Sunday, March 15, 2009

Switching Horses Mid Race and Jumping the Fence to the Inside Track

Or alternatively;

Hey there impostor; if you wouldn't bite off more than you can chew and you might find that even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.

Or the Jog for a Cause Race Report.

Or, don't be a loser and just stay home already!

But you know, every dog has got a few fleas and sometimes good sense is just not part of the equation with me.

Okay, so, you know how I wrote a few posts back about how the running was good? Well, as I properly predicted, pretty much since I wrote that sentence the running has NOT been going good.

Same old story here: dead legs. My calves are swollen which makes my feet hurt which makes running not impossible but very uncomfortable and slow. Just a general un-pleasurable experience. I did not hit a single one of my planned workouts last week. I will say I did have about a month of hitting every single workout and rocking them but the streak came to a banshee screeching, earsplitting, Natnonstop whining halt last week.

I really don't know what is going on but I took a huge step back and really tried to not to freak out. ING marathon is looming 2 weeks away. My training is done-- I just need to rest and get to the starting line uninjured. Even still, I kept all my fingers and toes crossed and hoped all would be resolved and I could nail my planned 10k (Jog for a Cause) on Saturday.

I didn't run Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday (okay, I tried each day but the legs just weren't up for it). Instead I rested (Tuesday), rode my bike (Wednesday) and did yoga (Thursday). Friday I tested the legs out on a 6 mile run. It did not go well. It was better but definitely far from 100% or what I would all ready to nail a 10k PR ready. But I thought maybe I just needed a run to shake the legs out and Saturday morning they would be golden for the race. And you know I think I am an optimist (also known as dumb) and think that you just never know until you try.

Saturday morning arrived after a fitful night of sleeping next to Grizzly Adams (aka my husband Ryan). Please note the Bin Laden beard:
The beard showed up after we went to the Band of Horses show on New Year's Eve. The lead singer has this creepy kidnap and molest you beard. It was about a week after the show I noticed that Ryan had stop shaving. The kids call it "the thing". When I asked him the other day about when he was planning on getting rid of "the thing" he told me he was going to grow it out until next year's NYE Band of Horses show.

It was then that I remembered at the show Ryan had been in line to buy beer behind 2 "hot college girls" who were discussing "how hot the lead singer was and how cool his gnarly beard was." I put the beard and the eavesdropping on hot college girls conversation together and guess he is thinking those hot young college girls will talk to him next year. Good luck with that honey!

So I got no sleep race night. No biggie. I never get sleep race night and have put up some great marathon times on 3 hours of sleep so surely I could rock a 10k-- uncooperative calves aside.

Strike 2 was that it was barely 40 degrees and raining. Geez, could I please have some decent weather for a race? Where o where for art thy temperate and fairer days? Why has thee forsaken I?

I had no idea what to wear. The weather site I consulted said "real feel" was 37 degrees and that there was a 9mph wind. Not really sure if that is windy but it sounded like it was a little. And rain and 37 degrees sounded pretty damn cold to me.

Since my calves were feeling crappy I decided to wear my over the calf compression socks--which I had also slept in. I wore my skirt with a draw string since the others without a draw string fall down when they get wet and heavy. I couldn't decide on a top. I put on my under armour sub zero compression top and then packed extra tops, socks and dry clothes to change into after the race. Of course, I forgot an extra pair of shoes.

Strikes 4 and 5 were that I could not find a rubber band and while I was searching for one Beau got up and did his litany of morning demands. Demands I tried to meet whilst I ran in vain (read much f-bomb dropping to scare rubber bands out from hiding) around the house trying to find one.single.GD pull my f-ing long ass hair back with.

I could not scare the rubber bands out --though I will say upon returning home I found out that it was because they were nestled snuggly in American Girl Doll hair.

Grizzly Adams, annoyed by all the racket I was making, told me to just leave and stop on the way to the race at a gas station and buy some rubber bands. So that is what I decided to do, after taking another moment to fight with my five year old.

