Monday, May 9, 2011

Girls on the Run: Race Day

The morning of the race I was a bag of nerves.  I slept horribly and of course when I woke up the next morning I was disappointed in being so tired.  I was already nervous about this race and the lack of sleep seemed like it would just hurt my chances of doing a job I could be proud of.

My goal was come in between 45-50 minutes.    I didn't want to set a goal at first, but this goal just kept on nagging at me.  So I finally set it. :-P  I thought of how I could complete it and even thought about various strategies.

After I got ready I started gathering everything I planned on taking.  I went to gather my ear buds and they were missing.  I thought "GREAT!  What ELSE could go wrong?"  I had a backup pair, but missing pair were my favorite!  I figured I had left them at work.  After a deep breath I convinced myself it would be OK.  I'd survive!  At least I had a backup pair - even if they did sometimes leave my ears sore.

I kissed the kids (who had just woke up) and left.  I was going to be early, but I wasn't sure how early.  My fears?  That I wouldn't find a parking spot.  That I would get lost.  That something would go terribly wrong and I'd either be rushed or miss the start of the race all together.  I also feared not meeting up with my friends who were going to be doing the race.  I get pretty paranoid about these sorts of things...because lots of things go wrong for me.

None of that happened.

I found a parking spot very easily and actually pretty close.  I texted Janette, who had already let me know that she was there.  We decided to meet in front of Gander Mountain (an outdoor sports stores).

And here is a sample of what always happens to me.  I had a packet with my race number and pins to put it on.  I went to dump out the pins into my hand and completely missed.  They went all over the car and I spent the next 15 minutes digging around trying to find them.  (I was glad my car was clean...otherwise I would have NEVER found them!)  I couldn't believe that not even ONE actually fell into my hand!  Go figure!

Janette, her family and I met up, chatted and waited for our friend Kim and her sister to arrive.  Her boys are so cute.  They asked many questions and in general were cracking me up.  I can't recall anything specific, but that is really only because I was a bag of nerves.  They were a great distraction!

It was a good thing I parked close.  I ran back to my car 3 times.  Nerves I tell ya...I was just so afraid I was forgetting something.  One of the last times I walked back there was a pregnant lady with a rather large bump.  She had a number pinned to her shirt.  I was amazed (and thought she was a wee bit crazy too).

We all gathered and then moved on closer to the start so that we could figure out where we needed to go.  By this time - I still had 30 minutes!  I was actually grateful for all the extra waiting around.  It helped calm me down.  About this time I got a call from my other friend Ashley, who had come to watch us.  She had run a half marathon the weekend before, and so was not up to joining us.  But I was so happy to have her there to cheer us on!

We entered the line and waited some more.  We thought we were in the back, but when I looked back of the sea of people...we were closer to the front.  But NO WORRIES...we did not get trampled (THANK GOODNESS!).  :-)

The race started and I was in the middle of a crowd of people.  I started my jog just before I crossed the start line.  I was running with the flow of people when I realized the pace was entirely too fast for me.  (I'm slow.)  I watched the ground very carefully and tried to slow myself down.  And then I decided to follow Janette's pace - so I watched her.  I thought I'd try to keep up with her for as long as possible.  I was entirely surprised by how difficult keeping your own pace can be!

People started to thin out a bit, so it at least wasn't so crowded.  I noticed Janette was having some trouble (I found out later her legs started cramping).  I was simply observing that she kept rubbing her knee.  I was worried she had injured herself.  Then she stopped running.  I asked her if she was OK and she said she was - so I kept on going.  (Our deal was that we'd start out together...but after that all bets were off.  We each wanted to do our best, and I had made it clear I was very slow!)

I was in a rhythm.  We were running next to a river and the scenery was pretty.  The weather was absolutely perfect (slight breeze, in the low 70s!).  It was idyllic.  I settled down and listened to my music...when it stopped.

Stupid Pandora.  The app kept crashing on me.  (I'm not really picking about music...and my Pandora does not normally have an issue.  This day though it was misbehaving.)  I fiddle with it for awhile and finally got it going again.  Over the course of the race it crashed 3 or so times.  I was pretty frustrated by the end of the race.  Each time I tried to relax and enjoy the environment.

