my second ever road race took place on monday (does a 3rd grade 5k filled with drama really have to count as my first?).
it was a 10k (6.21 miles) to benefit a children's clinic in franklin, TN (where the race was and home of our friends, co-runners, and hosts, the myers').
we had spent friday through sunday at a lakehouse in north georgia with the myers fam and our brother and sister in law's fam. judah had diarrhea (magma GI) all weekend and was not himself. the jet ski that had been a HUGE draw to going to the lake house was broken on saturday morning so most of us never got to ride it. the house we stayed in was so incredibly gorgeous and nice that we spent most of our time stressed that the kids were going to mess it up somehow. all that is to say that when we headed back up to TN to spend sunday night at the myers' before the race, we were already kind of run down and frazzled. let's go run 6 miles!
also: i sustained an injury. yes, she of the joints of steel and bones of adamantium was wounded in action. i was carrying layla downstairs on saturday evening. raechel and my little sister in law elena were halfway down the staircase at the landing and judah was following me. we were going to change one of his 85 diapers that day. my flat-soled flip flops slipped on the carpet. i stayed upright as i skiied down 2 or 3 stairs, but knew i couldnt recover. mouth: "shit!," feet: gone, body: SLAM; me and layla: down.
i tried to take all the impact, but i felt layla's head hit the wall. obviously all i cared about after we came to a halt was layla, but every time i tried to calm her down (she was screaming, duh) i couldnt focus because i was in so much pain. raechel took her, assured me that she really didnt hit the drywall that hard at all and told me to just chill.
you guys: it was my butt. my butt meat to be precise. at first i thought broken tailbone, but then i realized it was not central and was more mid-right cheek. so yay for nothing seriously messed up (if you have to fall down the stairs holding your infant, landing on your buttmeat is IDEAL) oh but it hurt. walking, going up stairs, sitting: they were all renewers of the ultra charlie horse taking up residence in my butt meat.
note: i had jesse take a picture of the spectacular huge bruise that has formed. i was willing to show it off, but no matter how i cropped or rotated, it was just 100% inappropriate to put on the blog. congrats, universe, you've found my line.
after an awesome adults-only date at p.f. chang's in franklin sunday night (oliver and hazel were at grandmas and my kids were watched by one half of raechel's mentee/babysitter extraordinaire duo, lizzie), we turned in at about 10 pm CST. we had to be out of the house at 6 the next day (lizzie spent the night to be there with our kids in the morning).
we were up at 5:45 and it was NASTY. like 55 degrees and raining. jesse and i only
packed own summer running gear. whoops.
it is important to note:
-i am NOT a morning runner. i have tried it twice since taking up the sport and have almost died both times. something about not having a day's worth of food in my belly plus not being fully awake has me dead at mile #2.
-i have only ever run in 80+ degree weather. even on my morning disasters, it was hot to trot from the get go.
-i have never run in the rain or even after it on wet ground
so it was going to be a day of firsts!
we drove up to the square, passing the final mile of the course on the way. the street was lined with signs drawn by kids with messages of thanks and encouragement for supporting the mercy clinic. i started crying. my defenses are weak on little sleep and early in the morning and i didnt have on my prickle pants yet that normally keep me immune to such emotion.
we went to register and check in at city hall. we got our bibs, our shirts, and our running chips (sensors that go on your shoe to clock official times) and then we went to ryans office to wait until it was time to go line up. we were all so nervy and fluttery in there. it was cute, a bunch of adults practically wetting their pants before doing something we've all done before.
5 minutes before race time we headed to the starting line. they had sections set up based on your approximate mile pace. without a backward glance, jesse spotted the 8-10 minute mile sign and was all, "peace out, slow suckaz!" ryan, raechel and i sidled up to the 10-12 minute mile stall (this would be a reach/goal for me and totally easy for ryan and raechel). it was good not to be alone in there because i was so very skittish and nervous, even though both ryan and raechel should have been with jesse in the speedster section.
we all checked our armbands and ipods, tightened our ponies and hats (raechel and i were both running in hats for the first time ever to keep the rain out of our eyes). as we waited for the gun we realized we hadnt taken any cute pre-race pictures. so with my phone strapped to my arm, i attempted to get a few.
pay no mind to ryan's intimate naked eyes. he took off his face-pants (his glasses) for the run. this is adorable...like two escapees from the island.
it's a little harder to take a picture of yourself when the camera is strapped to your shoulder. basically this is proof we both wore hats.
