It’s odd seeing all the traffic on the way to the race using headlights as we drive along the silent highway, making our way to the convention center to prepare. The race started at the convention center, and ended on 17th street. They changed the course map as well, making it much easier to follow.
We drove to the race in the dark, took pictures in the dark pre-race, warmed up in the dark, and shivered, in the dark. We got there super early, per my request due to my fear of getting to a race late. As we started to stretch, the sun peered it’s sleepy head over the horizon, and waves of color splashed across the sky, warming the air just a bit.
I felt a little tight even though I had done a two mile run the night before. Warming up and stretching for a little longer than usual felt good in the chilly morning air. DQ was in town for his first race, and Rach and I were trying to walk him through how the race would go as we stretched. We were people watching as we waited for the corrals to open. It never ceases to amaze me on how creative people can be with their costumes. We saw smurfs, King Neptune (looking just like the one on the boardwalk), Thing 1 and Thing 2, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Where’s Waldo?, 80s workout girls, Frankenstein’s bride, lots of Incredibles, a dude in a cage, a girl running in the shower, lots of naked booties, and countless other costumes. One of my personal favorites was Scooby Doo! 🙂 Who can’t love a classic!?
The corrals finally opened, and the three of us made our way back to Corral 5. Somehow, we each managed to be in three different corrals. Rach and I could move back, but DQ couldn’t move up, so we all went back to 5 to start together.
The race finally started, and we waited for it to be our corral’s turn to get going and cross that start line and get the clock going. I was disappointed to see no time clock as we went over the start line, as I couldn’t keep a mental note of when we started, and when we finished.
Within half a mile, I was rolling up the sleeves to my button down shirt and wishing I hadn’t put a t-shirt under it to stay warm. I was roasting, and I still had 5+ miles to go. It was a weird experience to run with sunglasses. Rachel will be the first to tell you that I get fidgety and fussy if I feel like I have too much “stuff” on when I run. I will discard jewelry, keys, sunglasses, extra layers of clothes, etc in a heartbeat, just to feel lighter when I run. I really resisted running with sunglasses, but it was part of the day’s costume… so I sucked it up and was a big girl about it and wore them! I actually appreciated not squinting as the sun came into full view in the sky, and barely noticed the weight on my nose.
I still felt the usual tightness and stiffness from the cold air until about mile 2 when I was completely warm and felt my muscles moving smoothly, step by step on the race course. I was determined to run the entire race. After all, isn’t this just a short run? Isn’t this cake by now? You better believe it! Around mile 3 (or so I’m assuming because I saw no mile markers except 2 and 6), it occurred to me that I felt like I was holding back on speed, effort, and such, and I let go and just went with what felt comfortable. Definitely a faster pace, a smoother stride (not so visibly stiff), and a huge, dopey grin on my face! I think sometimes I just forget that I love to run, and that I can just run- even if it is a race! Have fun! And I did- I laughed as I passed all kinds of costumes I hadn’t seen yet, stopped for the 2 seconds it took to gulp gatorade or water at the water stations, and kept going. I had a goal in mind, and Cookie Monster was NOT going to beat me to the finish line! I followed that guy the whole race, and as I much as I loved the character when I was little, I always have to find someone who runs a little faster to keep pace with, and possibly pass as I get to the finish line. How do you get better unless you push harder and play harder? Play with someone who’s better!
Anyways, I love that the route for this race is on the roads I have run frequently, and am super familiar with. As I passed the familiar markers in my surroundings, I can only appreciate where I live that much more. I’m sure others can understand how awesome it is to be running a race, completing the last few blocks ON the boardwalk, as the sun beams down on the beautiful ocean to the left of you, and the salty smell of the ocean air gently pushes you along to the finish line. Who wouldn’t love that?!
I admit it. I was ANGRY when I crossed the finish line. I saw the clock time of 1:16:17 and I was furious. Last year’s time was 1:10:29, and I was certain I had beat it. I had run harder, I had run the ENTIRE 6.2 mile race, and I had run faster. I was NOT fatigued, I was not even winded despite my sprinting the entire last block to cross the finish line, and I wasn’t really thirsty either. How in the world could I have gotten a slower time when I was so much more well prepared for this race than last year?!
Believe me. I was furious. And everyone kept trying to tell me not to stress, but I know other runners understand. If it’d been a half and my time had deviated some, not a big deal. This is a short race. An easy race at that. And I’d been preparing. Sigh. So, I took a breath, got some chili, and a beer, and looked at the good things.
I wasn’t fatigued. AT ALL. Wow. I didn’t hurt, and I wasn’t even out of breath after sprinting. I ran the whole thing! Did I mention in previous posts I love my new kicks? Adidas Kanadia Trail Runners- I feel like I am running in nothing, and have had no problems with them whatsoever!
So, on to many hours later, 6 of us (friends and family) ventured to Busch Gardens for the remaining part of the day. A few hours into being there, the three of us who ran received emails on our phones from the race site saying our times and minute per mile ratio. I had to read mine three times before I believed it. I finished in 1:05:58. That is a 10:38 minute per mile ratio… I don’t know when I did a race that fast! I actually will have to look back at my records… WOW! Ok, furious-ness is gone and quickly replaced with astonishment! DQ and Rachel also rocked it! Rach was about two minutes ahead of me and DQ, even with his sore knee, was about two minutes behind me! AMAZING job to all of us! WAY TO GO! 🙂