Okay, just so you know, gas stations--at least the 2 I stopped at--do not sell rubber bands. Resigned to dread locked hair in my future and drove over to the race start thinking really, how bad could it be? It was just a 10k, right? I'd wear a baseball cap and all would be fine.

As I drive to the race-- noting the rain, the 39 temperature my dash is flashing, my disorganization, my fatigue-- I ask myself "what the hell is wrong with me?"

"Stick to your plan," the angel on my left (dumbass) shoulder aserts.
Best laid plans of dumbass and stupidass, I think.
Like arguing with a fence post.

So I get to the start-for those familiar with the area the race started in front of the AMC theaters on North Point Parkway. The course is North Point Pkwy, right on Haynes Bridge, right on Mansel Rd and right into the parking lot: repeat the loop for the 10k.

I sit in my car and start filling out my registration form. I hesitate over the 5k or 10k box. I recall how the last time I did this course (William's Run in 2006) I remember thinking then: why would anyone run the 5k when there is an opportunity to run a 10k--especially when they cost the same?

I think about downgrading to the 5k but then dumbass pipes up again with the whole "stick to the plan" crap. I listen because I have NOT been sticking to the plan all week. I WANT to get back on track!

I run over to registration area, hand in my form, pay, get number and my shirt (nice! Black technical. Can't beat that for $25!) and run into Brett. We discuss our outfits and I decide I am going to be hot so I go back to my car to change shirts. I change to a short sleeve technical top. I decide against arm warmers and I am a sad kitten that I left my mittens at home. I jog back to Brett's car, tell him I need to pee (again!) and then meet back up with him for a warm up.

Brett and I jog in the rain and I tell him he is running too fast for me for the warm up. This of course does not bode well. My calf really feels okay but I am just tried. I think I will be able to suck it up. After we warm up we still have a few minutes so I go pee (Again! You know me. Never one to waste a potty opportunity).

I meet back up with Brett and few others at the start. We all go to line up. A guy thinks he recognizes me and asks if I ran the Jingle Jog. Yes, I tell him, I wore a costume. We all laugh and introduce ourselves. It is Ace and Coldfire from the Beginner Triathlete board. We commiserate on the cold, the rain. Ace and I swap sad stories of calf issues and not running.

Friday I had stalked the times for this race for the past few years. The fastest woman's time for the 10k was slower than my 3 fastest 10k times so I seeded myself up at the front but off to the far right side. I ask the boys around and behind me to please not run over me.

It starts to rain harder and I am just ready to get this over with. I am a little worried that when the guy with the horn says go there is going to be a pile up because someone will slip and fall. I don't want to fall down. The road looks very slick.

We are off and no one falls. For about the first 30 seconds I think everything is going to be okay; that this might turn out to be a good race. I am passed by a LOT of boys but do not see a single girl.

At about 3 minutes in I guess my mind has gotten the note from my body because everything is sucking. I note that we are at a little hill and decide that must be why and try to ignore the tightness building in my calves and wave to Zimmer as he passes me (Bastard!). I watch Brett and Coldfire fade into the gray horizon ahead of me.

I pass some high school boys walking because they had blown themselves sprinting for their lives in the first half mile. They have this disoriented what the hell just happened look on their faces. It is kind of cute. Cute from the perspective of one who is more than twice their age, female and now passing them. Ah, there's that hubris knocking. Do not answer when it comes knocking. Hide and pull down the shades like you do when the Jehovah Witness's come by with their pamphlets.

About 5 minutes into the first mile I realize I am painfully cold! I am so damn tired of being cold in races! Being hot may make my head swim but being cold freaking hurts! I regret my lack of mittens, arm warmers and hate hate hate with all my heart on the rain. My calves are tight and my feet just plain hurt. My socks and shoes are already soaking wet. While I am having this pity party a tall blond girl runs past me. I think maybe she is doing the 5k. Then I decide, I don't care either way. I am just not happy. I do not want to be running.

Finally the first mile split: 6:57

Holy crap that is slow!