POP! there goes the gun and we're off. it took a good minute or two to even get up to the starting line. and then we were officially off. i started my nike+ tracking and hit play on my harry potter audio book (chapter 11: quidditch). immediately i was passed by a man juggling (i'm told he did it the entire way) and a 90 year old man barefoot. i also immediately realized that i hadnt tried running since i fell down the stairs. it was like getting kicked in the butt with every step. the bruise isnt on the muscle, but on the, erm, fluff, so it was just the jiggle of each step that hurt.
then my phone starts going bonkers. it cut off harry potter and starts going through every song on my ipod 3 seconds at a time and beeping in my ear. so while still packed in with the other racers, i have to take off my armband and try to restart and fix it. super fun running in a crowd on wet streets while looking down trying to tappity-tap my phone back to life, lemme tell ya. i sent ryan and raechel on with my blessing because i am way slower than them so it would have never lasted and because i only run alone...such a maverick.
finally everything was normal and all i had to do was run. that first mile was full of ego-dings. i saw the elderly, the wounded and the obese all breeze past me like flipping lightning mcqueen (ca-chow, beeyatch!). on one straightaway i tried to capture just how many people were in front of me (about 700) and behind me were only a handful. yikes.
this crew was long gone in front of me by the time the race ended
i had to keep reminding myself that i was so COUCH 4 months ago and that my goal had just been to get to 5k status. here i was running a 10k! there was no shame in being last. but it was really hard. i guess most folks who run 10k's are "runners," and dont just come in off the streets with no training. so even with training and if i was skinny and fit, i still wouldnt be fast over distances...it's just not a strength of mine. i reminded myself that if i wanted to be competitive, to do it with myself and so i set a reach-goal of sub-75 minutes (dont judge! i am so so slow). i turned inward and harry and i trotted onward.
our half marathon training has us running 10/1 intervals. run ten minutes, walk one minute. but since i run so slowly, like a gentle fart, i dont really need the walk breaks. so my goal was to run the first 2 miles straight before taking a break. we had driven the entire course the night before and knew that there was a mondo hill right at 2 miles, so this would be perfect since i could walk the hill (nothing does me in more than trying to muscle it up a hill; its better just to walk it).
at mile 1.9 i see the hill. i think, "aw snap, that's not nearly as steep as i thought yesterday," and i begin my walk break. i sadly felt like i really needed it at that point. i get to the top of it and, oopsie, that wasnt the big hill at all...because there it is in front of me like flipping K2. i had taken my walk break way too early on a baby hill and now it was going to go way longer than intended.
as i walked up the mammoth, i saw guys sprinting off into the bushes to pee. i realized i was pretty tired already and was already negotiating with myself for when my next walk break could be. at the top of the hill i was at 2.3 miles and about 26 minutes. i had already walked way more than had intended. i told myself to try to get to the 4 mile mark before i walked again, and to take it slow just to get to that goal.
this is when things changed. i started to just immerse myself in hogwarts and enjoy the scenery. a cold, rainy tennessee morning can easily become the english countryside if your imagination is up to it, and it did for me. i marveled at all the intersections blocked off by police officers, with traffic lined up for miles as all of franklin seemed to tip its hat to we, the runners. there were volunteers at all minor side streets blaring music from their cars and cheering us on; standing in the rain at 7 am on their holiday to encourage us because we were running to help a children's clinic.
i came upon the 3 mile water station and at first i thought there was a traffic jam of runners. then i realized it was about 30 kids lined up to create a gauntlet of cheering and all offering me water, high fives and applause. somehow i had gotten a big chunk of street to myself with no one in front of or behind me for a few tenths of a mile, so these kids had only me to cheer for and offer water to at that moment. i was laughing and sort of tearing up as i went through.
i never walked again. at mile 4.5 i took off my armband to send a text to jesse, figuring he would be almost finished and wanting to push him on (he is FAST). so at 53 minutes i wrote "go babe!" and took a moment to be jealous that he was almost done (little did i know, he had already been finished for two whole minutes).
i was loving the cold and the rain at this point. it was amazing to not be drenched with sweat and overheated. at the final water station the guy said, "keep smiling sweetie!" and i was like, "what is he talking about?" and then realized that i was running with a huge grin plastered to my face like a lunatic on the lam from her group home. i was LOVING this! splish-splash, jiggle-jostle. on and on.
it was at mile 5 that i started seeing other racers who had already finished walking back to their cars. hahaha. this was funny. these speedsters had already had time to finish, collect swag, chat with friends and walk a mile back towards me to get to where they parked...all while i still had 1.2 miles to go.
