Sunday, March 02, 2008

Super Duper Fly

or, the Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K race report.

I was late leaving the house (surprise) and had to book it to get to the race site on time. Doug had given me excellent directions and I got there with time to spare with extra clothes, my visor, a towel, my i-pod, my garmin and water.

Warm-up was two trips to my car from the porto-potty area where Nat's car was and a quick loop around the parking lot in which I had to slow Nat down with the "this is the warm-up" reminder. I met Dani, a blogger friend fo Nat's but never saw any of the BT crowd. Luckily I wore my blue running skirt because Nat had on her pink one. Can't be all matchy-matchy. I had eaten Joe's magic breakfast (steel cut oats with soymilk) for breakfast but the takeout chinese dinner from Friday was not helping me. Stood in the potty line 3 times.

We dashed from the potties and ran to the start line just before the start. It was not marked with a banner but we quickly figured out where the front was (they had a tape in front of them) and jumped into the crowd behind them. We fought the humanity to get back from the front. Nat stopped about 50 yards back from the start but I kept going back. I was worried about being caught in a flood of 6:30 pacers like Doug did last year. I got to a lady who said she planned a 9:46 pace and figured I was safe. Until the lady on the other side started talking about 10:00 pace. Oops.

Oh well, too late because we were off. I dashed in between the other racers and allowed several men to "break the trail" for me. It was hard to breathe from the start - I felt like I could only draw shallow breaths and my phlegm kept coming up. Doug and I later decided that this is because I ran most, if not all, of this run at or above my LT. Meaning, that I kicked ass.

Anyway, the clouds were parting and the sun was starting to come out and I got to mile one just as Garmin beeped and it showed a 7:09 first mile. All right! Not the 6:46 it felt like! Hmmm, could I hold this pace? I decided to give it a try, but I turned up the tunes to give myself a mental boost.

Mile two was equally fun. Nice rolling hills, beautiful homes to look at, nice volunteers and police to wave at. 7:18. I was trying to catch up with Nat, but I didn't have her in sight.

Mile three started to get hard. I found Nat and realized that either (1) I was running over my head or (2) her legs were killing her. I tried to shorten the distance between us because it was HUGE but it was slow going. This mile was 7:10! I gave myself some raise-the-roof for keeping such a constant pace. Only 3 miles to go.

Doug had told me the mile 3 into mile 4 was the big hill. It didn't feel horrible, except that I was gasping for air. The sun started to get in my eyes and I wished aloud that I had brought my visor. No one around me responded. Tough crowd. I had some water and was gaining on Nat more steadily now. I argued with myself over whether I should stay behind her, pass or run together. Would staying behind be cheating since she was pacing? Would passing make her mad because her legs hurt or would we run slower if together? Turns out, all of the conflict was for naught; I couldn't hold the pace anyway. I caught up to Nat, said hello, told her I was sucking it (which I was), heard that her legs were locked up and then fell back again. Mile 4 - 7:04.

Doug said after mile 4 was all downhill except a small rise at the very end. Whee!! I figured I could hold the pace if going downhill but it was very hard. I spent a lot of time with my eyes closed. Pigtail girl in the black hot pants left me in the dust. Turn, turn, turn, I chanted to myself (not like the hippie song, more like a drill sergeant). My running book advises quick turnover with small steps on the downhills so I tried to do it. I got a horrible side stitch. I tried rotating from side to side, breathing on the other foot, lifting my arm in the air - nothing worked. Some kid passed me like I was standing still. He made it look easy. Later determined that he was 11. Mile 5 - 7:00; Mile 6 - 7:17. Ow, this was getting hard. A big guy in a red shirt ran next to me for a while. Then, he hung right on my left elbow. I couldn't shake him off! I don't like people to run that close to me. We came down a long curving hill and turned up into a parking lot. The announcer cheered for me, which made me laugh. He joked about my big smile. I knew I was running fast, so I was thrilled. Then, I turned the corner and could see the clock. 44:13. Holy cow!

Could I do it? I put on every bit of speed I had and sprinted to the finish. Small steps gone, I dashed like my life depended on it. Whoosh! I got under the clock at 44:45:90.

I walked for about a minute to outrun the stars that were crowding my eyes, found Nat, stopped my Garmin and we grabbed water and headed for the buses. We turned in our bibs but realized that we were supposed to keep the numbers. Ooops. The chips were in a pocket behind the numbers like a Fedex or UPS envelope. Do over. The guy collecting numbers dropped them all on the ground for us to paw through. Got our numbers and hit the bus. Nat and I got our shirts, the nice race volunteers helped me get Doug's shirt and we decided that since there was no possible way for us to place, we left.

I was thrilled. My stated goal was under 48 minutes. All racers have a super-secret goal, though - one that is probably outside of the realm of possibility but which we'd really love to hit. 45 was my super-secret goal. I had not even told Doug about it - only Nat, in a fit of trail running weakness. Nat was not so happy because she thought she could have gone faster but her calves rebelled. We calculated that her optimum pace was actually 8 seconds per mile faster than she went (HA!) but she will get it next time when her legs are healthy.

Great race! Will definitely do it next year!


Nat: 44:33:05 for a 7:11 pace, #262 overall, 36th woman, and 1st in the 35-39 age group
Me: 44:45:90 for a 7:13 pace, #266 overall, 37th woman, and 2nd in the 35-39 age group

WHOO! I've emailed the CRR club and said that I would meet them at a time and location of their choosing to pick up our hardware. : )

And, Doug ran 17 yesterday and I FINALLY took down the Christmas decorations. Neighbors, you can thank me now.


Dani said...

GREAT job! You guys did awesome! Guess the Chinease was a good pre-race dinner after all!

Nat said...

You are awesome. I knew I was having a crappy race and it wouldn't have bothered me if you left me in the dust. Heck,I wanted you to pass me! I needed a good kick in the rear to get over myself. next time, let's please not start so far back. THe guy next to me said he was going for 7:50 miles. But everone else was even slower. If you just stay to the side, around here you are fine starting a few feet back.

And for the future: don't let me get in the way of you having your race. It won't make me mad! I'd rather be beat by you than someone else I don't know and adore.

My best friend as a kid and I were very competive on the swim team and very well matched atheletically. She kicked my butt at breast stroke and back stroke but I reigned supreme as butterfly queen and at the freestyle and we never ever let it get in the way of a good time. We all have our talents. Great work! Now, please, get it together so you can run a marathon and so we can have a little Boston tea party. :)

Dorothy Gould said...

Steph, Awesome race! I am so glad you met your super secret goal:)

Wes said...

Killa! Congrats on running a great race. You have joined the ranks of the super speedy now fo sho!!

Sarah said...

Awesome job!! I'm so stoked to know someone who wins hardware :) Rock on man, seriously.

Charlie said...

Awesome race for you Ms Stephanie! A nice PR and Hardware! How cool is that? Congratulations! time don't start so far two are good enough runners to be right there up front!

I agree...get that training in gear for a marathon...Boston tea party sounds nice!