Sunday, February 24, 2008

Racing Fun!

Today was race day! I'm so glad I decided to race! I was very close to not going at all, but then realized that I would feel better if I went ahead and ran as fast as I could. And, I think I did.

The racing folks said that the race would go on rain or shine. So, of course, it rained. But that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. And everyone else was bent on having a good time, too.

I love race days. You meet so many different kinds of people, people who live in the area, just like you, but you'd never even see otherwise. It's nice to strike up a conversation with strangers, commiserate over the chilly morning, laugh in line for the port-a-potties, and encourage any newbies that come your way. I get a little less anxious each time I race; I'm nowhere near as nervous as I was on my first race. Today, I had a PR in mind and was determined to not finish in the back of the pack. (My Personal Record was to get a time as close to 30 minutes as possible. I've never completed a 5k in under 35 min. Deep down, I wanted a time of 29 min and some seconds.)

There are a few things that make this race especially fun: It's one way. Most of the way is downhill. You get to run in the middle of the street. And, you end up at the beach. :-) When you first arrive, you park at the finish line and take one of their shuttles to the starting line. They also provided a van to bring back your warm-up clothes to the finish for you. Nice!

Well, this race I chose to warm-up for real. I walked and jogged about a mile, all before the race started. A few minutes before start time, it began to rain, so I huddled under the eaves of some legal building with 150 others. Finally, a guy with a bull horn called us over to the street and lead us to the starting line. It was a real line drawn all the way across the street! I waited for the official start near the end of the pack (which I thought was the middle, but oh, well), listening in on last minute snippets of advice between friends and checking out all the various race day fashions, from coordinating outfits (hat included) to 5 year-old 12k t-shirts; from high-tech wicking fabrics to thermals and cut-off sweats. It was very cool to see moms with their little kids and grown-ups running with their moms. (You can do it, Mom. We're almost there!)

I found myself enjoying it all. It was fun to run outside in the middle of the street in the rain with 300+ other people. I passed several along the way, including some old men (Those old men are deceptively quick. They look like they're just shuffling along, but then all of a sudden they pass you! So you see, it was awesome to actually pass them for a change!!). I kept pace with a few and outran several more at the end. I had to remind myself that the only one I had to beat was me and my old time. (That way, I wasn't too disappointed when I didn't pass that one final person, who beat me by 1 second. :-( )

And I did, of course. 31:12. That comes to 10 minute 3 second miles, peoples!! My best racing time evah!! 17/26 in my age group, 285/372 overall! haha!

*****Side note: On my way to the finish line, pushing myself to pass that person, this person, and not puke, what do I see but the elites, all the fast people who not only finished way before me (as expected) but I guess needed EVEN MORE RUNNING 'cuz they were running some more towards me and all the other runners. still. racing.!! Of course, these are the crazies who also ran 1-2 miles BEFORE the race to warm-up!! I don't think I'll ever be that much of a runner. I think if I wanted to run 6 miles I wouldn't sign up for a 5k. Maybe that's just me.


Blogger Gwen said...

Congratulations on a great race and a new PR!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Janola said...

Thanks for the kudos!

5:43 PM  

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