Monday, July 26, 2010

I wish the 4 mile race was a 0.4 mile race...

I awoke on July 4th with the feeling of butterflies having world war 3 in my stomach. I asked them to please leave as they were terribly distracting and were not allowing me to tap into my calm, inner zen like qualities. Gosh!
The 4 mile race that I was gearing up to run is always huge event, attended by 2,000 people all of whom are in considerably better shape that I. Despite knowing in my heart that last place was inevitable I was quite excited, and (as my nerves calmed) feeling good about the big day.
Once again the weather gods were being bitchy and refusing to give me quality cold rainy weather. The nerve! Sunshine and happiness on America's birthday, BOO! The forecast was calling for record temps and horrible air conditions, all of which are so so pleasant for running in.
I had a very excellent plan for the hours leading up to the race (yes, I got up at 4AM. So what?) I ate a couple granola bars which was pure torture and reminded me of chewing on an old tire. I drove into town and picked up my number and shirt before the masses of tourists descended upon the countryside. I pounded a couple bottles of purple Gatorade in an attempt to pre-hydrate which was also torturous and made me have to pee like a Russian racehorse. Then I ate the glorious combo of pretzels (to carb load) and candied ginger (to calm the cartwheels in my stomach.)
My middleaged Huz dropped me off at race time in the middle of town along with 65,000 other screaming people, busloads of local campers, pomp and circumstance, and hullabaloo. It was all very exciting and I liked it very much. I'm a fan of that sort of chaos, to be entirely honest! The Huz drove away to escape the crowd of insanity and to get his Mom to come and cheer me on to glory, or splendid mediocrity!
While waiting for the race to start I was attacked my a huge chicken mascot who was clearly (to my mascot hating eyes) a rapist. I told him to get lost but he/it would have none of it, forcing me to perform pre-race stretches with him/it and making me cringe with discomfort but be thankful for the crowd (which would surely protect me should the giant chicken try some funny business...)

After much ado, chicken rape, and peeing in the woods we were finally off. I always get nervous in a big huge race with a gun to finish start- especially when I am in the middle of the pack and not close to the front ( I figure that 45 minutes will tick by as I struggle to reach that start.) I reminded myself of my vow to NEVER, EVER bolt to the front again and to stay calm and run like a granny. With this in mind the gun sounded and I was immediately trapped in a sea of slowly surging bodies, all of whom were miles taller that I am and much slower. I resigned myself to the fact that no records would be made in the first mile but that the traffic would demand that I put forth a slow start. (and it DID for an 8.23 first mile. YIKES!)
The course is a very hilly one and while I had never run it before I knew the roads very well. At the top of the worst hill, around mile 1.8 there is a little old shack. I knew that when I passed that I'd be out of the woods (or off the hill, I guess) almost to the halfway mark and free to pick up the pace if I felt like it. I had barely started up the mountain when much to my shock there was the shack! I rubbed my eyes in blatant disbelief (and joy! and the angles sang! and all was well in the world!) I was feeling great, running steadily, starting to pass people and almost half way there.
As the road sloped down towards the 2 mile marker all I could see was a sea of runners stretching out in front of me like (insert corny ocean of doom/ dessert of death/ impossible to conquer concept here.) But really, the people loomed out to the horizon like something that I just did not want to see. Knowing that I was 1/2 way there (at 16:08, making up time!) and having run thru a few refreshing sprinklers I decided to get down to business and pass some people.
That is exactly what I did for the last 2 miles. There is no doubt in my mind that steadily and methodically I passed hundreds of people. I ran calmly and serenely and maintained my composure like a real lady (um, yeah.) As I came into the last .2 miles I was feeling sweaty and glad that the end was near but also feeling well, coherent and not at all like calling 911. Excellent! (somebody snapped a pic of me running the last stretch and I don't lie- I really look like I just stepped out the spa or similar. Totally cool, calm and collected. Hmmm?!)
The finish was a clusterfudge of little a-holes trying to beat each other to the finish. Damn kids! Despite almost getting run over by a bevy of brats I managed to glance at the clock as I ran thru the finish- 31.20 which I was SO pleased with that I jumped up and down and waved my hands in the AIR! (not really, it was too hot.) Since my goal had been to finish in relative good health, in 35 minutes I was pretty darn pleased with my impressive athletic prowess.
My Huz and his Momma were super impressed and mopped off my sweat with a big old towel that they had been smart enough to bring. Then they walked across town with me and put me into the walk in cooler of my sister in law's store which was pure genius and I highly recommend.

I felt great, and was very pleased that the whole plan had worked (and propelled me into the stratosphere of elite running, soon to be world famous! NOT!)
I finished 238Th, 33rd for ladies and 2nd in my age group. I was very. very. very pleased.

The best part? My picture was in the paper the next day. With the rapist chicken! NOOoooOO!!!

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