Monday, October 10, 2011

Prairie Fire: Mayor's 5K Challenge

Sunday was my 3rd race.  I wasn't nervous, as I have run 3 miles no problem regularly since July.  I questioned why I even was running the race...but honestly this race is a HUGE DEAL locally and since I'm not ready for a half and there wasn't a 10K...this was my way of participating in that HUGE DEAL. :-)

Things really began on Thursday...I attended a field trip with Rebekah.  Ever since the field trip I had felt like crap.  It really only dawned on me on Saturday that I probably had a cold.  (I thought perhaps it was allergies from the windy conditions on Thursday.)  When you are drinking caffeine like there is no tomorrow and you are STILL tired...something is wrong.  At least, that tends to be true for me.

Saturday morning I headed out for a run.  My intention was to run 3 miles...yes...the day before the race.  I've done it before!  And I have a 5 miler coming up that I'd really love to run the entire thing.  (It is in 2 weeks...we shall see!)  There is a fork in the road on my running route and I fought with myself the entire way to the fork.  Right is 3 miles.  Left is 2 miles.  I had told William I was just going for 2 miles (knowing I was undecided).  I tried right...ran for maybe 100 feet then turned around.  The Lord said NO.  I didn't really want to listen, but by now I know that usually there are good reasons.  By the end of the run the reasons had become clear...I was exhausted and I had only gone 1.5 miles.  I determined that stopping (instead of going the last .5 mi to get in an even 2) was the wise thing to do.  And I was grateful I had listened to Him!

This is where I realized I had a cold and I was clearly not myself.  The conditions were pretty good and there was no reason for me to be so wiped out.  But I was.  More 'Bucks it was - because I had a long Saturday ahead of me!  It was filled with taking kids from here to there and managing things by myself.  William had to work.

That evening I was sitting on the couch in a semi-vegetative state. William looked over and said "Yep - you are definitely sick.  You look terrible!"  Wasn't that sweet? I questioned whether I was going to be able to run the next morning.  I questioned whether I should run the next morning.  But ultimately a promise was given to me...I'll feel better in the morning.

I couldn't breathe through my nose.  I couldn't' hardly hold my eyes open I was so tired.  Walking around my tiny house seemed to drain me of energy.

But I had the promise.

So I planned to get up and go as scheduled.

My dear friend Ashley and I decided to car pool.  This was actually a huge blessing for me, because  my folks needed my car.  They were taking the kids to church with them so that William wouldn't have to manage things by himself AND work (he was on call) the entire time.  She picked me up at 6:45 AM and we headed off.

Arriving to the race provided us a GREAT parking spot.  I'd be very thankful for this wonderful spot even MORE so later.

The weather was cold and rainy.  It rained sporadically and even though the actual temperature (around 60) wasn't all THAT cold, it just really seemed like it with the rain.

People were bustling about their business and I bumped into a principle from high school - the second time I've seen him this year (after NOT seeing him for forever).  He has an incredible memory.  The first time I bumped into him I totally didn't know where I knew him from...but HE remembered.  Considering he was only there my senior year and I never got in trouble - this really is amazing.  He gave me a friendly hug and bluntly porcupine needles came out.  I am NOT a hugger.  Particularly to mostly strangers.

I survived though.

Ashley and I headed over to near the start of the race.  She went through her pre-race jitters...and she had a lot to be jittery about!  She was running a half marathon!

It was raining - I found this hat in my living room.  A hat in the rain is a must.

The full and half marathoners were starting at 8:00.  They all lined up and I hung out watching the crowd.  I love people watching, and a race is a fascinating place.  People hop around, stretch and have all sorts of interesting habits.  I soon got a phone call...and WOAH!  It was Ashley!  She wanted me to hold her sleeve things for her AND she found our other friend Lacey!

A kind old gentlemen took this and exclaimed "I can't see!"...and he had glasses on!
So Lacey and I hung out and talked about nothing until it was time for our race.  Her goals?  Running a 9 min pace.  My goals?  To run the entire thing.  With my cold, I wasn't very hopeful.  Finally the marathoners were off and the rest of us lined up to get our race started.  We then bumped into a couple more friends.  It was a regular party!

But all of these people were faster and I fully expected to be running by myself.  And that is exactly what happened.  Out of the gate I jogged along merrily.  I checked my pace and I was going pretty fast so I slowed up a bit.  I decided to NOT check my pace any further and enjoy the run.  Running in the middle of the road in downtown is absolutely fascinating.  I was mindful of the buildings and the surrounds - all things I don't normally get to check out so well when I'm in my car.  I recalled how Anne, a blogger I frequently read, has mentioned before that the best way to really see a city is on foot running. ;-)  I pondered this for quite some time.

I believed my pace to be full-fledged lolly gagging.  I wasn't really huffing and puffing, I wasn't really tired.  I was soaking up my surroundings and enjoying my race.  After all, that is what I had paid for!  I enjoy the spirit, the company and the atmosphere. 

There was a gentleman pushing what appeared to be his wife (although Ashley and I debated whether she was his wife or sister later) in an adult jogger-stroller looking thing.  She was all bundled up snugly under a quilt.  I thought it was so sweet that he was pushing her.  And I thought it was amazing he was keeping up with me...pushing her at the same time.  I figured I must be really turtling it or he was in pretty good shape for an old guy.

Next there was a guy on the side of the road handing out water bottles.  It didn't look to be an official race sponsored thing.  I decided to NOT take a bottle of water - call it the pessimist in me.  I'm sure they were fine, but I just didn't want to risk it.  I then spent the next 5 minutes or so chiding myself for being so pessimistic.  (Really though, I didn't need any water.)

