Saturday morning came really fast. It was chilly and cloudy and threatened rain. I woke up in an extremely abnormal state of 5:45 AM chattiness. I woke up, showered and immediately began telling Jen about the crazy dream I had that night. Jen is not a morning person either and when she wakes up on race day; it is typically in your best interest to NOT talk to her until post-race. I was risking my life, but she was gracious enough to realize that I was not normal either. While she has pre-race jitters one way, mine shows up in extreme warp speed chattiness about everything other than what I am about to do. Thank you Jen for being so gracious, I love you all the more for it!
Despite that bit of oddity, the rest of the day went well. Since this is my 3rd race with this group, no one really asked me how I felt about what I was about to do. They knew my answer.
I AM FINE!
And I was more than fine talking about everything other than the fact that it was cold outside and how cold the water may or may not be (73 degrees) and most definitely not talking about the run.
But in the end…I did it folks! I swam my 500 meters in 18 minutes and 17 seconds. I was hoping to do it in 20 minutes or less. I was last in the water (again) and got escorted in (again), this time by two of the lifeguards! However, I am pleased to say I swam the whole way and did not ever use the lifeguards to rest!
I came out of the water much differently than in last year’s event at this same location. Last year, my friend Todd had to drag me up the hill or I never would have made it to the transition area. This year however, I came out and ran up the hill, as Coach tossed me my towel. (good man, Coach!) I was so excited to be running up the hill on my own power and not being pushed or pulled up it, I started laughing/talking about how much easier this hill is this year than last. To which I got this reply from Coach as he ran along the side of the marked area.
LESS TALKING…MORE RUNNING!!!!!
Fine. I got to the transition area and handed off my electronic chip to Ingrid, who took off on the bike. I caught my breath, wrapped myself in my towel, and headed out of transition with my bag to go greet my friends, to dry off and to change into my running clothes. And to pee. Again (Note to all you who wish to start racing…the bladder goes on overdrive on race day!)
About 55 minutes later, I was cheering my former teammate (from Bostwick Lake), Marissa, along with her mom in, when suddenly I am being shouted at that Ingrid is back! CRAP! I am not even in the transition area! So I ran in, threw my bag down, grabbed my chip and took off.
Now, I must remind you that Coach planned on running in this all female event with me and he did. He showed up in decked out in his running gear, ready to run. Truth be told, he looked like the runner, where as I, just looked like a girl in cotton Capri pants and a tank top. Next year, I will have the cool gear, except I don’t think I will be wearing spandex pants quite yet!
I ran down the hill, and realized CRAP! I have to pee! But then thought, NO time girlie, you are in a race! So I continued down the hill and then back up and then I thought…
WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING??!?!?!?!
I am about 1 minute into my run, all pumped on adrenaline, trying to make it up a hill hoping 2 things.
- That Coach will be on the other side of that hill, waiting for me, ready to run, and to help me through this
- That Coach would somehow forget his word and NOT be there, so that I might have a chance at walking for a breather at some point.
Coach was there. Clapping and cheering. Ready to run.
New thought. Why does he have to be a man of his word ALL the time?
So off we went. Him doing what I call a simulated run. Me running. Gasping. Attempting to talk in 2 word bursts. Wondering what in the world I was doing this for. Hearing Jen in my head reminding me why.
A little less dying and a little more living, Kim!
Oh yes, this tortuous thing that causes your legs and lungs to burn and your heart to pump at a ridiculous rate is bringing about more life! I can be on board with that!
Part of the run was on trails, which I run on at home, and like. Part was on cement which would be my next preferred way to run, and an obnoxiously long portion of it is on a mowed field (due to mud on the trails) which I hated! It sucks running on grass. It is as if the grass is a vortex that tried to suck all life from my legs.
Before we were even at mile 1, I knew that my bladder was not going to last 3 miles. I began watching the bushes for a good place to pee, as 100’s of racers run by and Coach would be waiting for me. Oh the awkwardness. I saw a building up ahead and it was almost like seeing a mirage. Could it be a bathroom? I asked Coach. Well, nice guy that he is, ran ahead to check it out and confirmed that this was no mirage. My bladder found relief without the prying eyes of 200 women (plus Coach) running past.
As I approached the first water station, a nice young boy called out asking if I wanted water. OF COURSE I DO! What a silly question! So I grab the cup, drink it as I am running then realize there is no trash can. What do I do with the cup? So I turned around and went back to the table and tried to hand it back to them or ask them what I do with it. They looked at me very strangely and told me to throw it on the ground!
WHAT?? You want me to litter?
Well, by then I was near a trash bag so I through it at least NEAR the trash bag…and continued running. Coach then enlightened me to the art of race running. You grab it, drink it, crumple it, and toss it. They have volunteers to clean up after me. That is so nice!
Throughout the race, there were several times I wanted to walk, mostly when on the grassy field. There were also times that curse words were driven from my mouth as I realized I had a hill to climb and I refused to walk it. In fact I was pretty determined I was not walking any part of this course, despite my desires. In the end, I ran up the final hill. Coach shouted for me to sprint it out, to finish strong as I approached the finish shoot and he veered off and ran along side it. Somewhere deep inside me there was a hidden burst of energy that burst out of me when I saw Coach and Aaron running alongside the shoot, cheering, and Ingrid running and snapping pictures. I picked up speed and ran as fast as I could across the finish line where I was handed a lovely flower and accosted to get my electronic chip back. They are like Nazi’s about getting those chips back!
It was a lovely race. I ran 3.1 miles in 55 minutes. Only 5 minutes slower than what I did on a 3 mile course that was all flat and 5 minutes faster than I anticipated.
I am proud of myself. I have done more things physically this year than I have ever thought I could do. I am discovering a little athlete in me that wants to do more of these. There is some sort of something that fills your head/body when you cross that finish line that makes you forget that the last 3 miles hurt, and makes you want to do it all again, plus some. It is the strangest thing!
So, I will be in GR again next weekend. I think I am going to go do that Fri Night Tri again! Woot!
Oh and I will have pictures up in a few days!