I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘race report’

The Happiest Place on Earth: Race Report

Yesterday rocked.

I was accompanied by Mom and Dad. Mom was racing too and cussing me the whole way to the start line. “Why am I up? It’s cold. I should be sleeping. This is crazy.” It was actually a bit colder than I was expecting, but it was supposed to be ideal by the time the race started. We got our packets, used the lovely portable toilets, I ate my pre-race navel and lined up at the starting line.

My playlist was set. 31:30. Too ambitious? Maybe. I was just feeling so optimistic! Garmin was on, but I didn’t want to stress myself out by staring at my watch, so I told myself I would turn it on but I would not look at it during the race. I wanted to see where my training had put me in my natural state – pushing, yes, but not killing myself. The hype man started the countdown from 10, and then the horn sounded. Tears came to my eyes once more. What is more beautiful than a chance to start again? I swallowed and made my way to the timing mat.

Two songs into my playlist, I saw the 1st mile marker. My body was feeling good. I pointed to the sky and asked for help for the next 2.1. I made another turn on this familiar Orlando course and saw a sign on a church. “Jesus Loves You,” it read in neon lights. I smiled as I continued running past the first water stop. I hadn’t been drinking water during any of my training runs and didn’t want to lose any momentum. Three more songs pass, as does the 2nd mile marker. I had done an amazing job on my playlist – the words and beat were helping me push forward. I saw a lady from Venezuela whose shirt read “God is with you” on its back – incidentally, near another water stop. Living Water, heh. “Gracias por tu camisa!” I yelled, thanking her for her shirt.

Two songs to go. Two turns to go. I am doing it. I was so happy to be running and feeling strong. One song to go. One turn to go. Final turn made. Finish line in sight. Aaaaand the first song comes on again. Blast you, point 1. I chuckled and found another gear as I crossed the finish line.

Mom had told me to come back for her, which I did, after I brought a snack to Dad, of course. I caught her on the home stretch. “Ready to run to the finish?!” “I will – at the stop sign.” That’s my Mom, ever the rebel. Gonna hit the gas at the stop sign. We went for it as I ducked to the left of the timing mats. I met with her on the other side of the chute. “Where are the race results?” said the woman who had been complaining to me all morning.

I had shaved 00:02:10 off my 5k time from November and Mom was a minute faster than a month ago! I was most pleased because my pace had been incredibly steady – each of my miles was within 20 seconds of the other. Boom. Mom commented that I looked like I just had had a facial. Nope. This is the glow that can only come from the happiest place on earth. A place of sweat, faith, strength, and growth. I want to stay here as long as I can. ❤️

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The Race That Almost Wasn’t: Race Report 

1:30 AM: 

Awakened by heavy rain. 

3:30 AM: 

Awakened by bladder, observes continuing heavy rain. 

5:30 AM: 

Awakened by Mommy. 

As we sit in the living room, we realize we have to make a game time decision. 

Reasons to Run: 

  1. We’ve driven 150 miles to be here. 
  2. We paid for our registrations. 
  3. We’re awake already. 
  4. It’s just a 5k – not that long in the weather. 

Reasons not to Run: 

  1. We could go back to sleep. 
  2. “I feel congested from my swim yesterday!” – Me 
  3. “I don’t want to get my shoes wet.” Mom

We decided to get dressed and see what conditions were like and make the call at the park. I suppose we saw all the people getting wet and didn’t want to punk out at that point. As Dad dropped us close to the starting line, Mom said she wanted the umbrella, and it turned out she wasn’t joking. She walked to the start with umbrella in tow. I stood next to her anyway. 🙂 

When the race started, I bid her farewell. My goal was to run between a 10 and 11 minute mile. Honestly, it felt like a lot of work, but as I checked my HR it turned out that my mind was weaker than my body. As I ran, I noticed my sinuses cleared. Each mile was slightly faster than the previous! 

Later, I learned that both Mom and I got 3rd place in our age groups. Maybe the really fast people stayed out of the rain? No matter to me! I am thankful that I showed up. I am not sure if I will be able to finish in less than 30 minutes in a week and a half (it took me 33 and change) but I’m going to give it a go! 

  

Human: Race Report 

This is the one race I would feel incomplete without running each year. Of course, that means it is also the one with the most logistical trouble, which is especially ironic because it’s only 30 miles or so away from our house. Each year, I hope we will make it to the race site with plenty of time to warm up and breathe before the race start. Maybe next year… 

I wrote two days ago that I was feeling quite nervous about this race. My knee was hurting, though it usually doesn’t. I feared I wouldn’t be able to keep a steady pace. My jitters were evident to all as we (parents, Adonis, and Lil One) drove to the race site. 2 minutes after we left the house, Lil One realized she forgot her race bib so we had to go back, and it was the closest I’ve been thus far to saying a cross word to her. I was thankful that Mom thanked her for remembering when we weren’t far from the house because I was too caught up in my own emotions to respond properly. 

We made it in just enough time to park, walk, and find a place for Daddy to sit and cheer. This year was going to be very different than last – I was tapering for my half-ironman vs this being my longest race so far this year. I had committed to allowing myself to walk, as that is how I’ve been doing my long runs (with intervals), but I didn’t really want to. I set my watch to do 4/2 and the goal was to finish in 1:16 or less – 12 minute miles. I was prepared with my 76 minute long playlist. 

