Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saving the World - Pat's Run

I once again got up way too early in order to join 28,000 of my closest friends in honoring Pat Tillman in the 7th annual Pat's Run, sponsored by the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Pat Tillman was an Arizona State University Sun Devil who, upon graduation in 1997, was selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals.  In 2002, however, after the events of September 11, 2001, Pat joined the army along with his brother Kevin, signing up for a three-year commitment with the Army Rangers, based out of Fort Lewis, Washington.  He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.
Pat's death remains one of the most controversial of the war in Afghanistan, but his friends and family chose instead of honor the sacrifice that he made by creating the Pat Tillman Foundation that year.
Pat's Run is its signature event.  Held in Tempe and ending at the 42-yard line of Sun Devil Stadium to commemorate Pat's #42 while at ASU, the course is 4.2 miles in length.  The run helps the Foundation support military families.
This was my first year participating in Pat's Run (in which participants may also choose to walk; there is also a .42-mile kids' fun run).

HRH woke me up twice last night with nightmares; she was screaming in her sleep.  While she was able to go back down rather easily. being woken by my screaming child meant that *I* was wide awake both times, so I didn't get the best night's sleep.  So I was a little tired and not quite "ready" for the run.  Scott had also planned on running with me, but he has been fighting a sinus infection and decided to sit out this year.
Thus, I took the Light Rail into Tempe all by my lonesome and found my corral - each of the corrals, which were assigned based on estimated finish time, held 1000 runners; there were 28 corrals.  I was in corral 2.
Can you see the start???
After a fantastic trumpet rendition of the National Anthem by Jesse McGuire (it brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to just about everyone), we were off, 30 seconds after Corral 1.  It was a gorgeous morning, and I was so tempted to stop on the bridge and on Curry Road to take some pictures, but this WAS kind of a race, so I kept at it.  Unfortunately, my side didn't agree with that philosophy.  Just as I turned onto Rural to head back toward the stadium, I felt a gigantic stitch, and, like at Ryan House, I was forced to walk for about 200 meters so I could work it out.  I was kind of deflated after that, but I kept at it, and pretty soon, I was running up the ramp to the tunnel of Sun Devil Stadium. And finally, I was on the grass.  That grass must hold some energy left over by the many players over the years, and I was able to pick up speed to end the run at nearly a full sprint.
At the finish
After I finished
It was quite an emotional moment.  Once again I was fortunate enough to be a part of something bigger than myself and to help make a difference for someone I will in all likelihood never meet.  I can't lie; part of my runner's high is to get a little teary at the impact so many people can make, including 7- and 9-year-olds, police officer recruits, men and women of all ages,  and members of all four branches of the military, running in FULL GEAR to honor their fallen comrade.
My overall time wasn't my favorite - 38:24.  I had hope to finish closer to a half hour, but this time, it wasn't meant to be.  Besides, it was a gorgeous sunny day, and the 7AM start time meant that I was finished before the heat of the day (95° - what the heck???) really started.
I really do feel wonderful when participating in these events.  I know that it's good for me to run/walk/move (more on that in May), but that I can keep myself healthy in conjunction with doing good works for others - well, that's better than any runner's high I've ever had.
I'm hoping to keep Pat's Run in my rotation, and perhaps next year HRH will do the kids' run with me, too!


That's me (on the right - haha!) with QB Brock Osweiler.
He's like 8 feet tall.
We're now BFFs or whatever.

Having a pint for Pat at Rula Bula with some friends

Rula Bula offers a post run breakfast, which I inhaled.
You can also participate in the official Pints for Pat, which is held
42 days before Pat's Run - I didn't do it this year because that was
the night before Ryan House Run - bad idea.  But I'll remember for next year!

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