About a week ago, I hung out in Columbus on a Sunday morning, so I could a sporting event no less significant than Ohio State’s season opener, which I had attended just the day before.
The event? The Spirit of Columbus Half Marathon. The significance? Our friend Fred, of Fred and Ethel fame, was participating.
Fred and Ethel have been training for half marathons for much of 2008 and I’ve been listening in amazement as they mentioned their training milestones. I also felt as though I was involved in Fred’s pre-race regimen — mostly by making sure he was properly carbo-loading at Saturday morning’s tailgate party.
Beer is good for that. Seriously.
My time is pretty tight on Sunday mornings when we travel to Columbus, because I have to get back to Pittsburgh in time to not only make it to work to start my 4-midnight shift, but ensure I get a little nap before I have to go. So when we were told by a fellow spectator that things had been delayed at the start line in Dublin, I walked up through the park and set up at a spot that would make it easy for me to walk back to my folks’ house and get packed up.
It took a while for Fred to reach my postion, which was about halfway through the course. Here’s what happened when I saw him:
Here’s why I was impressed: I stopped at the top of a small hill that apparently took many of the racers by surprise; I noticed that a good number of them were unable to even speak at that point in the race. Fred was not only able to speak but, as you’ll notice in the video, he was able to both yell and run backwards, two things that would have killed me at that point.
At the time, he seemed happy to see us on the course; I found out over last weekend how happy he was. Fred apparently doesn’t keep his running medals. After his first half-marathon, he gave his medal to his mother-in-law.
After this one, he gave his medal to me.
Ethel’s first half-marathon is coming up in October, fairly close to her birthday. If we’re able to to be there, we will. Hell, I might even get another medal out of the deal.