|Liberty Bell Invitational|
If I'm not mistaken, and I'm sure I could be with a mess of so many past cross country races jumbled in my brain, the Liberty Bell Invitational was my comeback race in 1985. I was just off a HUGE injury, a stress fracture in my pubic bone. This was no hair-line crack either. I was running on a sore foot, and the limp practically pulled my pelvis apart. I was down with the doctor telling me I may never run again. When I started back, I eased into a few races, winning the smaller ones, but the Liberty Bell race was a major race. Elaine Strickland was on the scene that year, and she had no problem tearing up race courses in the area. She looked tough, and I was a little unnerved before the start of the race. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering a little too wildly, so I wasn't feeling very well when the gun went off and Elaine bolted to the lead position. My legs felt like lead as I struggled in no-man's land in between two packs of runners early in the race. Slowly, I began to gain on the lead pack, passing a few people, then a few more, until I could see Elaine up front. I don't know if any of you have had a moment in a race when things click, but I had such a moment in that race. I felt something switch, and my feelings of being overwhelmed and in over my head were replaced by a sense of power and control. Somewhere inside me, a fire was reignited, and I surged with everything I had, passing Elaine with about 800 to go and winning the race.
My foot seems to be doing better. The injection site is sore, but I can feel that I'm limping less when I run, which is awesome. I can't believe how much pain I was in before the cortisone. Now the discomfort is more manageable, much more manageable. My pelvis is thanking me for running with a more even stride.
I had fun tonight when I volunteered to help out at a little race for kids. The program is called Land Sharks, and I ended up being one of the race officials. Kids are funny when it comes to racing. I was directing the young runners on the course and said many encouraging words. Knowing that adults rarely respond to the cheering crowd, I was a little surprised when many of the kids had some interesting comebacks. There were about 10 youngsters who said, "thank you," in response to "good job!" A few little ones said, "I know" when I mentioned that they were almost done. There were also some tears, laughter and complaints of being tired. I was happy to see Bobby McGee there with his little boy. A former training buddy was there with his kid too. Fun times, for sure.
Oh! And my little prize from the race arrived in the mail! It was a bit late, but very much appreciated. I didn't even have to beg for it.
I'm too tired to edit this, so excuse any mistrakes. :P