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August 23, 2009

THE RACE THAT ALMOST WASN'T....

I am usually a little nervous about races. Sometimes (see previous post) I don't even get nervous about the running part. Friday's race (Feed the Bears 5k to benefit the Mercer University Cross Country team) brought a different kind of anxiety....in the form of a bad temper and general loathing.

I have no idea but I DID NOT WANT TO RUN THIS RACE.

I even ran 5 miles Friday morning (the race was that night) just because I was certain that it was going to thunder storm and I'd be able to get out of running the race. As the day wore on and the threat of thunderstorms became a distant fable, I started to think it wouldn't be sooo bad if I got in a minor car crash (like a fender bender) that at least would give the perception that it's okay not to run the race.

That didn't happen either.

So, I showed up early. Got my race registration on and met my running buddies (RC, Marcus, Angela, and Ashley) for a 3 mileish warmup.

I'm sure they wanted to hit me. I complained the whole time. I whined for at least an entire mile. And the bad attitude I was wearing was as unattractive as slouchy boots coming back in style (yes, they were ugly back in the 80's and they are still ugly now).

I was just not feeling much love for this race. And I couldn't figure out why...I just wanted someone to say "Amy, your car is on fire! Quick, don't run! Go find a fire extinguisher!"

Yeah, that didn't happen either.

Fast forward to go-time and I've just resolved myself to run this race and hopefully finish. I kept envisioning myself spontaneously combusting mid-hill, or completely passing out three-tenths of a foot from the finish line.

Did I mention that I really really really didn't want to run this race?

My only motivation? The fact that Marcus wanted me to pace him...and well...that would require me to not only run, but run at a 7:50 pace.

Oh the things I get myself roped into....little did I know that he would be my motivation to not only finish, but finish in a not-so-shabby time.

Mile 0 - 1: despite the race starting on an uphill, mile 1 was easy. I'm not sure why it felt so good but I was casually chit chatting, keeping us locked on 7:50, instructing him who to follow if we lose each other (like when I spontaneously combust.)

Mile 1 - 1.5: we move into the point of the race where we literally are climbing (even if they were small) hills forever.

The Rest of the Race: I start realizing that maybe I'm not going to continue to feel as good as I did the first mile. The course is a 2 loop course, and it took everything in my power to not peel off at mile 1.5 and just go home. EVERYTHING IN MY POWER. I made it past the loop and as we crested yet another hill, I told Marcus to go on ahead. We were pacing at an 8-something and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to recover from it. He pulled ahead and did exactly as I had instructed...started pacing one of the two females who I knew were our pace. For the entire rest of the race it was Female #1 (Andi), Marcus, Female #2 (don't know her but am in awe at how she can run race after race with her long locks NOT pulled up in a hat or something), and then me. We were all within 5 seconds of each other so I was glad that I had sent Marcus in the right direction.

We are coming into the last hill...I'm not sure what happened....I think Marcus may have had ants in his pants...he took off so much so that I lost sight of him. Maybe that's why I ended up running that last hill faster than I ran any of the other 4 hills prior!

So, thanks Marcus for keeping me in the race!

In the end, I ran a good time (24:33)...and while not a personal best for a 5k, it was a personal best for my first night race.

And I didn't combust. Or pass out in front of the finish line. My car didn't catch on fire. And I didn't just lay down on the ground and die.

Nope, in the end I ended up with an okay time and some hardware (1st place for my age).

So, what did I learn?

Complaining will get me no where. Whining is for babies and princesses, and I am neither. If I don't want to keep running, I should just run faster.

And I'll totally run this hard course again next year!

37 miles this week. I'm pushing for 40 next before I start to taper (and get nervous) about the upcoming Labor Day Road Race!

Have a great week!

1 comment:

RC said...

Grasshopper you're killing me :) You need to keep running just so the rest of us can have this blog to get us through our days.

You were not alone in dreading this race. Who in their right minds looks forward to running hills at full speed in 90 degree heat. Only a mental case!!! I tried to hide my dread in Pizza at lunch. It didn't work.

Anyway its the tough races under extreme conditions that we remember most.

You now have a racing memory you won't soon forget.

A TEAM POD RACE!!