I finally came upon a milestone, and there were a bunch of cheer leaders.  "You can do it!  Goooo!  You are halfway!  Keep it up!"  It was a nice break and I enjoyed the encouragement.  However.  I kept on going and after a few minutes looked at my phone to see where we were at.

Yeah...we weren't halfway.

Liars liars pants on fire!

I decided to not let it bother me and keep on going.  I noticed a small pang in my side, but ignored it.  Then it grew and grew.  And I began to worry that I would tired myself out too much.  I decided I was going to keep on trucking.  I'd never know how far I'd be able to go if I didn't.

My side started cramping up more and then I noticed another hill.  It was a steep incline and I knew I wouldn't be able to run it.  So I stopped and started walking.  I was going to give myself until I to the top of hill as a rest and then keep on going.

Then Janette caught up with me.  (Ok - she may have been right behind me the entire time and I was clueless...I'm not really sure!)  So I ended up walking a little longer - which is good because it allowed me to rest better.  We reached the water spot - the true half-way point.  I guzzled down a drink and continued on.  It felt so weird to throw the cup on the ground!  I attempted running again but the course was rather hilly.  I was having a lot of trouble on the uphills, so I decided to just walk as fast as I could.

The last half there was a lot of burn.  A lot of huffing and puffing.  A lot of me just trying to keep going.  I don't really have anymore specific details other than I was passed up by that pregnant lady. ;-)

Janette and I kept a pretty even pace.  We noticed a sign with a "4" on it.  We wondered outloud what it was when it dawned on me I had see a "3" a little way back...ahhhh...the "K" markers!  I had no idea.  I hadn't even seen one until the 3.  I'm not sure how I missed them!

I was so sweaty by this time that my phone was just plain wet.  We came across some sprinklers though - and aside from a mild worry for my phone they felt great.

The very last hill and I could see the finish line.  I tried making myself run but I was simply too tired at this point.  I was contemplating running in or taking the chicken way out and walking.  Janette was up ahead of me, when she stopped.  She looked back and said "COME ON!".  It helps having a pal, especially one who doesn't mind torturing you!  So I mustered up my strength and gave it all my gusto.

I saw my friend Ashley waiving us on at the finish line.  I gave it all my might and....finished.  I finished the race in a run.

It was an amazing feeling crossing the line knowing I had given it my all.  I was even more amazed when I reviewed some of my statistics.  My time was 44:17.  I was THRILLED when I saw that.  That was beyond what I thought I could do.  My first mile I completed in 12:56, yet another record for me.  I ran a total of 1.5 miles before I stopped running.  And my last mile was actually faster than the second mile.

That is the look of accomplishment!
I've already been roped into doing another race in early June.  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to do the 2K or the 10K.  I'm leaning towards the 2K, because I'm confident I can run the entire thing.  But I've chatted with a few folks, and they all think I should do the 10K.  I'm just trying to decide just how crazy I am...

1 comment:

Janette said...

You did GREAT!!! I'm so thankful we did our first race together! Chris wondered why I stopped just short of the finish line waiting on you when I could have crossed faster and then waited on your, giving a better time. It wasn't about the better time -- it was about finishing the race with the one I started it with!! Not that 10 sec or whatever it would have been would have truly mattered anyway -- right? :) You have been such a great source of encouragement!! :)

As for me -- my calf was cramping up really badly -- I'm still not sure what the deal was -- never done that before. Of course, it picks the race to do it on haha! I never got very far behind you -- so it wasn't hard to catch back up. Once I saw you stop jogging, I jogged a bit more and then walked up that incline with you!! It was nice to have you in front as something to focus on rather than my calf. Thankfully through prayer -- it never crammed the last half of the race. God is GOOD! :)

Just think -- 44:17 -- that's our PR...something to set our sites on for the next 5K to beat! :)

GREAT job, Miriam -- super proud of you for setting out to do this race and finishing strong!! :))