May 30, 2005

The Running, Man

This is what my cell phone told me yesterday afternoon, five minutes after I crossed the RUNTO finish line:

From: +78686
Msg: Congratulations Ben! You've finished the Nike RUNTO in 47:31!

Of course it took me two hours to get back to the baggage area and then notice I'd received an SMS message. This is my first timed 10K, so naturally it's a Personal Best. Maybe I should stop with an unbroken streak? I have no idea of how good a time that is yet...

There were over 10,000 runners on Toronto Island. It was a sea of orange t-shirts. Although it rained in the hour before the race the actual event was dry. I couldn't believe how long it took me to get up to and cross the start line. Twelve minutes after the starting gun! It was a crowded course, especially in the first kilometre. I passed a lot of slow runners all the way along the course. I assume this was because other neophytes of even more modest capability had ambitiously started well ahead of me. The last two km were tough, as I was running out of steam and there was a landmark that I could see ahead that I knew was just at the finish line. Every time I glanced up it seemed further away! I still had enough left for a "kick" at the 9 km mark, but I was exhausted. The sun came out nicely about half an hour later, but because I was drenched in sweat and there was a cool breeze I got quite chilled as I waited for my massage (my hip is still sore). The crowds were so thick that I wasn't able to get off the island until after 7:00 PM. Luckily I was able to reach the parents of Chris' friend by phone and they were O.K. with feeding him dinner.

The day started at 7:30 AM with another race, the European Grand Prix in Germany at Hockenheim. Brian, Chris and I watched it in Hi-Def glory. A pretty straightforward race this time, with a fair amount of to-and-fro on the track. The lead was never in question though as Kimi Raikkonen effectively led the whole way in his MacLaren, having got a good run up to the first corner from second place.

Until the last lap that is... Kimi's front right tire was badly "flat spotted" (the tire became unbalanced due to some rubber being scraped off from a lockup under braking) about half way through the race, and in the last six laps or so it was apparent that the wheel was vibrating badly. Not something you want at close to 300 km per hour. On the very last lap his suspension failed due to the vibration and he spun off in what could have been a very nasty accident. He went from first to last in the blink of an eye. If he had come in to replace the tire he would have still been able to finish second, so in hindsight it was a bad decision to stay out on it. The regulations are unclear as to whether a team can replace a tire that hasn't yet actually failed, so maybe the team felt they weren't allowed to replace it. Instead Fernando Alonso won in his Renault. This is his fourth victory this season, and he's on track to be the youngest F1 champion ever at the age of 23. Jacque Villeneuve struggled with a heavy car and finished well back.

Listening to: Strict Machine by Goldfrapp from Black Cherry.

1 comment:

  1. wow!!!!! CONGRATS!!! What a cool thing to do. I hope to accomplish something similar in my lifetime. That is wonderful!! Well done!!