Monday, June 06, 2011
Whew! It's been a busy few days! I actually wrote this blog (or something close to it) last night and when I went to post it....POOF!....it was gone! Since it is rather long, and I was exhausted, I decided to put it off until tonight. If you plan on reading further, you might want to go get a glass of water or something to tide you over.
This past weekend was a whirlwind and in the midst of everything else scheduled, I had my second race of the season. It was the Run for the Roses, in Roselle, IL. It was a 5K, which should not have been any worry since it was described as a flat and fast course. Just the ideal circumstances, I thought, to finally achieve a sub 30 min. 5K in a race. I seem to be able to accomplish that in training ... though not all the time, but in races, I just haven't gotten there yet. Still, for some reason, I was feeling more stressed about this race than I have for most of the races I've run. Last year I ran with some friends on this same weekend at the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals, but my sister does Emergency Management Patrol for the Run for the Roses and really wanted me to run this one this year, so on Saturday, I got up even earlier than if I had run and volunteered at the Zoo run that my friends were in. Kudos to all of you who do volunteer at races. It takes a lot of volunteers to really put on a good race and to make sure that we all have safe and fun experiences....and the volunteers are there at least an hour prior to registrations opening and usually there until well after the last runner crosses the line. Volunteering Saturday really made me appreciate all that the volunteers do to make our experiences at races good ones. I certainly made sure that when I went to my race on Sunday that I acknowledged and thanked all of the volunteers that I came in contact with.
Saturday was brutally hot here in Chicagoland...as you may have heard. By the time that the race I volunteered at concluded, temps were already over 85 degrees. Sunday was supposed to be cooler, but that didn't seem to calm my nerves about the race. I stayed very busy all day Saturday. It was a welcome distraction. I attended a friends wedding and her reception, being careful about my food choices, opting for the mostaccolli and skipping the fried chicken and the wedding cake. I got home Saturday evening and set out all my race gear and map and changes of clothes since I planned to hang out in the area after the race.
Sunday morning I woke up with no problem, and on just less than 6 hours sleep. Must have been the nervous energy. I ate breakfast - oatmeal w/ peanut flour and raisins and cottage cheese/yogurt to top it. It sounds like a large breakfast, but it would be more than 3 hours before I would run, so I was safe. The drive to the race location was about 50 minutes. I got there with no problems and found a great parking place, checked in and picked up my race packet - nice T-shirt (albeit cotton), bib, and some decent sway - toothbrush, sunscreen, full size bottle of Curell w/aloe anti-microbial gel and some pain relief gel samples. Only two ads! WOOHOO!!! Not too bad! I took everything back to the car, pinned on my bib and did something I have never done before a race. Did a short warm up run....good thing too...I had planned on wearing my fuel belt with my phone for music and timing and a bottle of water just to get used to it. Not a good idea on a race day, as the temps were already rising and not being used to the extra weight and material would have really slowed me down. I got some good stretching in after my warm up and that seemed to release some of the tension that I was feeling. In fact, I was beginning to feel relaxed and pretty good about the race...still the temps were continuing to climb.
