Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Broadstreet Run

"Agent Meakim, your government needs you." Agent Spider barked.

Agent Spiderw was the head of F.A.R.T.E.R, Fast Action Response Team Emergency Runners. Spider was the top recruiter for the secret government agency.

"Are you up for this mission?" Spider barked again. "You're the only one that can do this."

Agent Meakim listened as Spider described the mission. On May 6th 2012 the Biological Underground Guerrilla Soldiers, or B.U.G.S. as they were known, were planning on releasing a silent but deadly toxin throughout the city of Philadelphia. They were going to use the annual Blue Cross Blue Shield Broad Street Run as cover. Agent Meakim would need to run 10 miles, from one end of Philadelphia to the other, carrying a secret Antidote for the biological weapon. Meakim would need to run in the middle of 40,000 other people exposing as many to the antidote as possible. However Meakim also needed to get the antidote to the end location in under an hour and 28 minutes to prevent the silent but deadly toxin for spreading. Meakim did not want to let the people down and agreed to the mission.

Meakim would need to train for a few months in order to make the time. January through April agent Meakim trained in the cold, the rain, early mornings, late at night to prepare for this test.

On the morning of May 6th Agent Meakim woke up at 2:30 AM with a severe stomach bug. She was up all night. There was no way she was going to be able to complete the mission. The people of Philly were doomed. Luckily Agent Meakim had a back-up plan. Under the guise of living a healthier lifestyle Agent Meakim talked her husband into training for the same race. She explained the situation, he would now have to be the secret F.A.R.T.ER., a task she thought he could surely handle. After all, he too had trained hard all winter to run this race. He even went as far as losing an extra 8 lbs to help improve his time. Bill had some doubts. Last year Bill ran the same race in 1:46:- ish but he was Agent Meakim's only hope.

Bill Meakim had to attend the race without his companion and inspiration, but he had a mission to complete. He was determined to be the best F.A.R.T.E.R. ever. Due to his wife being very ill and the fact that he could not find his good luck wristbands Bill got off to a late start. He arrived at the subway station 20 minutes after he originally planned. This filled him with anxiety, Bill always likes to be early. Distracted by inspecting his backpack for his post run change of clothes and his special running shoes, Bill mistakenly followed the crowd and jumped on the local stop subway instead of the express which put him another 20 minutes behind. By the time Bill got to the starting line he missed the buses that would take his gear to the finish line. Bill now had to run the 10 miles with an extra 8 to 10 pounds on his back.

Bill, wearing his green and grey Vibram running shoes, a brown school bag back pack, red shorts a grey shirt and without his lucky wristbands marched towards the starting line. The last time Bill ran 10 miles his time was over the hour twenty eight mark. He was alone with 40, 000 other people. Sweat was already trickling down his back as the anxiety engulfed him. The air horn sounded and Bill took off running.

Bill's time for the first mile was 7:39. He was doing great, except he knew he started off too strong. He ran mile two a little slower, coming in at 8:03 pace. By mile four Bill finally found a comfortable pace at 8:50 ish but would it be enough? He was getting slower. Bill knew he had to get the antidote to the end. He reached into his pocket for a handful of jelly beans. Lots of runners use jelly beans for the sugar and the pick up they provide. These beans were now provided the extra fuel for Bill Meakim F.A.R.T.E.R. Agent.

Mile 7 and 8 proved difficult for Bill. His legs felt weak. The back pack was causing irritation and pain. His mind started to wonder off the task at hand. He thought of his wife at home, affected by the bug. The bug, the B.U.G.S. The enemy had gotten to her. Bill threw another handful of beans into his mouth and he picked up his pace. He ran hard. He felt like he was breaking the wind. He knew he had to put the F in F.A.R.T.E.R.

The last two miles were a blur. Bill checked his watch as he crossed the finish. 1:27:58 He did it. He saved the city of Philadelphia.

Special agent Spider greeted Bill with a smile.

"You had me worried there back at mile 7." Spider said. His voice sounding as if someone had stepped on a duck. "Flat, you went. Flat."

"Well I did not want to let you or my wife down." Bill responded. "I still had some gas left in the end."

Special agent Spider awarded Bill a medal and asked him to stick around and celebrate.

Bill refused. He wanted to return to his wife as soon as possible. He saved some of the antidote for her.

Besides he did not want anyone to know that he was a F.A.R.T.E.R.

---I ran the Broad Street 10 Mile race. My official time was 1 hour, 27 minutes. 56 seconds, almost 20 minutes faster than I ran last year. Lauren, who trained for four months was too sick to run. I was happy and proud of my time but the accomplishment kind of sucks when there is no one there to celebrate with you.