27 September 2010
25 September 2010
Yeah, surprise! I signed up for the Autumn Equinox 5K a few weeks ago. You know, after I threw a big tantrum at my last 5K? Initially I thought this might be a good race. Hopefully some good cooler weather, smaller race, it's at the lake, familiar territory. No surprises.
Oh wait, one surprise. I now have both sinus and upper respiratory infections. One steroid shot, Z pack and lots of Mucinex D later...I'm still feeling pretty worn out. Tore up is more like it. I haven't run since Tuesday.
And when I woke up this morning it was raining. I tweeted about it. Sweet Kim encouraged me to get back in bed! Sorry Kim, I didn't. I drug my sad, over medicated self outta the biscuit and to the lake. I at least wanted to get my 5K in, if not the entire 14 miles I had planned.
Of course I wore my "lucky" pink bows. These ran their first race in NYC last year!
Or we could "unofficially" run the race course as a training run. Heck, I'm in. I'd already been out there for almost 2 hours and I was already soaked.
I lined up at the front of the pack, the race director started his Garmin and said, "Go!" Ha ha, he ran with us! Can you win your own race???
There were only about 6 people in front of me. This never happens. Of course, usually there are a lot more people IN the race. I had a lot of time to people watch before hand. There were a lot of gray headed men out there that looked deceptively fast. And a handful of Run On people that looked suspiciously like it might be their first 5K. And then a group of girls in the cotton race tee and yoga pants. I pegged them for newbies too. No runner would wear cotton in this rain! (shudder at the chaffing)
I took off with a sub 8:30 pace. If felt really good to be out there pretty much on my own, no one around me. The fast kids left me in their dust (or mist as it was) pretty quickly. I focused on my breathing and keeping that pace under 8:45. Before I knew it I was at the first water stop. Nathan water battle in hand, no need to slow down, I bring my own hooch to races now. Oh yes, and it was a NEW Nathan hand held since I lost mine whilst throwing my big fit a few weeks ago. Did I mention that I acted like a very big baby that day? Well, I did.
Anywho. There was the sweetest volunteer getting soaked handing out water. Love her! Thank you to everyone who has every volunteered at a race - you rock!
I spotted the turn around and did just that, turned around. There was a 15K concurrent with the race and everyone in front of me kept going. As I made the turn around an older gentleman called out, "Hey, first female!" and shook his fist at me in a congratulatory manner. What?
I looked at my watch. 8:13. Maybe this rain thing was working for me. I passed another lady who wasn't in the race, just out running. (yes, runners are crazy) She smiled and exclaimed, "Way to go, first female!"
Y'all, I've never been first at anything. First to complain maybe. First in line for cupcakes. First in a race? They must be wrong.
It started to get hard. I remembered Martina's words that "5K's hurt." And that sub 8:30 pace was starting to hurt. Remember, I'm much more comfortable at an 11 min pace these days.
I checked again, 9:00. Uh oh. I was starting to wane. It hurt to breathe. My lungs ached. Wait, was I having a heart attack? All that Sudafed couldn't be good for racing. Pain. I've been in so much pain the past few months. I thought to myself, "Girl, if you can take the emotional torture you've experienced, you can do this. If you can live through the agony of what you've been through, you can handle 1 mile of hurt. Do it."
And I did. I didn't let the crap from my life take over this time. I took over. And it hurt. Yet I pushed the pace harder. I looked down at my strong legs carrying me over the rainy streets. The water dripped off the brim of my pink Pig hat. I know there will be better days, and I wanted today to be one of them.
I crossed that finish line with everything I had. My gas tank was completely empty. The race crew tore off my bib number (this race wasn't chip timed) slapped me on the back and said, "Way to go, First Female!"
That was of little concern to me. I looked down at my Garmin, hopeful. And this is what I saw.
I did it. I finally finished under 28 minutes. Not just a PR (which BTW, I actually DID PR my fit throwing race, just didn't meet my goal, go figure). Not just a PR, but I met my goal. My goal. I did it. I bent over, put my hands on my knees and caught my breath. I finally PR'd and this wasn't official. They can't host a "real" race with the lightening. Oh well, at that moment, it didn't matter. I knew that I did it. And I could do it again. That monkey was finally off my back.
Slowly, I walked over to the pavilion, it was all sinking in. I started to cry, but I was wet from the rain. No one could tell. With my back to the others I tried to hold in the sobs and just sniffle a bit. I did it. Oh how I wished someone, anyone, was there to tell! I wanted to share my news! But I just stared off into the park and cried silently, alone.
For the first time in a long time, they were tears of joy.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll survive all this. And maybe, just maybe, I'll come out stronger.
I hung around for the awards ceremony. Pre-race they said they'd hand out "unofficial" awards. I had hoped to at least place in my age group, here I was winning not only my age group, but supposedly my gender. That to me, is hilarious!
Sure enough, after declaring the winners in the Masters, Hippo and Rhino divisions (really, who wants to run as a Rhino???) He picked up a large trophy and declared That Pink Girl as the overall First Female Finisher. Ha ha ha. I collected my booty, stayed to clap loudly for the others and share in their joy. Everyone who ran won some thing! This is what I love about running. As much stock as we put in splits, tempos, strides...at the end of the day we don't take ourselves too seriously. Hey, we all stuck it out in the rain. We ran the race. We earned our accolades! Each and every one of us.
Here I am eying my prize. This is totally going on my desk at work. It's going to be a great story to tell. The first (and probably last) time I'll ever be overall anything!
Trophies aside, I had a great race. I met my goal that has been out of reach for months now. And after talking to the race director, it was official after all. So it counts. I earned my PR fair and square. And isn't that why we race? Not to win, not to finish before others, but to push our own selves.