at mile 5.2 i left harry behind and smacked the "power song" button on my nike+. immediately bruno mars' runaway baby starts pumping through my nervous sytem. after an hour of harry potter read alound, this was like crack cocaine. i started MOVING. i just knew i could sprint the final mile.
whoopsie, i forgot about the final little (yet steep) hill at mile 5.5-ish. i had to slow down big time to get over it. as the downtown square came into view, my official running song, aint nothing wrong with that, came on. i passed the hand-drawn kids' signs again and only cried a little bit, having been inoculated by seeing them earlier and getting most of the tears out of the way then.
it was a straight shot to the finish line. about a tenth of the way from finish i spot raechel waiting for me on the corner and she comes out to buddy run my finish with me. 11 seasons worth of biggest loser watching have conditioned me to cry during the triumphant moments when a fatty is accomplishing a goal and a loved one shows up as a surprise. i was laughing and crying and peeing my pants all at once. i think i may have mauled/hugged/peed on her for a good minute.
ryan snapped this one with his phone of us nearing the end. i love it!
as i crossed the finish line i just remember saying, "that was so easy, i could totally run another 7 miles right now!" part of it was that i was drunk on endorphins and talking crazy and partly it was true. my pace is so slow that it doesnt really push me to my limits. so much so that i think i could go almost forever at that pace. i will find out in december!
we got our freebies and headed home to shower and get our kids while the myers got ready for oilver's kiddie 1k race. naturally jesse and i got in a fight and i diva-stormed out of the car onto the mean streets of franklin all by myself. due to the time crunch, he didnt play my game and instead of chasing me down begging forgiveness he went home and showered and got in warm dry clothes while i was freezing and wet in my tank top and shorts wandering the streets. brilliant power play, keight.
i found the myers group and watched oliver's race. it was maybe my favorite part. the kid is beyond adorable and it was awesome to see him run with olivia, raechel's cousin in law who was running for the first time since being in a horrible grill explosion over a month ago.
freaking reepicheep! he is 100% irresistible
who needs makeup when your exuding 6 miles worth of endorphins!
we met back up with jesse and my kids (who were dressed so insufficiently for the weather thanks to us packing for 90 degree temps). jesse and i made up as i coveted his shower and dry clothes.
poor guy and his short sleeves and burnt bottom. looking up adoring his daddy.
layla got to borrow some of hazel's warm stuff thanks to the surprise temps. i might need to buy the hat and the hoodie for her after seeing this.
they had posted the official times so we went to have a looksee. imagine my surprise to find that not only have they misspelled my names horrendously, but i am also in the male division! Reight Dullees has a penis, i guess. jesse had filled out our paperwork and maybe he had horrible handwriting and-- i know i spell my name weird, but really? shouldnt they have asked?
henceforth my male alter-ego shall be known as Reight Dullees. lady gaga has joe calderone, i have reight dullees.
so what have we learned? 1: Jesse Dulees is very fast. 2: Reight Dullees, male, from the uncapitalized former soviet republic of georgia, is very slow. 3: i was slower than all 14 of the 70+ year old racers who ran that day!
apparently the chips used at the race can be glitchy. ryan's time was off and so was mine. my nike+ GPS and timer clocked me at 1:13:34 and that is was i saw when i looked at the clock as i crossed, but at this point 704th overall instead of 721st overall (out of 760!) is like a particleboard medal instead of a toilet paper one. but i totally achieved my 75 minutes or less goal.
if you've ever been to raechel's blog and seen a picture of her, you know that she rocks a ponytail of perfect glory. i learned on race day that she actually flat irons her hair into this state almost daily and actually has very curly hair. she was outed by the rain and all the jostling of a race. here is what she had at the end of the morning:
it doesnt even make sense to me how this could happen. i accused her of skipping the water stations and going to the teasing station instead. of course, this is what my hair looks like 90% of the time, so who's to say?
what have i learned? races are AWESOME! at first i thought it was a gyp to pay $35 to run when i can do it anywhere for free. but the atmosphere of a race cant be underestimated. the electricity in the air, the cheers from the crowd, the aversion to public shame all made running so much less painful than it can be during solo training. to know that our money went to helping a really worthy cause made it that much more special.
i hear at the st jude marathon that we are running (the half version) in december, that some of the kid patients come out to cheer you on at the finish. hello? blubbering mess, party of me!
there is a 15k (9 mile) race in october here in our town that jesse and i are going to do because it fits perfectly with our training and because we might be racing junkies now! what a world.