March 22, 2009


In case you don't live around here, this past Friday kicked off the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. In case you also didn't know, we have more Cherry Blossom Trees than D.C. but...well...we're just little old Macon, Georgia so we don't get that sort of recognition...but we do have one hell of a party, so take that D.C!

It all began for me on Friday night with The SoChi Gallery "Pretty in Pink" party...obviously a throw back to the 80's, with most dressing in some hilarious 80's, on the other hand, I opted to just be Pretty rather than searching our local vintage store for a used hair crimper. Kevin from DKH Entertainment spun some great 80's tunes and a good time was had by all!

See pictures below: The Party, The girls who opted for Pretty (and some Pink), and the blurry picture...well, check out Troy's Member's Only Jacket and tight-rolled pants...classic!

After a few hours of SoChi'ing it, I took Mr. Pinktini (ie, Troy) home because I had a race to run on Saturday! It was another 5k, and actually it runs through a beautiful neighborhood that winds through some of our most scenic Cherry Blossom routes! The trees were in perfect form, but despite all the beauty this race was more daunting and scary than any from the months prior...because in addition to loads of Cherry Blossom trees, this course had all of those damn hills!

Of course, I've run this race before but never with a PURPOSE in mind. My purpose for this one was to run a good race, not go out too fast, and NEGATIVE SPLIT the whole thing. Scary, but doable, right? RC's advice for me: pace myself in the beginning and start counting off the people that I end up passing in the end...guess it would be my reward for doing such a good job at the start....

RC met me at the start line an hour before the race was to start. We ran 3.5 easy miles, partly on the race course, and partly on a more flatter, less scary route. I finished up with a few quick strides, found my place in the middle of the pack of runners, and began to pray.

Learning how to run all over again has caused me to do some things I had never thought I'd be doing...on this day it happened to be praying for nearly a mile. I'm not sure why I did it, but it just felt right and it helped me to curtail the instinct to run too fast.

Mile 1 split - 8:33

RC and I ran the first mile of the race as part of the warm up, so I was glad that I found the ability to pace myself despite knowing what was up ahead...literally...hill after hill after hill. Mile 2 was alot more of the same...hill...hill...hill. I passed a couple of friends who were volunteering on the course and got a couple of atta boys to boost my spirit. Right at the tail end of mile 2 is the biggest of all those daunting hills. As I climbed it, passing alot of people who went out too fast, I remembered the last time I ran this race...and how I walked that entire hill. I didn't really remember much about my prior experience with this particular race, except that one hill...and the walking. But, this time much more prepared, I just sailed up it like I'd been doing it all my life!

On my assent down the hill, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe that I had just made that hill feel so effortless! As I started to pass runner after runner I could hear them trying to catch their breath, huffing and puffing, and while I too was doing some heavy breathing, I still felt great enough to realize I was having a good time!

Mile 2 split - 8:25 (how's that for negative splitting...or so I thought...)

Somewhere along this journey I forgot that the last mile is one long long hill....I drive up this road often and have even run the course before, but this time all my cockiness helped me to forget what lay ahead. As I rounded the corner and got smacked in the face with a healthy dose of reality, I started to pray again. I'm not sure what I was praying for...strength to get to the top, strength for everyone behind me to continue on, strength to start ticking off the number of runners I was getting ready to pass...I guess all of those were on my list at that point.

And then just as soon as I could eek that last little request out...I saw her. She was slowly running up this same hill and the closer I got, the more I realized that I was gaining on her. I was getting closer and closer...until I realized I was getting ready to pass her....


And as I got ready to make my pass, I slowed a bit...took a look at her...and said....

"I can't believe I'm about to do this."

And with that, I was gone.

Passing HER. My rival age grouper. I finally did it.

Now, I must add that 1) I really do like her alot 2) the first time I saw her run I thought I'd never be as fast as she is 3) I really do like her alot despite my glorious display of rubbing it in her face. 4) I think she's coming off of an injury and 5) I really really do like her. Oh, and she's not in my age group anymore and I was totally aware of that when I passed her but she WAS and that's all that mattered to me at the time.

So, I passed her.

And kept on going...reveling in my victory! Screw this hill, I did it!

As I got to the top of the hill, less .20 miles to go, I saw Troy...cheering me on...yelling to "GO GO GO!"

And then I heard him say "don't let her catch you!" And for a second...for a split second...I thought, "no way...she isn't that close behind me..."

And then I glanced back....

And realized...she was gaining on me...and I said (literally I said this outloud): "Oh hell no, you're not beating me!"

And as I crossed the finish line, announcing to everyone that would listen..."look at that...I just beat her!"

Mile 3 and 3.1 - 8:47 and 2:23 (course was long - 3.33) - in other words, no negative splits...

But I didn't care...I just beat her.

After the race I headed down to Central City Park for pink pancakes. After meeting my brother, 2 nephews and niece down there, and realizing that the wait was an hour and a half (really...for pink pancakes??), we opted to go to Nu-Way and have hot dogs for breakfast...then it was back to the park for carnival rides and Auntie Amy forking over the bucks to make those rugrats smile (and pout a little After carnivaling it, we headed back up to Cherry Street to watch the bed race. And yes, people decorate beds and race them. But if you think that's redneck, then you should have been there for the lawn mower races! Really...souped up lawnmowers with really loud engines and helmets and racing gear and everything. It-is-southern-redneck-heaven.

And I enjoyed it all the good old fashioned way....with a bucket o' Bud Light.

(and no, that is not my manly hand holding the beer...)

Have a great week!


Troy Tarpley said...

Though I couldn't run the Cherry Blossom Festival 5K through the Yoshino cherry tree lined streets of Macon, I was happy to help lead the runners out on my bike with Celeste and Bill.

Amy, you rocked that race and after I said, "she's on your heels", you guys crossed the street and rounded a curve that blocked me from seeing the finish. I had no idea which one of you crossed first, so kudos to the photographer that got those shots of you. Awsome pics.

Yep, Cherry Blossom time is hear. Our own cherry tree is a couple of days from it's peak I think and I love it. Two weeks of non-stop activities throughout the days and nights.

This weekend was a blast and luckily, it's just the beginning.

Laura Lohr said...

First of all, you totally inspire me to get faster. Where can I find my own RC to torture me and make me a better runner?

It sounds like a fun time! Lawn mower races---now that is something you have to see at least once!