My split from my 3 fastest 10k's the first mile has come in between 6:23-6:45. This is not good. I know PR is out of the question and wonder if I can even pull it together to run under 45--which I do in training all the time (and it never feels this terrible).

We have a little downhill and I think I am picking up the pace. Calves still suck and feet still hurt but I am thinking about my hips and quads and hammies and they don't hurt. I pass quite a few guys that had run themselves out in the first mile. I get a few annoyed looks and few "go get 'em's" too. So I am surprised when I hit the split at the second mile and it is 7:22. What the fork?

Not good, not good. Okay, I decide. No good can come of this. I need to make a call. Time for some race day assessment:
Can I finish?
Of course. I ran 6 miles yesterday and an 8:30ish pace.
Can I pick up the pace and negative split it?
Not looking likely. Calves are getting tighter and more pained.
Next question, can I at least keep this pace for the rest of the race?
Maybe but maybe not.
Last question: Is this going to injure me for ING?
Maybe but probably not. Assuming things go how they always go my calf will just be tight and I won't run well until all the swelling is gone. It does feel like something might pop but so far that hasn't happened.

At this point I mentally envision myself on the 4th mile; out on the second loop. I think about how it will still be raining, I will still be painfully cold, I will be sad about my time and there is a real chance that I might have to walk a bit. Really, it is the walking part that will kill me. I do NOT like to walk. Especially not ever in the cold rain.

Just then, around 2 and half miles a woman pulls up on me. I actually have no idea if other women have passed me or not--except the blond one that I never saw again after we turned off North Point Parkway. I only notice this woman because she WON'T pass me. She is hanging RIGHT ON MY SHOULDER. I try to slow a little and she is still there. Then I speed up a little and she is still there.

Hmmm. This has never happened to me before. I figure this must be some sort of race strategy cause she doesn't seem like she wants to be friends with me. No hi, how ya doing, I'm Sally I love 5k's and 10k's in the rain. Cute skirt!

Nope, none of that. She doesn't even look at me. I do notice that her calves look nice and her hair, short in it's perky pony tail, is nothing like the knotted dreaded mess I got going on in my baseball cap. She also looks a little older.

I wonder if she is doing the 5k or 10k.

I guess probably the 10k and she is trying to decide the same thing about me. Am I her competition or not? So then I am annoyed because this is absolutely the last thing I want to shoulder for the next 3 or so miles considering how crappy my legs feel and how miserably wet and cold I am. Not to mention my hair looks so much worse than hers. I can't have race pictures with my nappy hair next to her perky pony. Geez, can't I at least look like a cute loser?

We continue to run next to each other and then take the turn into the parking lot and prepare to head out for the second loop.

I hear the man calling 5k go right, 10k go left. And there it is, just a hundred feet in front of me, calling my name: The Finish line. I can see the clock! Oh, so pretty the yellow digital numbers framed in black, glowing. I feel gravity pulling me to them. And I go right, without really giving it much consideration. I don't even speed up for the final sprint into the chute. In fact I think I probably slow down.

As I enter the chute the man calls out: First Female Overall!

What?! Oh nooooo!!! No no no no.

And he yells out "Congratulations!"

I shake my head no and wave my hand at him to as if to say no, not me. I'm a quitter, not a winner I think as I walk across the finish line and then hit my watch. Final 1.1 mile: 7:50. Total time 22:10. Geez, that really sucks. Even if that was my 10k split time that wouldn't have been good for a PR. Yuck.

I walk down the chute and there is no one else (at least that I see) behind me or in front of me. The girl tears off my bib tab and I tell her that I signed up for the 10k and she looks blankly at me and puts my tab on the ring and says "but you ran the 5k right?"

I agree that this is true.

The next girl in the chute hands me my time card to fill out. I tell her that I signed up for the 10k and only did the 5k. She looks at me like "yeah, so?" and waits for me to take the card out of her hand. I do and wander around for a second figuring out what to do; who to tell the mistake. I feel like I have cheated.