The horn sounded. As I crossed the timing mat, I started my watch and my music. “American Woman” was how I decided to start my race. Almost immediately, I felt the incomparable runner’s high that I crave, which, of course, concerned me. “Gah! How fast am I going? I don’t want to burn out before mile 1!” I checked my watch and it turned out my pace was a cool 11:30. Sweet. I smiled as we turned right and I started to make my way through the pack. I am not exactly sure why, but I love turning. I think it is because it is a very tangible reminder that the finish is that much closer. 

I started to think about what I was doing. Tee hee, know what I mean? Of course, as I was running I was thinking about what I was doing, in terms of monitoring my heart rate, pace, and breathing. Then I started to think about what I was doing. What an incredible blessing it is to be able to run. I felt very connected to the hundreds of strangers around me, striving for whatever was most important to them that day. I prayed for them. I prayed for my family as they ran. I felt a tap on my hand. Lil One and her handsome father had caught up to me. I grinned as we ran together for about a quarter mile. I must be honest – I would have been bitter if they had kept up for too long – I’ve been training and they have not, hah! I resisted the temptation to run faster. They slowed for a walk break, and I smiled again. 

Though my watch had been going off to remind me to walk, I chose not to. I felt surprisingly okay maintaining a 12 minute pace and decided to go with it. I only walked when I stopped for water. I noticed a woman beside me soon after mile 1 and it seemed we were going the same pace. I wondered if she would be my buddy. As I came to the second water stop, I was walking a bit when she said, “Let’s go! We’re running together!” Buddy = confirmed. We ran together without saying anything else, but I was thankful for her presence. I’d always heard of God sending people into our lives for reasons, seasons, and lifetimes, and I am now convinced sometimes He sends us people for an hour and change. 

I reflected upon my desire to progress. Running is a way for me to set goals and meet them and feel great. I thought it strange that I could be happy with setting a goal that was 10 minutes slower than I was able to do a year ago. I suppose that depending on where we are in our lives, success can take on different definitions. As tempting as it is to think of that as a copout, it really is not. I am very slowly coming to terms with the fact that life does not progress in a linear manner, as much as I would like it to do so. 

All this thinking got me to mile 5. It was here where my self-talk started to drift from holy to heathen. I’ve noticed the direct correlation between my HR being above 180 and my use of expletives. I knew I could not slow down if I wanted to meet my goal; plus, I had my Buddy! I lingered on the thought of my Aunt, who not only would be appalled by my language but who persevered until God finally called her to stop fighting against ovarian cancer. I had to keep going.

We were on the last straightaway and could see the final turn toward the finish. Then these VOLUNTEERS (I am writing volunteers but I was definitely thinking less kind words at the time) tell us to run a bit past the last turn and make a circle around a cone before turning. That bloody .2, man. Thanks for bringing me that much closer to vomiting, USATF. I heard Adonis and Lil One cheering for me as Buddy and I crossed the finish line together. We exchanged a high five as Lil One ran to give me a hug and Mom took a picture. 

  
I really like this picture. It’s not particularly flattering. I think I look as exhausted as I felt. My fantastic stepdaughter-to-be was supporting me. It’s a picture of how human I am. I cannot be close to God unless I am dealing with my humanity – my brokenness as a runner, daughter, and future wife and mother. It is only in Him that I am strong and have the hope of being stronger. 

1:13:36. Praise God. I would like to come back next year and do it in under an hour. Here’s to not busting my face or losing track of what is most important in the process. 

  

Jackass! Race Report 

“Yeah, let’s do another trail run!” 

Oooooookay…

Not to throw my dear fiancé under the bus, but let’s just say he enjoys racing more than he does training. In the four weeks between our trail runs, he ran exactly 0 times. Moreover, he tells me that he doesn’t want to wear himself out for a family party we intended to attend later. Thusly, I ask, “would you like to do the same 4/2 strategy we did at our last race?” 

“Yeah, yeah, definitely. Let’s stick with that and we’ll be good.” 

We started toward the back and off we went. My watch buzzes after four minutes. “Time to walk!” I shout at him, since he’s ahead of me. “Nah, let’s keep going,” he says. ‘This is an interesting turn of events,’ I thought to myself. I had been planning on some chill bonding/running time and now here I am, in the middle of a race. At a race. I’ll be damned.

This trail was less woodsy and more sandsy. Less tree cover and I did not think it was as pretty as our last, but it was still very pleasant. The path this time was larger, but the sand was occasionally soft and made it harder to run than on the road I know and love. 

Mile 1 passes and he decides a walk break is appropriate. We walk/run as he sees fit for the next mile and a half, and on our last walk break I say, “Okay, less than a half mile to go! Let’s run to the finish. Go ahead of me.” Next thing I know, fiancé is blazing past me. I know he’s a man and I know he since he’s my man he damn well better be stronger and faster than I am but it’s just not fair. I’ve been practicing! He finished 30 seconds faster than I did and there he was, sipping some coconut water as I’m hauling to catch up to him. “Hey! So I pretended I was in trouble and running from the cops,” he tells me. I accompany him as he struts around the park asking for a photo shoot. “I’m gonna do even better next time! I’m actually going to train! When is our next one?”  

