|Photo credit: TrackShack.com|
Ants. Blueberries. Cheering. Determination.
A newbie runner celebrates her first-ever race! (Yay, Kim!)
After a flurry of e-mails and Facebook messages Friday, several of us headed out for the 19th Annual Celebration of Running 5K, kicking off the 33rd Track Shack Grand Prix Series, as the fall racing season gets underway.
It was a chance to join a newbie runner-friend in her debut race, have a tweet-up/meet-up, and run with fellow Galloway group runners. With over 2,000 racers in attendance, it was a fun event and a nice course.
Kim and I arrived early to do a short/slow run to warm up. The humidity was already in full-on mode, oppressive and miserable; we were soaked in the first 5 minutes of our early-morning jaunt.
After a short warm-up, running into blogging/running buddies either racing or volunteering, and doing last-minute prep, we headed for the always-important porta-potty stop before cruising over to the start line.
|Look how intense the people are behind us! Wow!|
Next, we headed to the start line when Kim confessed, "I know you'll think this is stupid, but I drove the course last night ~ just to check it out."
Me: "Stupid? Not at all! I think that's great planning. Can visualize and hopefully minimize your anxiety." (She seemed pretty calm that morning, so it must've worked!)
We found a few buddies at the start line, including Maddy, whom I've chatted with via twitter and FB, but hadn't met yet, and Christine, one of our Galloway buddies, who had already run six miles that morning with the group (such a responsible runner, she is!). We had all e-mailed what we'd be wearing. Helps when someone wears a shirt with her name on it! :-) Takes away all the guess-work!
While waiting for the race to begin, I asked Maddy if she had seen @KrystalRunner, another local running/blogging buddy, who also runs with one of our Track Shack groups (Marathonfest). Krystal and I are SURE neither exists because we've tweeted and messaged back and forth, trying to meet up for two months, and have YET to meet in person. Turns out, I walked right past her, saw her, wasn't sure it was her, and SHOULD have hollered out to her (dang it!). Krystal, I did SEE you, so at least I know YOU exist! LOL
After the prerace pleasantries, it was time to get this party started and before we knew it, we were off for Kim's first-ever race... woo hoo! (It was about 5 minutes before when I realized I had left my water/Gatorade mixture in the car ~ not good.) But I'm thinking, it's only 3 miles and we just had water (knowing in my heart of hearts this could be a problem).
The first corner took us right into a hill (small, but an incline nonetheless....yuck!).
Me: "Okay. Do you know what to do with hills?"
Me: "Shorten your stride. Small, tight steps."
And off we went....
I was hearing all that I've been learning the last year in my head as I mentored my new friend through her new endeavor. She was amazing! We planned to run intervals and discussed our split times, deciding on 12:00 - 12:30 miles. (For all you speedy folk out there, remember: I AM the Turtle Runner after all, AND the heat & humidity were brutal!).
TOO FAST. TOO SLOW. JUST RIGHT.
We found ourselves changing our intervals as we entered mile 2, with 1:30 (run) and 1:00 (walk) not working for us. The walk interval felt too long in this short-distance race. We switched to 1:30/:30 intervals. This worked for a little while, but when we started into mile 3, we weren't digging that combo either, as we were shooting for under 40 minutes, felt we were moving too slowly, but then needed longer than 30 seconds to recover in our walk intervals. We tried speeding up on the run intervals, adjusting interval times, etc.... we never quite seemed to find our interval nirvana, but now we have something (new) to work on in training. Figuring out the whole correlation between distance, interval times, exertion levels, etc... Can you say 'technical training' ladies and gentlemen??
As mile #3 got underway, we were really feeling the effects of the morning sun, being used to running before sunrise (slightly cooler). And even with water stops conveniently placed at each mile (though I wish they had been right AFTER the mile markers so we didn't slow down right before hitting our split time), we were still feeling underhydrated. Not a good feeling at all!
We were consistent, though: 12:09/mile 1, 12:03/mile 2, but began...to...slow....down... in mile 3. Not much, but just enough to not achieve negative splits. Kim's Gym Boss (our interval time-keeper) died at the beginning of mile 3 (weirdly, this same thing happened to mine in the same place during the 4th of July 5K. Hmmmm.....) Gym Boss folks, are you listening?? What's up???
In spite of our fatigue and having to go 'old school' to keep intervals (as in me keeping time on my watch!), Kim managed a big smile in mile #3 ...
Then, it was time for the home-stretch. For the first time since I've started running with Kim, she actually got REALLY QUIET, which I teased her about later. I knew we were both struggling by then. My problem began to be my glucose level (remember water/Gatorade in the car?? needing it NOW) ...
Me: "Kim, I'm feeling not-so-good."
Kim: "You okay?"
Me: "Feeling kinda dizzy. But I'm okay...."
We could hear the finish line announcer and knew we were close. I told her, "Go. Don't wait for me. I WILL get there." Being the awesome running partner that she is AND a mom, she wasn't about to leave me behind. Bless her. I nudged, pushed, insisted she go on. Finally, she did, but not without looking back repeatedly.
Finally, I yelled, "Kim, keep going! Don't look back!"
And with that, she crossed the mile 3 marker and headed around the corner to claim her first-ever PR. I was soooo proud of her! I clocked her split (12:46) and her finish time: 38:06. WOO HOO!!! KIM, YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|She looks so calm, relaxed!|
Twenty seconds later, I crossed the finish line, too, and got to hear my name (pronounced correctly - very nice!... thank you, Track Shack!). Fun!
After high-fives and hugs, we headed to bananas, blueberries, water, and Gatorade. NEEDED!!! And... found a nice young woman willing to snap a shot for us:
|Note to self: ditch the stupid, ill-fitting hat!|
Met up with Christine and her other half, chatted a bit, and then I needed to sit down (feeling dizzy again). Hot, humid, blood sugar level a little wonky... no biggie. Pretty normal after a race.
ANTS IN MY PANTS!
Ha Ha... Pretty self-explanatory. Managed to sit my wet backside right in an ant pile and didn't even know it for a couple of minutes until.... OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|Invisible ants? No, just on ME instead of the cement..notice wet butt print.|
The whole world got a peep show right after that as the skirt went up, the built-in shorts up even more, and we looked for those nasty little critters. Kim says, "You have GOT to take a picture of those things!" (She's already on board with this whole blogging/photo-taking thing... YES!) So I did... though they appear to be HIDING in this picture. Trust me: there were MANY. Well, there were many on my butt(!). Maybe that's why we don't see them in the picture.... Damn ants.
RUN, KIDDOS, RUN!
Before we left, we watched the littlest guys run their races ~ the wee ones running 40? feet or so and then the slightly older ones (but not by much) running a one-miler. Wow! They were cute and some of them, really fast!
New lessons learned (don't forget the water/G bottle and watch out for nasty little critters!)
Thank you, Track Shack and Florida Hospital, for a wonderful race day! Glad to support the Orlando Science Center... a HUGE "thanks" to all of the staff and volunteers!! You guys were AWESOME!
Great course, plenty of water stops, and well organized... fantastic!
Krystal, we WILL meet up!
After a short nap, Hubs took me out for Saturday lunch to a favorite place, Cheesecake Factory, and I had this (without the rice):
|White chicken chili....ridiculously good!!!!|
Do you have a favorite place or food to eat after a race event?
(p.s. ~ yes, we did have chocolate milk postrace!)
Happy running, friends....
Own your journey. One run at a time.