I see the tables to fill out my card--I had walked past them in my daze the first time. I pick up several different pens and think they don't work but realize they don't work because I am so cold I can't press the pen down hard enough to write. I manage to get most of my name and time down and then decide to go ask someone what to do.

I see the lady taking the cards. I hand her my card and she says "Oh you are first!" And I tell her that I actually signed up for the 10k and she said,"Oh! Well go do your other loop!"

I explain that I decided to just do the 5k because I was having some trouble. I was trying to explain to her that I wasn't sure if it was fair that I win the 5k when I had planned to do the 10k but I could not articulate that because I think dumbass and stupidass were in cahoots and had frozen my cognitive processing completely.

The lady then asked me if I did the whole 5k and I confirmed that I did and she said well then it is okay and filled out the rest of my card for me.

I walked off and as I did I saw a woman hand in her card. I felt terrible since she would have been first had I done the 10k as I planned. As it turned out she was first female master.

I ran to my car and I thought about changing into my dry clothes but it was still raining and I wanted to see Brett finish. I grabbed my camera in hopes that I could snap a shot.

I got back over to the finish area and only 10 minutes had elapsed since I finished. Brett was shooting for a sub 40 so I still had awhile. Around 34 minutes first place male came zooming in and was shortly followed by second place. And then no more 10k runners came through. I watched the 5k'ers finish and saw more than one time someone squeeze past someone on the finish line after they had already crossed. I am annoyed but then feel guilty since I was not totally ethically in the right today having switched horses and jumped on the short track. Who am I to judge race ethics?

While I am waiting for Brett to finish I see someone else who I think might be in charge and tell him that I planned to run the 10k but ended up just doing the 5k and was first female. I guess he thinks I am bragging and just tells me congrats. So I give up on trying to right things since it doesn't seem to matter to anyone.

Finally I see Brett coming up the tiny hill and he has about 35 seconds to come in under 40. I scream to him to RUN!RUN!RUN! and he comes in with 15 seconds to spare-- good for 3rd place over all: first in the young/old dude age group. Brian (ColdFire) zooms in behind Brett good for fourth overall/first in the a lot younger than me age group.

After that I finally change out of my clothes but still am so cold. Several of us head over to Starbucks and grab some coffee. When we get back to the race area where they are doing the awards. I see that the prize is a mug. I LOVE a prize mug! I actually have one from the 10k I did a few years ago on this same course.

They've already done the 5k awards but I go over to the announcer area and spy on their sheet and see that my name is still there for first female overall. I tell them that is me and they excitedly hand me my "winner's" mug (even though I totally feel like a loser since I bailed on my race)!

Happily though I take my giant mug and pour my Starbucks coffee in it and hug it with my hands and try to get warm while I wait for Brett, Brian and Chris (in the older than me age group) to get their awards for kicking ass in the 10k. Way to represent guys! And yes, I totally felt like an impostor hanging out in the winner's circle. But whatever, I like my mug.

And even though I am a total 5k impostor winner I still went to Steph's and celebrated with Doug's home brew like I am winner.
Hey, what's that quote from Talladega Nights that Ricky Bobby says? Oh yeah . . . "If you ain't first, you're last!"

Okay next post hopefully I'll get around to writing about the most awesome time we all had seeing The Pogues! I am still giggling everyday thinking about those shennanigans.


  1. God what a horrible picture of me...Thanks for hanging out and waiting for me to finish. You did the right thing by shutting it down and saving yourself for ING.

  2. Don't be so hard on yourself. I would so happy if I could run as fast you!

  3. 5K imposter, I am sooo saving that for future use. Probably smart bailing on the 10K though.

  4. Hey, thanks all. . .

    AND . ..

    Brett: on my run today I started laughing thinking about how after you finished you asked me if I wanted to go do a "cool down" loop. And you were serious!
    Really, if I bailed on the 10k obviously I was not down with a second loop. Not to mention that it was still raining.

