Sorry it’s taken me a couple weeks to put this together. I had it written out once before, and the end of my work shift snuck up on me and I wasn’t able to put as much thought into it as I had hoped. So, now it’s 2 weeks later, and I probably cant remember as much about it as I should….but here we go!
It was a chilly morning. A couple inches of snow had fallen a few days before, and it was the first glimpse of winter. Wind chills in the upper teens, but not much wind, so I was ready. My awesome friend Kim showed up right on time and we were off to the zoo. Getting to the zoo, I was blown away at how many people were there. I think the Santa Shuffle had maybe 400 people, but this one had well over 1000. My first thought, holy crap, this is gonna be a mess, but all throughout the race I kept thinking how wonderful it was that so many people were supporting the zoo. It really brought a smile to my face. Getting to packet pickup was a mess, and even though I thought we were there plenty early, it was still a little bit of a rush to get everything taken care of. In the end, this probably helped though, I had time to stretch, get my mind focused, and thats about it…not a lot of time for worrying!
Coming into the race, I knew I had a goal in mind. My original goal was to beat my first race by 10 minutes. After the snow fell, and realizing how cold it was going to be…in my mind I reset my goal to beat my first race by 5 minutes…but still shooting for 10 minutes. All I knew for sure is that I had to beat an hour, because I had to hurry my ass up and get to the Bradley Center to work a Milwaukee Admirals game that afternoon.
9:30: Gun goes off, and like last time, I stepped aside and let all the fast people go first. I just don’t wanna be in anyones way, and my time doesn’t start until I cross the timing mat. Finally worked up the courage to start, and one of the coolest things ever happen. The Milwaukee Fire Department had an entire batallion crew running together, probably 20 guys, and they started just about the same time I did, and they were chanting, yelling and singing, and it was hugely inspirational. I happened to be with them going under a bridge, and it was loud as hell, but awesome. I felt really good, and when I hit the first mile marker, I felt even better. I hit the first mile mark at 15:47, definitely my fastest mile time I’ve ever recorded. This only pushed me to keep it up, I knew if the next 2 miles were just as good, I’d smash my goal. Mile 2 and the clock showed 31:46. I was rocking this shit. There were 2 nice little downhill sections in the race and I actually worked up the courage to run down the hill both times, such a weird feeling. Hit mile marker 3 and I was at 48:00….so beating my goal of 52 minutes was no problem! I crossed the finish line in 49:31, beating my goal by over 3 minutes! And there were TONS of people behind me!
I have to say, doing this event at the zoo was something special. It’s a place I love, the money to register was going towards stuff I love, and the race is even named after a gorilla….best race ever? Best race ever! That being said, I’m gonna shave more time off that as well! It was pretty special walking past Mahal and MJ’s outdoor enclosure and thinking they were inside watching me and cheering me on….I’m sure they weren’t, but they were sure on my mind.
I didn’t have much time to celebrate my victory, but I did take a brief moment to give myself a little cry. I was awfully proud of my accomplishment, and I know the best is yet to come.
Mile 1 – 15:47
Mile 2 – 15:59
Mile 3 – 16:14