon - Race Bib Number 123 Rev 1

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Grandma’s Half Marathon
Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon
Grandma’s Half Marathon
Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

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Published by: Investor Protection on Jun 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/05/2013

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Grandma's Half Marathon - Bib Number 123
The gun reported the start of the race but the runners were tightly packed —Greg, Kurt, Debbie, Chris and me, along with six thousand of our best friends jogged in place as it slowly thinned out. At the 3 mile mark I dropped back andto the right out of respect for the competitors. This was not unexpected as ithad been some years since I ran a race or much at all for that matter.I was assigned race bib number 123. The lower numbers are normallyassigned to elite runners. Mine was both a low number and in numerical order.At about mile five I started to overtake two girls with hand painted runningshirts, each a canvas — one of a turtle and the other a snail. It was
Gail the Snail 
and
Myrtle the Turtle 
. I passed them on the left with a nod and an openedhand wave. At mile 6 they passed me on the right with a nod and an openedhand wave, We vied for position for the next few miles — now me, now them,now me, now them. So I ran on.At mile 8 two race officials blocked my way holding signs in one hand that read
14 MINUTE RULE IN EFFECT 
and clippers in the other. "Sir you violated the14 Minute Rule by failing to maintain a 14 minute mile please stand still whilewe cut the timing chip off of your shoe.” There I was, de-chipped right there onthe shores of Lake Superior, somewhere at mile eight, in front of the wholeworld and my mother and father in heaven … it mattered less to me becausethis race was not about computer chips anymore. It was about
Gail the Snail 
 and
Myrtle the Turtle 
. So I ran on.The girls and I continued to vie for position as the nods turned to sneers andthe open hand waves to fists. Then at about mile 12 I made my decision. I wasnot going to lose this race to a turtle and a snail. Struggling, I pulled ahead, justenough so I could look back over my shoulder. My eyes locked onto theirs andtheirs on mine. I tightened my lips and mustered my most menacing sneer, andI gave it to them.Looking deep into myself I somehow found strength I did not know I had andpulled ahead. Now the only things that existed in my world were the sound ofmy foot falls … my breathing, rhythmic, in and out, in and out, in and out —hypnotic — familiar. Next there was only my breathing, in and out, in and out,in and out. I was floating, just above the ground, with only the wind at my backpropelling me forward. I was in my happy place, I had found my stride at mile
 
12 !Just yards from the finish line the spectators in the bleachers began cheering. Ilooked to my right to see the first of the full Marathoners overtaking me, agroup of 3 Kenyans, tightly spaced, followed by 2 on my left. I had been lappedby the full Marathon runners who had started over 13 miles further than I, andhours later… but It mattered less. So I ran on.For a brief few moments I was running with world class runners — the eliterunners, and from the bleachers, again, "Go 123 ! — Go 123 !" Stretching myarms to the sky (tipped by my fingers) symbolizing "V" for victory, I crossed thefinish line just strides behind the Kenyans.Though I looked and looked, I did not see
Gail the Snail 
and
Myrtle the Turtle 
 at the post race activities. Laying low I supposed until next year.
 
Notes:Except for the notes section and some minor editing this short story waswritten (not transcribed) as I was running.Inexplicability in the fall of the same year I registered for and ran the Rice LakeClassic and was again assigned the race bib number 123.

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