Hey Party People! The craziness at work is finally over! Back to more normal posting, working normal hours and having energy and a life again. Can you tell I’m ecstatic?
As many of you know, I completed my second race ever this past Sunday. The only other race I’ve ever done was the half marathon I did back in February. Unfortunately, this recap won’t have many pictures because I didn’t have my cell or my camera on me for the race or post-race celebration.
Surf City Half
The morning of the Sneak didn’t start off ideally for me. I was extremely nervous and unsure of myself as I drove the few miles to the start. I hadn’t had a good run in weeks, and I wasn’t able to run more than 2 miles at a time without walking during those runs. I’ve also been experiencing major GI issues (probably from work-related stress), so I did something that is probably really stupid in retrospect. I ended up taking a couple Imodium caplets an hour or so before leaving home to prevent any issues during the run, and (thankfully) it worked without a hitch. It would have really sucked if it didn’t or if I had reacted badly to it.
Upon parking, I realized that the playlist I spent a good portion of the night organizing was useless because I left my headphones at home. Also, I was running the race with several friends, but we never thought to plan on meeting at a central location. Although it’s a local race, there are over 10,000 people who run one of the several distances available (10 mile, 5 mile, 5k, 1.5 mile sprint), so casually finding your friends is no easy task. I spent the 20 minutes before the start walking up and down the corral area trying to frantically find them for some last minute running mojo, but no luck.
I spent the last couple of minutes working out pace goals because I was certain that the 9:55 original goal was not feasible. I did not want to run this race at 100% because of the half marathon in 2.5 weeks, so I ended up doing something I’ve never done before: I kept my Garmin screen locked on the virtual running buddy (which I set to some arbitrary pace I wasn’t trying to follow), and decided to only look at my pace when my splits would pop up. I figured I would just run hard enough to push myself, but not so hard that I would feel burnt out.
At 7:45am on the dot, we were off. I kept myself at a comfortable pace and settled in to chug along through the course. Around mile 2.5, I caught site of Thao at the first turnaround point, and it felt so good to mentally know my friends were somewhere with me on the course even though we couldn’t start together. The first few miles ticked by, and I started to gain more confidence.
Then the uphill climb began.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Despite living in mountainous Colorado, Denver is relatively flat in comparison. That hill in the picture looks really hardcore, but it’s really only about a 100ft gain. The thing is, it doesn’t end for almost 2 miles. Thus, I lost a lot of steam around mile 5 and had a hard time recovering after that point. This is also one of those times when I felt like a moron for forgetting my earbuds because music would have been amazing at this time. I just settled in for a walk break when my work team lead tapped me on the shoulder. It was just what I needed to push through a couple more miles.
Around mile 8.5, I started crashing again. I alternated walking and running in 30-60 second increments and lost my drive to challenge myself. In the last mile stretch, I told myself I would push through and run strong to the finish, but I just couldn’t mentally get in the groove. With .4 miles left to go, I started walking as I was staring at the visible finish line. I felt dejected and frustrated with myself for not caring. Even being in the final stretch, there were very few spectators watching, so I didn’t experience the “I don’t want to look like a loser at the end stretch with all these people watching” feeling.
It was at this time that my race angel showed up. I have no idea what her name, nor do I remember what she looked like, but I would have finished much slower had she not showed up. As I was walking along staring at the finish, she ran up to me and yelled out, “Girl, come on! Let’s run! We’re in the last stretch. You CANNOT be walking right now when we’re right there.” Talk about being called out!
She slowed down a bit, so I picked it up, and we sprinted the last quarter mile to the finish. I could barely breathe, my legs burned, and I was breaking down, but I sprinted as fast as I could so that her efforts weren’t wasted. Checking back on my Garmin, we ran that last portion at around a 7 minute mile. I crossed slightly in front of her, but by the time I turned around to thank her, she had already been whisked away by her family. Dear random lady out there, you are my race redemption!
There were no medals at this race, and I’m afraid for race photos to be put up because I’m sure I had the death stare on my face the whole time lol.
Final Race Result: 1:43:xx (10:19 pace)
Am I happy with my time? No.
I am, however, extremely grateful for my time. I haven’t been able to train as hard as I had hoped due to the aforementioned issues, and I was still able to run at an average pace that is faster than my recent half marathon pace, at altitude, with hills, little crowd support, and without music. I’ll take it.
I found everyone I was looking for while waiting in the finish area, and I was able to see several of them cross the finish, including Diana. She kicked the 5 mile race’s ass! Thao and our friend, Gordon, also ran their personal bests, so I’m happy that some of the others were able to hit milestones even if I didn’t.
I don’t know what to expect for my half in Portland, but I hope that I can finish it stronger than I finished this race. Then I’m going to take a lovely break from training schedules! I CANNOT wait! I’ve concluded that while I think of myself as a runner, I don’t think I’ll ever embrace being a racer, but more on that in a future post after my next race.
On a fun note: Guess what I got in the mail today? My Sweat Pink Ambassador schwag!
I obviously don’t know how to point haha. In addition to the super cute tank, I also received a ton of hot pink Sweat Pink shoelaces! Be on the lookout in the near future for a possible giveaway