Monday, November 8, 2010

First Road Race!!

Posting about this race has been put off for far too long...lots of unhealthy food has gotten in my way, but I'm pushing through, and moving right along.
Just to be clear, the above pics are not of the actual hills I ran during the 6K, but I did tackle these hills a few days later when we went to the NC mountains to see the leaves. That said, the hills I did run during the race felt like the pictured hills.
So the days leading up to the race were less than stellar. I ate like a maniac with a desire to destroy all healthy cells. As I mentioned in another post, my BFF was in town. She also happens to be my favorite binge-buddy, and we did horrible things with food that week; both of us are dismayed and are working on not repeating that again.
Anyhoo, I really didn't want to run the race. I was worried about how I'd been eating and how I'd feel while I was running on junk food. I also had a little performance anxiety since my husband decided to tell people at work that I was running a race. In addition to that, this annual race starts and ends right in my own neighborhood, so the chances of random friends/neighbors showing up to watch (and judge!!) were freaking me out just a little.
My husband and BFF really left me no choice and kicked me out the door in time to run. Accompanied by my two 'prodders' and our combined four kids, I walked from our house to the starting point and pinned on my very first race numbers. Then I started to lose it a little when I saw our Pastor (also a neighbor) walk over with numbers of his own pinned on his shirt.
I had no idea he was planning to run (or be there!). He's been on a big health and running kick and has moved well beyond the 5 or 6K race distances. In fact, the next weekend, he told me, he would be running a Half.
I pleasantly inquired about his wife (a sweet lady and friend) who also was training for a Half, and he let me know that she'd be there shortly. Yay. Now I not only had spectators I wasn't expecting, but fellow runners who'd know exactly how pathetic I was at this running thing. I gave Husband and BFF ugly looks. Husband was clueless. I think BFF could read my mind.
What could I do then but run? So I went to the starting line behind Pastor and Wife, and tried to get my iPhone set up with music and the Nike Plus App I like to use. The race started, and I spent the first 1/4 of a mile fighting with the Nike program while simultaneously falling into those drainage/gutter things along the edge of the road. One thing I hadn't thought about during my practice runs was what it might be like to run as part of a herd.
I finally had to give up on my running App and just switched over to a favorite Playlist; I put the phone back in my Spibelt, strapped it around my waist and looked up for the first time since we started the race. Wife was just ahead, so I decided to try to keep up with her.
Then I started to question my sanity. What is the purpose of this racing stuff? What the heck would inspire me, or anyone else for that matter, to purposely do something so uncomfortable? What is the meaning of life??? Okay, the last question didn't occur to me at that moment, but I was almost there.
Then I just ran. I followed Wife. I lost Wife. I caught back up with Wife. Repeat.
My heart rate monitor stayed pegged at about 178 throughout the entire race, and I knew I wasn't going to push any harder than that, so I just did what I could do, and was excited to still be able to see Wife just a few strides ahead most of the way.
I really wish I'd had someone in my head to transcribe my thoughts during the race, because they'd probably give me a good chuckle right about now. I remember being surprised to pass by some big muscular guys, and to find some really 'fit' looking runners walking up the big hills. I lost Pastor early on, along with a girl I regularly see in the classes I take at the gym.
The most beautiful sight in the world was Husband and BFF with our kids just a few yards from the finish line. Pastor (who probably ran home for a shower and meal and then back) was there too, cheering Wife and me on to the finish line. That was, oddly enough, one of the best parts. I kept up with Wife! She mentioned her desire to run her Half at a pace just under 10-minute miles, so I thought I might be able to stick with her. Actually doing it was so nice.
We stuck around and cheered many of the other runners on to the finish line. A good twenty minutes later, people were still coming in, and my oldest daughter kept asking if they were part of the same race I was in :)
Here's the really fun part: the next morning I arrived at church, and Wife handed me a bronze metal!! She and Pastor had stuck around until the end and heard them call my name for third place in my division. How crazy funny and awesome is that, all at the same time? My time for the race was 36:35, so I did run just under 10-minute miles. And I didn't die. And I didn't quit. And I will run another race, because, while I still think running races is a nutty idea, I've got my own kind of 'crazy' going on, so I should fit right in.


  1. Congrats on the hardware! The first race is always the hardest to step up to. So many nerves, so many new things. I was terrified for mine, but quickly fell deeply in love with it. I still question my sanity often, but then keep toeing the line so there must be something there drawing me in.

  2. Great for you! That is a great time. And a medal?!?! Whoo hoo!

  3. Congratulations! I know you must be so proud of yourself. Way to go!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Enjoyed reading your race report - it made me laugh, reminding me of some of the same thoughts that go through my head...and then you won a medal to boot! Cool!

  5. Congtaulations!! Awesome job!!
    I imagine it feels really good to have finished then to have finished so well!
    Good for you! Keep going!

  6. Congrats! So, so awesome to place in your age group. Way to go!