Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ahhhhh....a nice, long weekend at last!

Well, I'm finally over my headcold. I'm a bit congested, but I was able to go running twice this week before my big race today. Yup, another race under the ol' belt, and I'm chuffed! :) It was the Roses to La Playa 5 Miler. This race starts from the top of town at the Santa Barbara Mission, down the main drag which is mostly downhill (the reason many of us signed up for it) and continues for 2.25 miles along the oceanfront bike path and finishes in front of a posh hotel. It's a one-way race with parking at the finishline in a very congested area of town. I mean, everyone wants to go to the beach. So, I get there waaayy too early because I did not want to end up paying for parking. Also, the shuttles to the startline started at 6.30am with the last one leaving at 7.30. I, along with a busload of happy, anxious runners, catch the first shuttle, laugh and chat along the way (which seemed to be a lot longer than 5 miles) and are deposited on the top of the fog-covered hill. OK, the race is called Roses to La Playa, but all the roses in front of the Mission have been pruned so it should be called "Dead-looking branches and Port-o-Johns" to La Playa Race. Anyway, not to be discouraged, many of us begin to warm up (did I mention that it's only 7am?? and it's cold?? and I'm in shorts and a, turns out, not very warm sweatshirt??). Oh, yeah, there was a lot of freaky people jogging all over the place...I mean racers, jogging, before the race, for, like, 20min, and they still have 5miles more to go...sheesh. I opt to walk briskly about trying to get warm. I sneak a peak into the church. My view of the lovely old vestibule marred by the priest pouring holy water into the baptismal out of those large sparklett's water bottles. Does that mean that there's a reservoir of holy water somewhere?

Anyway, 8 o'clock finally gets here. We're all pressed together at the starting line, hopping around and stretching, trying to stay warm (it's still cold and foggy), when some guy, who must've been in charge since he had a bullhorn, started describing the race course. The bunch I was hanging out with didn't pay too much attention as our race strategy pretty much consisted of following everyone else. This announcement was followed by another stating that the race would start in 5-10min. OK, my heart is pumping legs are hopping about...I'm cold and have decided to jog with my sweatshirt on...time goes on. Bullhorn comes back to "take this time to thank our sponsors" which I can't really hear but I'm sure most of them are on my race shirt. He ends with "we're just waiting for the streets to be closed off. We should be starting in 5-10min." He was treated to the groaning of 200 people...bleh.

Finally the race begins and I decide to just enjoy the first half mile of running faster than normal (thanks to gravity). After that I chose to save my strength as, downhill or no, 5 miles is a long way to run. I mean, you're putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over and over and over.... and faster than you normally do.

What I like about race day is the camaraderie among total strangers. During the race you say "hi" to those who pass you and the few (in my case) you pass. Everyone is an inspiration. Mine came from a dad who was pushing a double jog stroller...uphill...with two cute but whiny girls who wanted to get out. :)

At mile 3.25 I walked for a minute. I haven't jogged more than 4 miles very often, and have been real tired and shaky when I did, so I felt that a little break was a good thing, even though my legs weren't too tired.

The end was weird. You went past the finishline about 100yds then turned around and back towards the balloon arch and through the chute. But I finished! The whole thing! All by myself! In under an hour! :)

I think that's why I race. Sure, it keeps me motivated to continue exercising regularly, which helps me keep off those unsightly 50+lbs I lost. But in the beginning, middle, and end of it all, it's up to me and no one else. Racing is something where, if I want to finish, I have to keep placing one foot in front of the other.


Anonymous marcy said...

I love this post—Dead-looking branches and Port-o-Johns, reservoir of holy water—so funny. Congratulations on your race! It sounds like a great day.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Darleen said...

Everyone has to have a little inspiration, you the dad with the double jogger and me, well you! :) I joined a gym today and am motivated to follow in your footsteps! Congrats on finishing such a daunting task.

3:39 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home