With the first race of 2012 under my belt, I am happy to report that it went pretty darn well. What I am not happy to report is that I don’t have a medal to show for it! But I am jumping ahead of myself….let me start from the beginning.
I woke up early and got my stretching regime under way. The Perfect Strangers, true to form, had spent the week discussing what matching outfit we would wear and we settled on all black with tall knee socks. I chose a brand new black tank, brand new black shorts and brand new blue socks. Now I am a seasoned racer meaning I should know better than to ever wear something brand new during a race and yet I ignored all that advice and just went for it. We’ll come back to that topic later.
I drove up to the Northview Church for packet pick up and waited for my girls to arrive. Karen and Amy were the first to join me and we picked up the packets for Bri, Christi and Jaime who all ran from Jaime’s house to get an extra 1.5 miles in. As we gathered in the main lobby amongst all the runners, much to our surprise, Kelly showed up! She wasn’t running the race but popped by on her long run to say hi and take some pictures.
And unsurprisingly, we got a lot of looks. Girls stared at us with judgy eyes and quite a few guys complimented us on our socks.
Amy was definitely our task master all morning and made sure we didn’t get too carried away with our hilarious conversations about Reese Witherspoon and Little Orphan Annie that we would miss the start of the race.
As we approached the start line, we discussed our strategies. Lorie and Karen were planning on going on for it with a faster pace, as well as Adriana. Jaime, Christi, Bri, Amy and I were looking at a 9 min/mile pace and so we hung back. And within just a couple minutes of arriving at the start, we heard some lame starting gun and we were off! The first few miles were pretty quick yet I had no idea as my Garmin’s battery had died on the way to the race. I had to rely on the girls to tell me what our pace was and Amy was a rockstar at that. She often would tell us when we were going too fast and needed to pull back.
The course runs through Carmel neighborhoods and actually has quite a few hills. No, not massive ones like San Francisco, but ones that challenged us nevertheless. Christi stayed out front throughout and was able to snap a few in-action photos.
We continued to get lots of comments about the socks from other runners and even some of the policemen who were working the course. My favorite was a man working on a construction site who yelled out and said “You guys are badasses for doing this race!”
The miles slowly passed by but the conversation kept us going. I was so excited to see my friends Cindy and Jordan working a water stop but was not excited that there were so few of them! The aid stations seemed very spaced apart and though the weather wasn’t too hot, we were definitely eager for each and every one. We took our first walking break around mile 7 after a long hill and took the opportunity then to take our fuel (GUs and fruit snacks) and catch our breath. The minute we started running, I felt my knee for the first time. I have been icing it all week as I think my back-to-back 20 milers gave me a nice dose of Runners Knee. It held up pretty well yesterday but I was definitely feeling it about midway through the race.
The over/under on when we would lose Christi was around mile 5, but she actually stuck with us until mile 8! As she pulled ahead, our pace stayed strong, hovering in the 9-9:15 range just about every mile. And at our next water stop, I noticed that chaffing had arrived. I mentioned earlier that I chose to wore brand new shorts. During the first mile, I could feel them riding up and I was forced to adjust constantly. I joked with the girls that by the end of the race, I was going to wearing Paula Radcliffe like briefs without Paula Radcliffe’s body. But once I started sweating and the material stuck, they were great. I just need to pair them with some BodyGlide next time. Ouch!
I also noticed a big blister forming around this time. Though I had doubled up on socks given our tall ones are very thin, I ended up giving Jaime my extra pair right before the race. She was having some numbness issues and needed them more than me. But as a result, my feet were pretty torn up the last few miles of the race. Jaime and I laughed as we discussed our ailments. Sh*t runners say.
At one point I said “I can’t wait to drink a beer, eat a good meal and wear our medals out at lunch today.” And it was Amy who broke the news to me: there are no medals in this race. I was outraged! How can there not be a medal?! I joked that I was quitting the race right there, but clearly, we were going to get through it medal or no medal.
Toward the end of the race, I was catching my stride (I credit the Spiderman fruit snacks from mile 7). But Amy was struggling a bit. The lack of water and the faster pace we held in the first few miles was catching up to her. I was ready for the race to be over and was willing to just go on for it the last two miles, but was not leaving these girls behind. This isn’t my big race…hell, I signed up for it on Tuesday! This was a race for fun and there was no way I wasn’t crossing that finish line with them. In fact, I even yelled to them that there were going to be 8 socked legs crossing that line together. And we were pretty darn close.
Jaime and I pulled ahead just barely and she was awesome. Definitely the Boppy Fairy of this race, she was feeling strong throughout. And we all knew was lay ahead of us: the final hill. As we ran up it, I assumed there was yet another one right after so held back a little. Jaime was having none of it as she told me “I don’t care who you have to think of right now to get yourself up this hill, do it.” Later she told me she wanted to tell me to do it for my dad but was scared I would cry. Good call, Jaims. With the hill just barely behind us, we saw Jeremy, Luke and Jacob (Jaime’s family) who cheered loudly. Then we saw Karen and Lorie and finally the finish. The clock said 1:55 and as much as would love to believe we PRed, we knew there was no way it could be accurate. It didn’t matter….we finished and looked pretty darn cute afterwards.
But there was no medal. I still can’t understand how I can run 13.1 miles and not get a medal, but I guess my ugly forest green tech shirt will have to suffice. We packed up our things and headed to MudSocks for lunch. After setting up a table in the sun outside, the clouds quickly rolled in and we were freezing. Leave it to Mom Jaime to pull out the blankets from the car and wrap her adorable kids as well as us in them! She also grabbed a pair of Micky Mouse ears and handed them to me while saying “These are for no one else to wear.” And so I did. The rest of the meal.
Lunch was a blast. We learned out to say “Cheers” in Romanian (Norac!) and recapped our races for each other. We laughed about Cowboy Movies. And we enjoyed each other’s company as we always do. I was sad when it was all over in fact. They are my favorites. (You can read Bri’s recap here).
Later our official times came out and I have to say, we did pretty damn well. 2:01:50 for me and I’ll take it.
Now onward and upward. Only 5 weeks until the Illinois Marathon and this body needs to get into tip top shape. I am starting back on Paleo tomorrow to hopefully become a lean fighting machine. Raceapoolza is coming up…and I am excited! And those races better have medals.