    Definitely must have been the endorphins speaking. Congrats again on hitting and obliterating your goal. No doubt you will be cleaning up the course at ING! And no, I won't be in the mood to do a "cool down" 13 after the marathon.

    GOT: You are so kind!

    Preston: Don't be a 5k impostor like me.

  5. Sounds like you made the right choice no need to push it and risk it for ING. Congrats on your win!!

  6. Tell Ryan thanks for the "2 hot college girls" research... I'm gonna get me a thing too and am happy to be his wingman!

  7. Awesome job on the win! Congrats. Considering the way your legs were feeling & ING, you made the right choice. You won- fair & square! Next time, look for some string around the house (or floss) to use for your ponytail.

  8. Best unintentional first place eva! :-)

  9. Okay; first of all. I consider myself a pretty good, experienced runnergirl, and my PR for a 5K is 22:21... (I've won 2nd or 3rd in my age group in our local 5,000 person annual 5K) so I don't wanna hear you complaining, okay? I wish you lived farther north so I could train with you... lol.

    2nd - Pretty impressive, considering you were saving energy for the 10K, to win the 5K.

    3rd - Very smart to tone it down and do the 5 instead of the 10. You should know by now that you should listen to your body. Run like the wind when you're feeling good and tone it down when you're not feeling so good.

    Congratulations!! Careful with those calves; take it easy so you'll have a good ING.

  10. ooh. By the way. You've inspired me with your comment that you've done pretty well in marathons on 3 hours' sleep. I was going to cancel my entry to the New Jersey Marathon because we're invited to a barmitzvah the night before... but I think I'll just drive the 2 1/2 hours after the party and get my butt up after very little sleep and do the marathon anyway... I'm planning on running the National Marathon this Saturday, but not for time - just to help my sister-in-law run it. I wanted to use the Jersey marathon to qualify (I'm 7 minutes short).

    dumb? I'm on the fence...

  11. lol. and the award for the most annoying commenter goes to...

    sorry. forgot to mention that I, too, LOVE passing those young high school boys... insert evil laugh here. I have one of those hats they sell at expos: "I know I run like a girl; try to keep up!"

  12. Funny runner:
    Dumb? IDK, probably not smart but I have laid in bed for hours before the marathon but not got a wink of sleep. And I have run a half marathon (my 2nd fastest) on almost zero sleep and recovering from Bronchitis. So lack of sleep won't be a deal breaker. I would advise getting a good night's sleep for the 3-5 days before the race. As a mother I am sure you know that the lack of sleep as a cumulative effect. It does catch up eventually but one restless night won't ruin you. Several restless/sleepness and you are screwed.

    I didn't get much sleep before ING last year and still ran a BQ. Sleeping the night before a race just doesn't ever work out for me. I also didn't get much sleep before Museum of Aviation. I just worry about the days before and getting 8 hours a night then.

  13. Joe: Yeah, you and Ryan totally have my permission to go and pick up some college ladies with your gnarly beards. Be sure to tell them you are in a band too. Just say you guys are big in Europe and haven't really broken the US scene yet.

  14. La Runner: String! Good idea. Of course today, cleaning the house, I found 6 rubber bands. Obviously my potty mouth is not having the impact on inanimate objects it once did. My keys though, they are still a little scared. Little bit of cussing and they come right out every time.

  15. This, I love (because I'm just in awe about how fast a runner you are):

    "Finally the first mile split: 6:57

    Holy crap that is slow!"

  16. I am not really very fast and 6:57 would have been great if every mile was going to be 6:57. . . But since I have a habit of going out too fast 6:57--relatively speaking--didn't bode well and was on the slow side in that sense. 6:57 is actually pretty close to goal --which was why I was upset about it.
    I'm a run til you blow up runner. Hence those early miles need to be fast.:-)

  17. Hi nice Blog.web based timecard Online Time Clock-Employee Punch Clock-LaborTimeTracker ensures the privacy and security of our customer data. All account, punch and billing data is held with very high security.