Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Zen of the Half Mary

What is this crazy race? It is not a marathon. It is not a 10k. It was seemingly devised for people who cannot run marathons, but want to go farther than 10k. Is it serious? Who could brag about a mere 13.1 miles? The Half Mary can be the great deceiver. It is about to nail my ego.

I was up at 4:30 am. I drank coffee with extra instant coffee added; and a couple of pieces of bread. This noxious mixture is designed to encourage a bowel movement. Pretty soon, I am astounded at the quantity of stuff I am storing in my bowel. I do my spiritual work, pack my stuff and do a core workout (because the trainer gave me some new moves yesterday and I want to practice them). At 6:20, I start driving to the race.

It is to be a warm day: winds from the south at 10 mph, temps starting near 59F and to climb at least to 70 by the end of the race. I am at the start by 7 and get my number and t-shirt. There is an excellent bathroom with no one in it. I camp out there for a little while. The race is to start a 8. I hang out for awhile near the start. I say hi to Muffie who ran 50 miles two weeks ago when I ran 50k. It turns out it was her first 50 miler and she hadn’t really planned on it but switched races after she saw how easy the trail was.

The cannon goes off. The people doing the 10k are fast! I run the first 3 miles in 25+ minutes (too fast). As we pass the split, I slow down. And get to 4 miles in 35 minutes (more like it). I’m following a lady in a pink shirt. It turns out I followed her for a really long time. She made a good bunny because I had to work to keep up with her. I am running faster than the talk test; so I am pushing it. The turn-around is at 6.25 miles and I get there in 55 minutes (wow!).

Turning around, the wind is in our faces. I’m working to keep up with pink shirt and my legs feel like cement. I realize that my marathoner mind had thought that a half marathon would be a piece of cake. Now, I’m having to concentrate. I am having to be aware, no falling asleep. I get quiet inside and have a Zen moment: stop the mind and just run. I am actually racing. I am out for the coveted 50 year old female crown. Pink shirt bunny is possibly in my group.

At just before the 10 mile mark, pink shirt loses it. Shoot! The bunny died. I give her a hard time as I go past. Now I am the bunny and it pisses me off. When the trail turns a little, I look back. Dang it, she is not going to get me. I see no more mile markers for a looong time. I come to a hill and find myself cussing: this is a f**king long race. We know I am stressing out and pushing my limits when the cuss words start to flow freely. (Ego nailed! Good job!)

What’s that ahead? Another pink shirt (I’m so f**king glad I don’t own any pink shirts). This pink shirt is another age group possibility. We get to the 12 mile mark at 1:50. Let’s see, how fast can I run 1.1 miles? (Not very fast really, my ego is nailed) Now there are two pink shirters ahead of me. They start this walk and then sprint nonsense. I pass them on the walk. They pass me on the run. F**k them. Not too long and they give up. Ha… 3 pink shirts DOWN!!! (Truly not a Zen moment)

BJ the DJ, dressed in a cowboy outfit, takes my picture just before I make the turn into the chute.

I do my best and cross the finish line right at 2:02!!!

(Way better than I thought I could do).

Then, after a water and 25 minutes, I become what every race director dreads. I go out to the finish line, “Hey, Raul, can you print some more results?” He says yes and hands the clip board to the race director. She says she can’t stand there and I am handed the clip board. Shortly, Raul hands the race director another sheet of results. I stop her before she goes back inside and make her tell me how I did: first female 50-59 ag. Great! What do I get? I get to pick something off the first table.

Now things get really ugly (my ego is quickly un-nailed). Raul comes and gets the clip board. I go inside and start harassing the race director who is standing at the first table (I really want the bright orange reflective pull over), “Hey, I need to go, can I pick my prize?” RD, “No, you have to wait a few minutes until we announce names. We will do women first.” SF, “But, are you going to do the young women first? Don’t you think the OLD women should get to go first?” (The orange top gets put on a back chair…hehe).

Finally, pretty quick, the orange top makes it into my hands and I make a bee-line for the car.

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