Around 15 minutes before the start of the race, we began to cue up. As the staging area got full, it really started getting uncomfortable. I was ready to go - anything to get some breeze. Just a minute or two before the gun, I felt them, one then two then three raindrops! Yeah, God!!! It wasn't much, but enough to take the edge off the heat. Then, the gun went off. I started off feeling great...maybe just a bit TOO great. Of course, I'm no speed demon, and people were passing me, but I felt okay, even running without my music. Around a quarter to a half mile though, the rain that was giving a little relief had completely stopped and the sun was out and the sky was blue and the temps were on the rise again - QUICKLY!!! I saw my little sis directing traffic and runners at the 2/3rds to 3/4 mile mark....she had never seen me run before, so, no time to slow up here! Next thing I knew, the one mile mark was on us and I was at an 8:45 mile. Oooops, WAY too fast. I've run that speed once or twice before, but not for long and certainly not in those conditions. If I could've held that pace, the sub 30 would be no problem, but I knew already that the fast start and the sun and heat were already taking their toll and I could feel myself starting to fade. There was just one water stop on the course at the 1.5 mile point. I usually don't stop at the water stations on a 5K, but I thought that even a sip or two of cool water might help me hang onto whatever I could to tackle the back end of the course. As I reach the station, I grabbed a cup and had to slow up and walk a few steps just to get in a couple of sips and then take off.....ugh....where was the cool water?!?! There was nothing either cool or refreshing about those couple of sips and they hit my stomach HARD!!! It took another quarter to half a mile for them to actually really make it down. Not comfortable running at all now! My second mile was a HUGE disappointment and by the time I saw the clock, I knew that there was no way that I was going to be able to reach my goal, but I wasn't just going to throw this race experience away. I gave everything I had to find my rhythm and push myself just a little harder and the third mile went a bit better, but I couldn't wait to see the finish on this one. I rounded the last corner and saw the parking lot, I pushed and pushed and then I saw the clock...with nearly a quarter mile to go I could see the time 29:01, 02, 03, 04, 05......I laid it all out - ran for all I was worth - stretched out my stride - pumped my arms and left it all out there! I think I must have had my eyes closed as I crossed the finish because I didn't even see the clock. I knew I hadn't made the sub 30, but I didn't let that defeat me. I knew I had run my best . Two steps later, I smelled the pizza that they were serving and I thought that the water from the course and whatever might have been left of my breakfast might not stay with me. I walked around and grabbed a COLD bottled water and within just a few minutes was feeling a little better. Not good enough for pizza - even Nancy's pizza, but good enough to enjoy the obligatory banana, and some bites of apple dippers (sans dip) that McD's donated. This was definitely the best race food I have come upon. Beside the afore mentioned banana's and apple dippers, there were apples and orange wedges and plenty of all of them....not a stale bagel in site, instead, boxes and boxes of Kashi TLC bars and Costco chocolate chunk cookies and finally - after another bottle of water - NANCY'S CHEESE PIZZA!!! WOOHOOO! (Those of you from around Chicagoland or who have visited will understand - as for the rest of you - well, I feel sorry for you!)
Eventually, they started posting the results...the first posting was only up to the 25 minute mark, so I wandered around and checked out some of the booths. Went to my car to get $ to purchase a singlet from this race and then by the time I came back, the next set of results was going up. I checked the listing and there I was - 31:01.4! Not where I had hoped, but better than it could have been and still a PR! I walked around and talked with some of the other runners and some of the folks manning the CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) booth and the booth with the information re: the rest of the days activities - the run was being held in conjunction with the town's annual festival - Rosefest and there would be a parade and carnival etc., so I figured I would need a map and schedule of events. I called my friend who was at her parents home the next town over and told them I was on my way over for a visit. They were thrilled...It was the traditional pool opening weekend and I used to never miss it....back in high school. See, that's where this race started and finished, at my old high school. For lots of reasons though, once I left for the Army a couple of months after graduation, I never went back. Painful memories, dysfunctional family, cruel kids in school and not alot of people that I really cared to see again...just never did go back. I went to my friends parents house and we did alot of catching up - ate some lunch, and then, I headed back into town. I visited my old grade school, the church my family attended, the parks, the library, the downtown, the pond we used to ice skate on, the spot where one of our old houses used to stand and the other townhouse we lived in when my mom was still alive, the funeral home and the whole four blocks of the downtown area. Precious little was anything close to the same. Seems alot can change in 35 years. But for all the "growth" this sleepy little town has gone through, it really hadn't grown up at all. But, I had....the Army played a big part in that, but, more recently, the major growing up that has happened in my life has been in great part due to what I have learned and accomplished through Spark. I was able to walk those many streets from one end of town to the other and back again and round and round after running a more than respectable race with my head held high - something that I could never have done 35 or maybe even 25 or 10 years ago. I am finally growing into a person that is physically, mentally and emotionally fit and finding a balance, and I am comfortable with who I am.....no matter where I am.
