Monday, October 29, 2007

ECW Pump 2C Versus the Koala/Luke's Houston Half Marathon

ECW Pump 2C being off loaded in the shop

We were overhauling a pump all this week at the power plant. I went to the power plant at 1PM on Saturday hoping to perform the final pump test after the overhaul and make it home by dinner. It didn't quite work out that way. We had to change some instruments and a test procedure and didn't get the final pump test started until after midnight. The test went pretty well and I was hoping to get my evaluation done and make it home in time to drive up to Houston for the half marathon. If I left the plant at 4AM, I could get home by 5AM and get to Houston a little after 6AM with enough time to warmup before the 7AM race start.
But the technician who took the vibration data, wrote out the data on a local copy of the procedure instead of the control room copy. The control room operators couldn't find any of the vibration data to send me. I was able to work around that delay by getting the vibration data from the performance tech.'s database, but I still needed to get my evaluation reviewed and approved (in the middle of the night). I saw 4AM pass and calculated that if I could leave by 4:30, I could still make it to the race in time.

4:30 passed and I resolved my self to not running. My biggest worry became getting my evaluation and the test procedure signed off before I reached 16 hours on site. If I worked more than 16 hours, I would be faced with more paperwork and phone calls to get approval for me to exceed the worktime rules (no more than 16 hours worked in a day). At 4:57, the technical review was finally finished. I made it to the control room in record time and signed off the test procedure at 0509, exactly 15 hours and 59 minutes after I arrived at the plant.

A smart person would get home and go to sleep. But on the way home, I decided I'd drive up to Houston and run the half marathon anyway. I reached the 610 loop at 7AM and as I drove over Allen Parkway I could see the last runners passing under I-45. I parked at a spot I knew would be open and ran over half a mile under 7mpm to the race area. The chip person was still there and kindly (and quickly) gave me my chip. I made a quick stop at the port-a-potties and ran to the starting line and started my watch. The starting line timing mat was already turned off, so I knew I was just running on my own time. I started about 20 minutes after the gun.

With all of the adrenaline of getting to the race and trying to get to the turnoff from Allen Parkway before it was blocked, I ran the first mile in 5:55. I put on the brakes a little and then in the second mile started encountering the walkers at the back of the pack. My second mile was 6:33. The pack started getting very thick and it became pretty difficult to pass people going down Dallas back towards downtown. I decided to quit worrying about my mile splits and just run by feel. I had to do a lot of swerving and even had to step up on the curb a few times when people in front of me made unexpected moves. That probably wasn't too smart to stress my poor old legs that way.

I was lapped by the winner near the end of my second loop. After the lead police car passed, a couple people I was passing started cheering me and congratulating me on "my win" Then after the winner passed me, people started cheering me saying I had second place. I was embarassed, but it really was pretty funny to think of this big old bald guy in the lead pack.

I ended up with a 1:41:21, good enough for 284th overall. But hey, I passed over 1900 people! I had 1:23:58 on my watch. It's not what I was hoping to run, but I'm glad I stayed awake and finished the race.


Steeeve said...

Kevin, I knew something was up when you were picking your way up through the pack at the 1/2 way point. Glad we still had a chip for you, and well-told story.

Willis said...

Dang Nuke - you're fast! 1:23 and change without pacers and all that dodging is incredibly fast. Great job out there - can't wait to bump into you at Houston.