Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ten Miles Under My Belt

Well, the results are in: I did all right. I met my first goal (to finish with grace), but I was off on my second. My gun time was 1:29:19.80, chip time 1:28:13.45, and gun pace 8:49/mile, which landed me at 30 in my age group and just behind my goal.

If you made your way outside before noon on Saturday, you know that it wasn’t exactly a lovely morning for a run (not by my standards, at least). It was a little colder than expected and had lied, lied, lied about the rain thing. Again. So, when we started waddling toward the starting line after the gun went off, it was already raining. It wasn’t that bad until we headed down the Carnegie leg toward Ohio City and the rain was plunking down right in my eyes. I only took a few minutes to curse myself for not wearing a hat, but was a little more disturbed by some strange timing events.

I'm the one in green.This race I ran with my iPod. I’ve gotten used to running with music, and I’m not mature enough as a runner to run without a distraction. Maybe one of these days. And I had my Nike+ thing running to keep track of my miles and times (these were 10 great miles to add to my ‘most miles in April’ challenge!).

Because of my knee, I eased into the race. The 1-mile marker on my iPod and the race lined up almost perfectly. But the times were way off. I had started my timer when I crossed the start, and knew that I was a minute and a half behind the gun. When I passed mile one, however, my time was 8:45 but theirs was 10:59. And the synchronization between my time and theirs was off for the rest of the race.

The worst part (of the metal race) was that I dorked something up big time on my iPod the night before. All of my playlists were off, and after mile-two, all of the miles were off. So, by the time I hit mile eight, my iPod was congratulating me on finishing 10 miles. Right as I was heading up the hill on West 3rd with nearly two miles to go! It has never been so far off, so I’ll have to do some tinkering before my next techie run.

The best part of the race, on the other hand, was my personal cheering section: my Mom and Neil. We were headed down Fulton when I heard some yelling from a nearby street and saw the two of them jumping out of the car to take photos. And then a couple minutes later blocking a bus and about a mile of traffic. And then stopped on the Superior Bridge like some crazed paparazzi. They seemed to be everywhere!

One of the longer legs of the race was a down-and-back on the Marginal to Burke Lakefront Airport. At the top of the hill headed into the leg, my mom was helping a police officer block angered drivers who wanted to drive through the race, and Neil was cheering us on. Not only was it great to see them (again!) headed into that leg, but it meant the world coming out. That spot was one of the obligatory hills you must run when you are most tired, and I was pushed and motivated by their being there. How can you sputter out when you have fans yelling for you? And they were the little wings on my shoes that Papa Louie said would carry me up the hill!

I did, however, come close to sputtering out shortly after that spot. On the back end of the Marginal leg, I was running past, facing the people behind me in the race. This race had to be the most somber thing I’ve ever seen in an athletic competition. No one was smiling, and most of them looked like they were on the verge of pouting. So, I started cheering everyone on. I was whooping, clapping, yelling—anything to get these people’s spirits up. And, of course, after making it through every water/Gatorade stand without trouble, I gave myself a stitch from cheering.

After mile one, I had stayed on an 8:00/mile pace. But as soon as the stitch took on, the knees started crumbling, it started raining again... and then my iPod told me I was done! So, I slowed way down until my knees stopped aching and I could keep moving while breathing deeply and stretching my side. Miles eight and nine were around 10:30 each… but what are you going to do?

Heading into the last mile, I tried to pick up my pace and ignore the stitch. I was a little bummed about my time and the previous two miles, but I just kicked it into whatever gear was left, and came home in 7:35. And somehow my mom and Neil were there too! They were the cheeriest people in a pretty quiet crowd, and I’m sure they helped power plenty of other people to the finish line.

I crossed the finish line, received my completion medal, returned my chip and found my two big fans. We cheered on my step-father and whooped for a few more minutes for the people who followed. I couldn’t believe how blah the crowd was. If it weren’t for the police officers and security guards manning/wo-manning the race lines and random people along the side (like my mom and Neil), it would have been one depressing event! It almost makes me want to attend events just as a cheer-person. At least that way I wouldn’t get stitches!

So, I didn’t meet my time goal, but I did finish the race. I guess I can’t get too down on myself. This racing thing is addictive, and I’ll never get registered for the next one if I just keep moping!
More photos to follow.


The rest of the day wasn’t so hot. I woke up with a sour stomach in the morning, but I just put it down to nerves, which have a tendency to throw me all out of whack on race day. That late-race stitch took all my attention from the stomach discomfort, so I didn’t notice that I had some semblance of stomach flu or sickness until I made it out of the shower at my mom’s house. I spent the rest of the day writhing and watching the NFL draft with Neil (poor guy had to sit around all day waiting for me to stop whining; Phil Savage, however, really earned his paycheck today) and am cooking some brown rice as I type.

And I have to say that the one thing that’s more difficult than running the 10-miler is spending the remainder of the day unable to eat! I earned that food, man! Nevertheless, I made it out of the day with a medal to mark my achievement. That and a bowl of food will make me one happy girl.


The Salty One said...

Good job! You accomplished a lot--you finished the race, you took in water and gu, and you had fun. Hey, and you ran a 10 mile and 5 mile PR at the same time! Awesome!!

From your report I think I see a couple areas that you can work on improving for next time: focus and pace. What do you think?

Anyway, I hope you're feeling better today and can get outside for at least a little bit. It's BEAUTIFUL out there!!!

PS When are you going to Portland?

miss petite america said...

congrats chica!!!

seriously finishing is half the battle. it's amazing how many things can go awry on race day and it sounds like you surmounted every challenge GRACEFULLY :)

super high fives for you and i can't wait to hear about your next races because yes they are addictive!!!!!!

Jim said...

Congrats G. Doing a 10-mile race for your second-ever race is a feat in itself to be proud of. Keep up the great work.

JenC said...

Sorry we didn't get to meet in person. It was so darn crowded there. You ran a great race in some tough conditions. It is not an easy course. I'm still sore today.

Joe said...

> chip time 1:28:13.45

Great! That's really excellent!

> I’ve gotten used to running with
> music, and I’m not mature
> enough as a runner to run
> without a distraction.

I won't ostracize you for that. I prefer running to music too.

> The best part of the race,
> on the other hand, was
> my personal cheering section:
> my Mom and Neil.

That must have given you a boost!

> they were the little wings on
> my shoes that Papa Louie
> said would carry me up the hill!

I like that. Can I use that?

> So, I started cheering everyone on.

Can you come to Vancouver next Sunday? Hehe.

> came home in 7:35.


> This racing thing is addictive


Joe said...

BTW, where the heck is your race number? I don't see it in the photo?

TRI Vortex said...

They let you run with an iPod? Lucky! Too bad about that crowd. It's one of the best part about racing. A bunch of strangers that have no idea who you are, but cheering you one anyway. Just because you crossing the line. Congrats!