Saturday, March 21, 2015

Start, Finish, and Have Fun

March 21, 2015
For a second weekend in a row, I show up to run a five mile race alone-- well, with hundreds of strangers-- on a cold, blustery, and rainy day. Today, however, the Weather Gods appear to be kinder as the wind gusts move the rain clouds through the sky quickly, teasing us with brief clearings and intermittent glimpses of blue skies. 

Also, for a second weekend in a row, I pick up my bib number and head back to sit alone in my warm car, hoping my seat-heater turned on high will qualify as an adequate pre-race "warm up."

Different this week is that I'm here today just to log five miles, with no pressure of a specific finish time.

Start, finish, and have fun. Those are the requirements of today.

I got a great race number: 111.  Oh, the pressure of wearing a cool number! It makes me feel like I need to run a faster race, perform at a higher level. Yes, I have weird thoughts like that....

Surprisingly, I feel better today than I have in a month. This morning, I finished my last dose from 20 days of antibiotics; not my kind of good time.  Yesterday, my boys and I devoured a whole box of Girl Scout Cookies on the way home from school; not the best idea for carb-loading!

Regardless, I was ready to run!

I gauged my pace based on my breathing and body inventory, and tried not to look at my Garmin. Five miles flew by and I focused on each runner in front of me, attempting to pass as many as possible. One by one, I passed a dozen people before finishing with an unofficial time of 48:18. 

Before leaving, I gave my ticket for the prize drawing to a girl (who I guess was about 10-years old) hoping that my ticket would be lucky for her and she would win a prize. 

I walked to my car, stretched, and drank my post-race recovery shake. I drove home happy and felt like a superstar as my phone phone screen and email began filling up with notifications of kudos from members of my AMR Nuun Year: No Limits training team. 

Thanks to all of my friends!  You have no idea how much your support means to me! Hugs and kisses to you all!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Going for Gold

The starting line was vacant as I sat in my dry, warm, comfortable car listening to the rain pounding down, daunting me to give up now and go home. 

Ten minutes before race start, it was like magic...

Just like the end of an awesome game of hide-and-seek, runners of all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities appeared out of nowhere; strategically they had been hidden in coves, corners, and cars sheltering themselves from the downpour of rain until the very last moment. 

I sat and watched the people, the rain, and the clock in my car tick the minutes by. Two minutes before the gun, I took a hit off my Abuterol inhaler and left my serenity. 

I was running naked; stripped of my ideal sunny, dry running weather. I was wearing none of my normal accessories of my wedding ring, earrings, and makeup, substituting them for a rain jacket and a plastic zip-lock bag as my phone's carrying case. I was out of my element, but I would not melt in the rain. 

"Don't think; just go" was my mantra for the day.  As I ran, I found myself sucking for air. I was pushing myself hard while thinking the faster I ran the sooner I would be done and out of the rain. I also wanted to run a qualifying time for a Yellow seeding start in Bloomsday.  It would require everything I had and even then I would be cutting it close.

I focused on my form and breath as I increased my pace. I turned up the tunes on my new playlist and focused on keeping my footfalls with the music's tempo as I ran up the inclines. 

Like most races, I found myself running next to a loud runner: a runner with loud, heavy steps, or extra loud breathing, or music I can hear, or non-stop loud-talking with a friend.... 

Then, it hit me. I wasn't running next to anyone. The extra loud breather was me! Oh God, I really am sucking wind!  And as the miles past, it didn't get any better.

Pushing into the finish I was watching my time. I was going to miss my cut off! As I rounded the last bend, I sprinted to the finish (which really was a regular running speed for everyone around me). I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch.  I couldn't believe it. It was too close to call! I'd have to wait for the official results to see if I ran in under 47 minutes to qualify.

So, I waited and waited for what felt like an eternity for when the official results were to be posted. I stretched, texted people, and talked to others I knew. Then, the moment came. The moment of truth. A row of paper was hung on the wall and I quickly joined the flock of people searching for their results. I found my name on the sheet and read my time: 46:48! I made it with 12 seconds to spare! Talk about cutting it close!

Looking back now, it was dumb for me to run. I was sick with an upper respiratory tract infection and my asthma was rightfully angry. I would advise others to do as I say, not as I do. Maybe someday I'll start taking my own advice....