April 2, 2011

Race Without Limits 8K

The night before my first race, Race Without Limits 8K (or 4.97 miles), I couldn't sleep. I get cold sweats just thinking about competition (even though it was just for fun, the word "race" is in the title, thus alerting my sweat glands), and I am always nervous that I won't wake up for important events. The kids, who get up with the first light, usually serve as my alarm clock, but I needed to get up earlier than them, which required my actual alarm clock. It has been so long since I used it that I wasn't 100% sure it would work, adding to my cold sweats and fitful turns in the night.

Well, crisis averted, my alarm clock worked, and A was already up roaming around anyway. I made it up in plenty of time to eat a banana, drink some water, and head out to meet my brother Jimmy, who probably had a great night's sleep as he was not nervous about the race because he is a frequent and lifetime runner (meaning that, unlike me, he did not just pick up running to prepare for a race) and was just coming back from a run with his two healthy-sized dogs when I got to his house. What? Who runs vigorously before you are about to run vigorously? Super healthy people, that's who.

The things that went well:

1. We found a great parking spot to save all of our leg energy for the race. Well, that was just me trying to save leg energy.
2. Running with J (my brother) and his co-worker (who is prepping to run the full marathon in Nashville) was awesome. They talked the whole time, which gave me a chance to listen and laugh without using too much oxygen to talk. I was sucking wind pretty hard.
3. They stayed with my pace for the first four miles, and we all ran our hardest the last .96. That meant passing a few people, but mainly just trying to stay conscious because it was hard giving my max effort for that long.
4. They had snacks at the end.
5. I finished in 41.5 (approximately) minutes and got second place for ladies in my age group. Woohoo!
6. I didn't throw up!
7. We did a family photo shoot (below) in Railroad Park in front of A's new workplace.

Things that could have been better:

1. Instead of running my hardest for the last .96, next time I will only try sprinting for the last 400 meters or so. I was quickly losing energy at the end. My brother came back from his finish and ran the last leg with me, which was good because my legs almost stopped right before that.
2. I told my family that it would take me 45 minutes to finish, so they didn't make it for the finish line. But check out the sweet victory signs the kids handcrafted (below). I still loved seeing the signs, even if it wasn't at the finish line!
3. I was so excited about finishing the race that I didn't really stretch properly or drink enough water, but I did partake of some free snacks. But the not-drinking-enough-water part gave me a large headache.
4. I left my headphones in the car, but I should have brought them so I could power song it through that last .96. Yes, I just used power song as a verb. No, I don't regret it.

Now I feel like the next race in Nashville is actually possible, and I'm starting to plan for after that. The plans won't be definite until the conclusion and survival of the half marathon, but I've put a lot of notices on my calendar about deadlines for signing up for races. Anyone want to join in? I'm open to traveling to your hometown to do a race with you. Especially if we are related! That's not exclusive, but I would love to visit family and run at the same time. I'm already looking at some events in Florida and California.

My friend who is prepping for the same race in Nashville has a nice little chart that she marks off every time she runs. She is obsessed with marking the chart, and with charts in general, and though I have a chart that I don't mark off, I am also obsessed with meeting goals. I like doing new things that make me feel very uncomfortable. Not like crack or meth. Mostly things that I know will be good for me, but I dread anyway. Usually there is a portion of the activity that I enjoy, but some huge part of it also makes me cringe. I felt this way when I started teaching group exercise and when I started playing organized soccer again. Part of me loved doing it, but the other equal part would be silently hyperventilating.

Motherhood is somewhat in this category. I knew it was something that I wanted to happen, but there were many parts of it that I dreaded. And many parts that I enjoy. So the obvious conclusion: the things that make you want to throw up the most bring you the most joy and rewards.

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