 

Guess I gotta step up my game! I SUPPOSE if I’m being honest I wouldn’t be motivated to get my next 5k under 30 minutes if he hadn’t shaved 9 minutes off of his 5k time in a month like it was nothing. We are going on the road for our next, and Mommy is coming too! I’m looking forward to working hard and a whole heap of trash talk.
  

I’m making everyone do this next year! Race Report

It’s not too often that I sign up for a race days before it is to take place, but like I said, I’m hungry for stickers. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a medal and a t-shirt. Let’s see how I run a 5k these days all by myself – no offense, Adonis. I love having you by my side but centering myself and focusing on my race – it’s pretty special. Plus, you can sleep in. 

I am not an amusement park person, so this was my first time at Legoland. Like Disney, we simply run through the park, but there is no free admission afterward. Whatevs. I think this park is for kids anyway. Oh wait,  I’m just a kid with a job. My strategy was to keep each mile at 10 something – definitely pushing for me but not too much, especially since I still was dealing with a cold that I couldn’t shake. Incidentally, I saw my doctor at the starting line. Who knew doctors actually do things they recommend? I might go back to her. 

I started toward the back with the thought of moving up as the race went along. I checked my watched frequently to make sure I was maintaining my desired pace. I coughed. I hacked up a partial lung. Doc was nowhere in sight. I pressed on. 

Aside from the coughing, I felt pretty strong. The former Cypress Gardens is beautiful. I saw the Water Park and made plans to frolic there later. I thanked God at each mile marker and grinned as I made the final turn. Evidently, the finish was just outside the park entrance, but the only reason I knew that was because that was where the medal holders were. No finish line sign?! I felt gypped, but otherwise I really loved this race and can’t wait to do it again with my family next year, especially since I think that’s the only way I can get them to come to the park. Great weather, well-organized. 18 out of 73 in my AG! I may be coughing but that’s better than sucking! Whee! 

  

He made me get dirty: Race Report

Just like a man. 

“The road is boring! I won’t like it!”

“Well, what about running through a park? Like on a trail?” 

“Yeah! Sign me up for that!” 

And just like that, Lady J signs up for her first trail run. I had never been SUPER against trail running. I just know the road and saw no pressing need or desire to venture onto the trail. Then there was Adonis, and clearly we’ve seen how he has ways of making me do a 180. He’s happy to be with some trees, I’m happy to be running with him, everybody wins. How bad could it be? So we find a 5k – his first, my first trail run of any kind. 

I liked it. I know that seemed like a segue into a disastrous story, but it wasn’t. Made ya look. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from dirt. I got some dirt. I got some grass. I got a…hill at the very beginning of the race? Like a big ass one. Trail race organizers are jerks. Anyhow, the plan was to stay together and do 4/2 intervals to be very safe, since I wasn’t feeling too hot. The horn sounded and we are a-running. The space in the beginning was very open, and then we went into the woods where we had to run almost single file. 

I’m not gonna lie. It was very pretty! The weather was cool enough for a jacket. We passed a river. I jumped over some roots. We followed the flags that kept us from getting lost. It reminded me of running in elementary school through this trail that was behind campus! 

Indeed, it didn’t feel like quite the pounding road running is, as trail runners love to boast. The vibe was much more chill, which my not so inner-introvert appreciated. I know I will be back on the road, but I am definitely willing to get dirty again. I don’t think I would enjoy any distance longer than a 10k; I like seeing the road in front of me for longer distances. It helps with the epicness in my twisted brain. But I finished second in my age group! That fiancé, always getting me to do new things and rock at them. I’ll keep him. 

  

The Big Picture: Race Report, Part II

You should know before continuing that I’m getting married. All right, back to racing. 

I wrote in my previous post that I was quite miserable as I was racing. Along the course, I was whining to the man who had not been my fiancé for 24 hours yet about how I wanted it to be over. He was being sickeningly positive. “I think we’re doing really well!” “We’re getting closer with every step!” You know. Annoying crap like that. I was completely absorbed in my own self-pity as I lambasted myself for not being stronger and faster.

Somewhere along the way – like, damn near the end, I remembered that I wasn’t alone. Seriously, guys. I’m…not…alone. I was overcome with guilt for not being more encouraging to the man who says he wants to grow with me and spend the rest of his life with me. It was his first race! I thought about how I would feel if I were running my first race and someone were alongside me, complaining about how much better he should be doing as I was working my hardest. I would be so sad if someone were to have flooded a day still so special to me with negative energy. 

Whoops. 

As soon as I realized what I was doing, I apologized. In apologizing, I not only corrected my attitude toward the day but also was able to see how much I accomplished by crossing the finish line. He, of course, graciously forgave me. That’s what good-looking fiancés do, I suppose. He actually wants to race with me again! 

There’s probably a life lesson somewhere in here aside from “sign up for more races.” I’ll keep you posted. Heh. See what I did there? 



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