Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pilgrim Pacer Race Report

Pilgrim Pacer ½ marathon race report.

At 2 am, I woke up with monthly type cramps. I decided not to fool with them and took some ibuprophen, then back to sleep. At 4, the alarm went off. I sat in bed listening to a 20 mph north wind. The wind made the decision on what to wear in the race. It was 33 degF with a tiny amount of flurries. I did my prayer and meditation. At 5:45, I drove south 20 miles to Leavenworth to buy my organic fruits and vegetables. Then I continued south another 30 miles to the race location.

At 7:20, I get parked, get a pit stop and get my number (#24). I catch a glimpse of my idol. I go sit in the car to wait another 30 minutes.

People get lined up at about 10 to 8. I love how there is no shortage of hearty souls ready to go in a race on this blustery day. We all have at least $100 (US) of high tech running clothes. At 7:55, I suck down a packet of Gu. We pause a moment while BJ the DJ sings the national anthem. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard BJ sing. I’ll probably get to hear him next week also.
BJ begins a 10 second count down. We all stare intently at our watches, ready to start our timers. Suddenly, we are off!

Mission Control: we have a problem. What is it Spirit Flower? Mission Control, the first mile and a half, which is also the last mile and a half, is all down hill. Spirit Flower, at mile 11.5, it will be time to throw your heart over the bar. Oh!

Before I even get to 1 mile, a few guys comes sprinting past me. I think of safety and wonder what their problem is. Then I realize their problem is that they are running a 10K (which started 5 min later than the half marathon). Oh!

I am running a race. I actually try to race races. I’m never there just for fun. I’m always after peak performance; whatever my peak for that day happens to be. My first mile is 9:30. The course is a paved bike path, out and back. After about 2 miles, everyone is comfortably spread out, and my hands start to warm up. Yes, I have on gloves, but they are not wind proof. I am in a good groove as far as pace goes, just a running machine moving relentlessly forward. We are going south. I realize that coming back will be into that brisk north wind most of the way. Gulp…more throwing my heart over the bar. That will be the ball game baby. Do it or not. The choice is yours. What do you want?

The miles tick off. I keep looking at my watch. I’m under a 10 min/mile pace. At mile 3, the 10K racers turn around. Now the course is very spacious. For awhile, I have another woman runner around me. She is older. She runs faster than me, then walks, then runs faster than me, then stops to stretch. Eventually, she has disappeared somewhere behind me. The leader of the race passes me on his way back (at about 46 minutes). He is way, way, way ahead of second place. Next in front of me are two young boys. I don’t know how old they are, 12 to14 range. They are young enough for people coming back to shout encouragement. I must not look like I need encouragement.

Keep going. I had sucked down a Gu at 3 miles. Got some sports drink at 5. Get to the half way turn around at 63 minutes. Not bad! Now, am I too tired to keep up this pace? I could moderate my speed and possibly have a better time in the event this pace uses up my gas tank. But I am a person who likes to fathom my depths. I like to empty the glass and see what is hidden in the nether region of mental vs physical. I keep up the pace.

I am still following the boys. At the turn around, I passed them. But they quickly decided this was unacceptable and passed me. At around the 8 mile mark I’m right on their tails. I mention to them that that are slacking up. After a dirty look, they leave me in their dust for good. I keep up the pace. I take Gu around 8 miles; but decide to save the last packet until 11 miles, so I have some fuel for the hill. I pass the occasional person. Some are walking. I suck my Gu at 11 miles.

Just a little further and I turn the corner and face the hill. I had passed 11 miles at 1:46 flat. Now, Spirit Flower, do what you gotta do. So I did. Up I went. I was actually sweating. Passing an occasional walker or slow jogger. I keep focused. It is bad form, but I am only looking at the pavement a few feet in front of me. I am not thinking just running and breathing. It is no longer cold. I appreciate the race for making me push myself and over come my mentality.
A little farther. A volunteer encourages me saying there will be hot chocolate. I shout back, “Yuck!” and keep going. A little farther and I can hear BJ the DJ. A little farther and I can see the finish line. BJ announces my name. I am really running and gasping. I finish in 2:06:42. Yeah!

I got a hug from my idol. It was an awkward hug because: we’ve never done that before, why were we doing it now, but it seemed like a natural thing that we were drawn to do.

So that is that. I dreamed of more running and racing as I drove the long drive home. I can hardly wait to go for a run tomorrow. Next half marathon is next Sunday!

The hot shower felt sooooo good. Now, what should I eat?

1 comment:

Bob said...

Yes, it was unnerving to run down that long stretch of downhill at the start and think, "uh-oh, it's back up these hills to the finish line!" Still, it was a great course and event; that is the best t-shirt I have seen for a race. BTW, I read quite a few of your other blog entries and think that you are a very interesting soul. Here's to your journey.