Monday, June 4, 2007

An Incomplete Race Report

It was a great race. That's the main take home message, right up front. I had a great race.

The morning was beautiful, I had plenty of sleep, felt energetic and rested. My legs didn't feel quite as fresh as I'd have liked but a short warm up seemed to loosen them up and I was ready.

It was a very small crowd - less than a hundred - and quite a contrast to my last race, the St. Patrick's Day 5 mile race which hosted over 5,000 runners. Even so, as I was planning to PR, I didn't want to seed myself too far back and be impeded by slower runners in front of me, so I set myself towards the front of the pack and decided to try and hang on to my position as long as I could.

My first faux pas was forgetting to start my watch when the horn went off. I didn't realize my mistake until somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute had passed, so I can't give my exact splits, but I have a relatively good idea.

I started out a little too hard and my heart rate was quickly near 190 - a hill at the start didn't help. First mile: just under 8 minutes. But, I wasn't kicking myself because I was running this race as an experiment - I wondered if I could start out at what I considered a hard pace and build on it. The answer was a resounding "NO" and my second mile was considerably slower than my first: 8:45. I let my heart rate dip to 183 during the middle portion, trying to hold off at least a little juice until the end. I was incredibly relieved to see the second water stop - only a little more than a mile to go - and I tried to kick it up another notch. Another steep hill brought my heart rate to above 190 and there it stayed for the remainder - in fact it shot up to 195 at the finish, but I'm not there quite yet. As I turned in for the last half mile or so, the first of the front of the pack came loping back for his cool down and was shouting encouragement to those of us struggling to maintain our position in the mid-front of the pack. He was like Noah's dove returning with the olive branch - the finish was near! By this point, I was focused on only one thing - holding onto my pace until the finish. I barely saw the volunteers pointing the way to the finish, didn't see the handful of people at the finish line, I only saw the finish, tried to speed up a little though felt like all I could do was maintain. That's when I heard her coming up from behind - she was breathing hard and determined to overtake me. Something in my brain hollered "OH NO YOU DON'T BEYOTCH" and somewhere I found the will to run harder. Unfortuneatly, her will/reserves/speed was greater than mine and she took me out about a foot before the finish line. I was somewhat gratified to see her puking just past the finish - she passed me but it cost her. I later thanked her for challenging me on that last stretch - if she hadn't given me a fight, I would not have found that last bit of speed left in my legs.

After the race, I tried to find a discreet place to collapse. Unlike my rival, I did not lose any nutrition - though I thought I would a few times. Timing faux pas number two happened when I forgot to stop my watch once I crossed the finish - and The Chick Who Passed Me prevented me from noticing the clock when I crossed. I think I caught it within 30 sec. Which puts my last mile at about 7:45, give or take 10 or 15 seconds. It took me a couple of minutes to catch my breath and gather my senses, but then I felt pretty great and decided to jog back down the course to see if I could find Hubby, who was also racing despite a nagging calf injury. He rounded the pavilion just as I was setting off - he had finished just a minute or two after I did. I was anxious for the results, so I didn't take off for a cool down, a decision I regret as it would have made the wait go a bit faster.

So we waited. Shortly after the last walker crossed the line, they gave away door prizes. Hubby won a free oil change.

We waited some more.

And some more.

There was apparently some problem with properly tabulating the results. Discussions ensued. And we waited.

Finally, they announced that they were ready - the moment of truth! Mostly, I just wanted my time - but I also thought I had a decent chance of placing in my age group which would be a first. The Chick Who Passed Me was definately in my age group, but the only others who passed me were young 'uns.

First they announced the top three men. And screwed that up. Cheering Kid was announced as being third and he and others contended he was fourth. So they corrected it. We think.

Next they announced the top three women - there was no apparent error there.

Then they announced top three 19 and under men, top three 20 - 29 men and women (they were still confused about top three 19 and under women) and they stopped there. They just couldn't figure it out.

We were disappointed but understanding - except for one lady who looked to be in the 50 and over - and probably the only runner in her age group - who just got nasty with the poor race organizers. It was ugly, really. They didn't lose her kidney or squander her life savings or anything, it really wasn't worth getting so evil over.

When the smoke cleared, we went to see if we could at least get my time. Their best guess pointed to my time being . . . drum roll please. . .

Okay, let me just say that to PR, I would have had to run under 29:00, which I was pretty confident I could do. I told myself I would be very happy with a time around 27:00.

That being said, my unofficial, best guess time was aproximately 25:34. We know for certain (relatively) it was something under 26:00. Yeah. I ran that. Me. Slow Chick. Under 26:00. Probably something around 25:00! 25:00?!?!?! I'm very pleased.

Even though I got passed and I wish I hadn't.

Even if I don't place in my age group, which I might, I am thrilled with that time.

And the rest of the day was great. The event was a deal where you bought tickets to try "tastes" of several area restaurants. With our race entry, we each got 5 tickets plus a ticket for free cake back at the park - which due to a sudden thunderstorm we had to skip. The absense of cake was just as well as we were totally stuffed by the time we'd used all of our tickets and sampled some great food from some fabulous restaurants. What a way to finish a race!

I was really proud of Hubby too. He ran despite some discomfort (hopefully not to his detriment) and came in with a time of 27 and change. That's a great time considering he was, in his own words, "running with one leg." Way to go, Hubby and thanks for coming along and supporting me on this crazy day!

I've got to thank you all as well. Your encouragment has meant so much to me these past months - and I see it all over the blog community. People support each other in this little virtual neighborhood and I think that's a grand thing to be part of.

Hopefully, by tomorrow they'll have the official results and I can post those along with pictures. Until then . . . I pray that I have the strength to not become like Cranky Lady and curse the officials for taking so long. Amen.


Donald said...

Congrats on the great big PR! Once you dip under 25, then you start eyeballing sub-20, you know.

Bummer about the age awards - local races seem to have a knack for that.

jeanne said...

25!!! 25?~!?!?!

Holy flying feet batman!!! What a report! An amazing race, an amazing finish. I almost threw up with that other chick, just reading!

You rock!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

holy moly - you is a fast fast chickie!

next time you'll have to learn to discreetly stick a leg out so that people who try it on like that don't get past you.

I suggest you try running like a girl.

Or vomiting before the finish.

Danielle in Iowa said...

Awesome job! I don't think I'll ever live to see 25 :-)

Rural Girl said...

Great job! I loved the report. Heart rate 190' sound like me. Awesome push at the end.

Bolder said...

proud of you. way to take the 'safety tabs' off, and see what you can do! holding my breath for official results.

i'm gonna do it next.

alert the paramedics to a blog near you!!

Vickie said...

Woo hoo! You did it! I knew you were going to do well. You are on a roll. Just wait until your tri! The woman passed you and you couldn't respond because you didn't see it coming. Had you known, you could have gotten the gears going quicker and might have challenged her more. But don't you hate it when someone takes advantage and has to pass you in the last second? She should have thanked you for bringing her in.