I was in the zone - listening to my music and enjoying song after song.  It seemed like ALL the perfect songs were coming on.  I passed by a band where I realized that the band was playing SO LOUD I couldn't hear my lovely music.  And a favorite song had come on.  (I listen to it really is the luck of the draw!)  I approached a yellow marker when a policeman standing there began shouting "TURN AROUND!  EVERYONE NEEDS TO TURN AROUND!"  Weird, I thought to myself, this is a yellow marker and we are supposed to be following red.  I did a quick check on my phone and we had traveled 1.54 miles.  Hmmmm...this doesn't seem right but ooooook!

I turned around and trotted along, continuing in my blissful little world.  Before I knew it I looked up and there was Lacey.  "HI LACEY!  I hope you are having a GREAT race!" 

She smiled waved and zoomed along.  I heard enough from the other racers chatting around me to know that there was an error - something had happened and we had all gone the wrong way.  I wondered what would happen with the race. 

I could see I was getting close to the finish line.  My current time was 34 minutes and something.  WOW!  Really?  I decided I could pick it up a notch for this last little bit.  So I did.  I crossed the finish line and felt exuberance and disappointment all in one swoop.  I was excited that my time was 37:50.  I was disappointed that I had run only 3.04 miles.  Not even a full 5K!  I grabbed a ticket for a shirt and heard the announcement..."Due to a race issue, the prize money will not be given out.  Double the prize money will be given next year.  Furthermore, results will not be posted for this race."

AH!  That is why I entered the race!  Turns out that the proper way our race was supposed to head was blocked off.  I hadn't really noticed because I was following the crowd.  But Lacey had noticed.  No matter how you look at it - having so many racers go the wrong way is a sure sign of poor planning and course management.  There were race folks standing right there where we were supposed to turn cheering us on! 

My splits:
Mile 1: 12:20
Mile 2: 12:36
Mile 3: 12:24

Not bad right?  I think my race self-pace is getting better.  Starting further back in the line certainly did help.  (The last couple races I was way in front.)  With chip timing - it really doesn't matter where you start.  That is the beauty of chip timing!  It just matters when you cross the line.  Of course - on either of the other races I didn't intend to start so far forward.  So this time, I started where I thought I should then moved back some more. ;-)

My race was done in the blink of an eye.  I then wandered around from tent to tent to check out what was around.  It started to rain, so grabbed some food and headed back to Ashley's car.  She had given me her keys thankfully.  I munched and played on my phone.  What DID people do before these fancy phones?  Be bored I guess?  Or read perhaps...I definitely would have thought to bring a book if it weren't for my trusty dusty phone! 

Ashley had mentioned she had hoped to come in at about 2:30 or so (as I vaguely recalled), so I grabbed my jacket and headed back out.  The rain had mostly stopped so I grabbed my larger camera and headed back to the compound.  The 5K folks had mostly cleared out.  I found myself cold and drained and thought a cup of coffee might be good.  I headed over to the coffee tent and was surprised to find hot cocoa.  I tried a swig of "Pumpkin Spice Latte" but it surely was NOT 'Bucks.  The guy working the tent was standing right there so I politely drank my swig down (which seemed HUGE all of a sudden).  I then refilled with hot cocoa and went to find a spot to camp out at. 

This was another place where I was highly entertained by people.  I truly do enjoy observing human behavior.  The variety of expressions on people's faces as they ran in was truly remarkable.  And a woman standing next to me made sure to cheer on anyone who happened to look unhappy.  She left after about a half hour and I noticed the crowd thinned out.  I decided to help spur on folks too.  It was contagious.  At first I shouted "YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!" which I very quickly determined was really stupid.  I was at the finish line (basically).  So I changed it up to "WAY TO GO!  YOU DID IT!"

I soon saw a girl that looked miserable and red faced.  "WAY TO GO!" I shouted.  Then I noticed she had a purple top...Oh hey, I thought to myself, that girl has a top like Ashley.  Then I WAS Ashley!  I whipped my camera out and snapped a couple photos. 

I wasn't prepared, but honestly I was so exhausted and ready for a nap at this point that I'm surprised I recognized her at all.  I was a little loopy. ;-)

My first Prairie Fire race overall was an ok experience.  I really wish they had determined to do something more for the 5K folks than double the money for next year.  That really doesn't help me one single bit.  I've also heard that many folks are angry that the 5K race wasn't given the appropriate attention.  I'd agree they have a right to be angry.  Hopefully the race commissioner determines to do something more for the fumble.

I have another race I've registered for in 2 weeks - Inspire Hope.  This one is an 8K (which is just shy of 5 miles).  My goal will be to run the entire thing.  If I do, I think I can do it in an hour plus a smidge. 


AshleyC said...

Did you read where you can get your shirt if you bring your bib to RUNWichita or another place downtown?? I liked this entry and I'm glad you wrote it :-) Send me the pic of HOW BAD I LOOKED ;-) I'm running tomorrow!

Miriam said...

So I went and checked it is if you did not receive the original prairie fire shirt. I *DO* have that. But I also read they are giving 50% discounts to folks who register for the 5K until March. :) I may do that...although I won't know in March whether I want to do the 5K or half.

At least they are trying to make it RIGHT... :)

Janette said...

GREAT post...but even more so AWESOME JOB to both you and Ashley for doing this race and for both setting PR's. You girls are AMAZING!!! :)