My long awaited race report! I know ya'll have been on the edge of your seats for this.
(I guess that'll do for a sarcasm emoticon.)
The weather through the mountain pass the evening before was said to be pretty terrible (possible snow, like I even know what THAT is!), so I decided it was safer to just leave super early the morning of the race for the two hour drive to Del Mar. I did everything pretty incorrectly the night before- went to bed about 2 1/2 hours later than I wanted to. Ate a really crappy dinner of fast food. Packed everything I was taking into about a half a dozen plastic bags. Yeah, not exactly off to the best start. And to top it off, I woke up at 1:30am and that was it. No more sleep for me. So, I got about 3 hours total that night. DANGIT! The same thing happened last time, too. But, at least I was only 30 minutes from the race then.
Anyway, 4:00am rolls around and I drag my carcass into the shower to wake up more and the car is packed to go at 4:45am. I have my mom in tow for the trip. The drive through the mountains was still a bit iffy- I ran into fog, heavy winds, and a bit of misty rain. In the dark. But, as long as I got to the race track on time, I didn't much care. And I did.
I got my race packet and got into my costume. See, the race was holiday themed this year, so they encouraged you to dress up. I did see quite a few costumes or holiday elements to running gear, but nothing as elaborate as mine. I guess a Bachelor's degree in theatre will make you go above and beyond when given the chance to dress up! I secured my race bib to my shirt and headed to meet up with the rest of the San Diego Spark ladies that were there. It was really super wonderful to see them. I really, REALLY miss them. Like, a lot. A LOT. They are the most wonderful, encouraging, fun bunch of women I have the great fortune and blessing to know. And I really mean that from the bottom of my heart (that includes you, Malia, even though I didn't get to see you before/after!) I got see Jocelyn (WOLFKITTY), Lesa (ABB698), Heather (NEWSGIRL2177), Linda (SMILEY1LK), Bonnie (ADVENTURE-GIRL), and Lena (BEFIT_WITHGUSTO). Missing was Leah, Betty, and a few new faces. Bummed about that, but it was still a fun day and I feel blessed that I got to see the ladies that were there.
The 10k started at 7:30am, so those racers were off. While we waited for the 5k start time (8:00am), we took some group photos and wandered around the expo for a little bit. They always have some neat vendors handing out samples of this and that. It's a nice distraction. They lined us up pretty early for the 5k, so we got into the start shoot. I had puffed on my asthma inhalers and felt pretty good. I wasn't tired. I was good. I hadn't been able to work up my stamina and endurance from when I was sick, so I knew I'd be walking this race. Lena and Linda and I all walked together. It was nice to have some buddies for the race.
We started off a little rocky. I don't think we actually crossed the timing mat until 1:10 into the race. And then we were bottlenecked around a bend that slowed us all WAY down. It was a little frustrating and something I sorta remember happening during the last race (although that one was WAY worse). Once we passed through the bottleneck, we were able to set a better pace for ourselves (approx. 16-ish min. mile). And we were super happy to see Malia (SDLOV3R) as she was passing us in the opposite direction (she was doing the 10k) so we were able to cheer each other on!
For the remainder of the race, I sorta made it a game for us to choose the next "victims" in front of us that we were going to pass and how to strategically move in front of them without breaking our stride or being rude. Hey, a little healthy competition is a good motivator! Plus, I wanted to beat my time from last year, so I was determined to get ahead and stay at a fast walking pace! So, we'd eye the people we were going to take down and whoosh, swoop, whoopwhoopwhoopwhoop, we'd be in front of them lickety-split.
Then we got to the hill. It's not a very steep hill, but it is a long hill. Lena and I eyeballed that thing and I was like, "Let's make this hill our b*tch!" We conquered that hill like champs, passing people on the way up, cheering those on the way back down, and just enjoying the rest of the way. This year they had us do a quick lap around the race track. I should have whinnied like a horse, 'cuz that's what I felt like. It was the uglier dirt track, so I think I made a crack about it being for the "whimpy races" or something to that effect. The track was also the point at which we knew it was only a little while left to go. At this point my asthma started to flare a little (probably from the dust of the track), but once I got back on pavement, I was mostly okay. I told myself I was so that my body would follow suit, whether it was true or not. Fake it 'til you make it. (Probably not a good strategy with asthma.)
And when the finish was almost, but not quite, in sight, we all decided to run in the last bit. It was probably only about a 1/4 mile or so, but heck yes we jog/ran it in! And we needed to look like champion Iron Girls, too, so Lena and I made sure we looked it when we ran in! We ran in together like a team, too. It was fabulous!
Not sure which of these I like best. Thoughts? What do you think?
After we passed the mats, we got our chips removed and our shiny finisher's medals. I wanted water, so I went on a hunt for a beverage. I found my mom in the stands and we met up with the ladies at the tables they set out for us. Which had water on them. So, we spent the remainder of the morning enjoying the after-race. We had a snack box full of yummy goodies (this time no 440 cal per serving muffins, woo!) They race organizers had sugar cookies and frosting to decorate with, which was cool. And slowly the numbers started to trickle in. Heather's super cool husband had the app and was able to tell us our times.
I beat my previous 5k time by 5 minutes!!! I was stoked! That was my goal and I did it!!! (That tiny thing says 49:55)
Then, it was time for the presentations of medals/awards/whatevs. They started with the costume contest. I guess most people didn't bother to stick around and enjoy the festivities, which is really a shame because hanging out with the other racers is the best part! So, only 6 (or 3, if you wanna look at it that way) went up to the stage to "officially" enter the contest. I did, of course. No way I'd pass up a chance to show off my hard work. Besides, I HAND-SEWED my tail! The elf ladies all joined as a group (which is why I say 3 entered). And then "penguin winter" was a competitor. And, I got the most cheers, so I won the contest! YAY!
I won a Polar Heart Rate monitor! WOO! I've been looking into heart rate monitors for a long time. But, being unemployed, couldn't afford a good one. So, this was really cool! Even if it is pink. I was so stoked! I also got a Polar water bottle and t-shirt in a backpack. TOO COOL!
We took a few more group and individual pics in front of the backdrop before it was time to call it a day. I hugged my Spark Friends tight.
After we left, I got to spend the rest of my day with my brother and mom. Luckily it was a Sunday, so all he was doing was homework and gearing up for his finals. We went to lunch at Wings 'N' Things and I made a good attempt to health it up- I only ate half my entree and ordered a green salad to go with the meal. Yum! Then, we went to a local shopping area and picked up a few things for the ol' broski, grabbed some coffee at Starbucks, and a smoothie at Jamba Juice for me, then it was time to head home. It was almost 4 or 5 o'clock and that 3 hours of sleep and a 49 minute race started to catch up to me. Mom and I headed back towards home. I almost made it all the way, too, but about 30 minutes out I couldn't stand the pain in my back and my eyes could barely stay open, so mom took over the remainder of the drive home.
And of course when I got home I couldn't sleep. Agh!
Depression-wise, this was a good day. I felt the most normal I have in a long time. It wasn't weird interacting with people, I felt genuinely happy so I didn't have to pretend, and I felt like I was being blessed all day long. It felt really good to feel like myself again, even if it was just for the day. It made me feel like not everything is hopeless and that maybe there's a chance I won't feel like this forever.
Also, speaking of finals, I got my grades in already:
I'm pretty sure that A in chemistry is out of pity (in fact, I'm sure all our good grades were!) because according to my calculations, I "earned" only about a C or MAYBE barely a B. I will say I did get an A for effort, though. I don't think I've ever worked so hard in a class before.
Special thanks to Jocelyn for some of the photos!