So, although I may not have accomplished everything I had set out to on this run....I think I accomplished something far greater. It's funny though. The same ghosts and demons that I ran from so many years ago were only conquered when I ran toward them.
Oh, and by the way, while we were eating lunch, my sis called to congratulate me on the "awesome" run. Well, not really awesome, but she had never seen me run before. She remarked how cool it was that I was not even a minute over my goal - what, huh?!?! Seems the times that I saw were clock times - not adjusted for the chips. My actual time 30:54.5. Ranked 462 out of 764 - 162 out of 375 women and 16 out of 38 in my age group. I'll take it!
Friday, June 03, 2011
Hitting the sack now. It's after 9PM and I have to be at the race site (to volunteer) at 6AM. Will be doing that till 10 or 11 AM, then home to change for a wedding at 1PM followed by a reception. Sunday AM I will drive an hour to be at MY race site by 7AM. After the race, I'll stick around for the parade at 12 noon, and then on the way home, swing by to visit briefly with the parents of one of my best friends from high school - I haven't seen them since........well, never mind that. Anyway, if I run my race as fast as I am running my life these days, I should finally achieve that sub 30 5K time I only manage to attain when training. Wish me luck.......same to all you racers!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
This morning was an early one....first the dogs wanted out extra early (like 3:15) and the alarm was already set for 3:30-4AM to get up and take advantage of special pricing for the RnRStl for National Running Day, since it was so early, and I was tired and moving slow, I took my time and got out the door around 4:30 for an early morning run and then got home and worked all day. It was a very hectic day at work and I was planning to get right to the fitness center for group strength which I normally love, but my hear just wasn't in it. Instead I got home and fixed dinner, ate way too much, never got in a second run and am trying to do some catching up, but I am pretty sure that my body is saying ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I think it is best I listen before all control goes flying out the window. Maybe a good nights sleep and a short run in the AM. Going to be working late and then trying to make it to the bike shop after work before they close. Wish me luck!!!!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Okay, this has to be quick...tomorrow is National Running Day, so if you have ever thought of running, whether it be 10 seconds, 10 minutes, or 10 miles (or more)....tomorrow, JUST DO IT!!!
What will I be doing to celebrate the day? Well, it's 9:30 now and I am getting to bed so that I can be up at 4AM to get registered for a half-marathon and enjoy a $13.00 discount off of my entry fee....(hey, it's only an hour earlier than normal, and I'll be saving over an hours pay, so.....to my sick mind, it's a no brainer). Then, I'm lacing up the shoes to get in a quick 3-5 miles before work....get off work and go to strength training class and come home and crash.
Thursday, I have an appt with the local bike shop. When I stopped by there today and told them about the previous owner giving me the bike she bought there and that I didn't know the first thing about bikes, they said to bring it in and they will fit me and explain how to operate it and tune it up (if needed) etc etc etc. , so I'll be loading the bike in the car (I think) on Thursday, and taking it over right after work. If that doesn't work, I'll try riding it there, but with the way it is set, it will be one uncomfortable ride.
Have a great National Running Day everyone....catch up with you all later!
Monday, May 30, 2011
What a treat. I had to work today, as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day are three of the busiest days in my line of work - and no, I don't sell fireworks! Home improvement stores are packed on those days and today - at least for a while - was no exception. Luckily, since the majority of the business was in Garden and I am in doors and windows (Millwork), I was able to cut out a couple hours early when the next person in my department arrived.
I managed to get home just about 2:15, changed into my swim suit and went out to the yard to help my sisters and get a little natural vitamin D. My bones feel better all ready....not to mention my mood....and I was in a pretty good mood to begin with. Now I am thouroughly wiped out and will sleep well and face the rest of a very busy week.....
Hope you all had a marvelous week-end!
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