Racing on a Whim

I wasn’t planning on racing this weekend.  Really I wasn’t.  But when a Facebook friend posted Friday afternoon, “Who all is doing the Fantastic Four tomorrow???” I started thinking.  The whole reason I had NOT planned to race this weekend was because I had been planning on doing a 5K last Saturday and didn’t want to race two weekends in a row.  But since I ever-so-gracefully fell last Friday afternoon and didn’t get to race the 5K the next day, that was no longer a reason not to race this weekend.

So I did what any runner would do.  I checked weather.com.  High 82, sunny, gusty winds developing later in the day.  Hmmmm……  but the race started at 8, which should only be 60 and breezy.  So I decided right then.  I decided to decide when I woke up the next morning.

Well, that almost didn’t work out.  I forgot to set my alarm, so thank goodness for starving kitties.  (At least that’s what she would have me believe.)  Starvin’ Marvin came into the bedroom demanding breakfast at 6:38.  Registration started at 7:00.

I went outside with the dogs to assess the situation.  Yep, it was about 60ish.  Yep, it was breezy, not gusty yet.  Cloudy.  A little humid, but what the hell.  Let’s do this.

I tossed on some clothes, decorated my bedhead with a headband, grabbed the necessities and headed to the high school where I forked over $20 and then sat in my truck yawning and wondering why in the hell I had decided to do this rather than just crawling back into my snuggly bed.

I wasn’t real sure what my goal should be for this race.  Of course I wanted to PR, but that was kind of a given since my only other four-mile race was two years ago at a 9:49 pace.  I decided I’d just wing it.

We eventually lined up on the track and someone yelled “Go.”  Right off the bat, I set my eyes on another girl that I knew to be faster than me and in my age group.  The goal became to hang with her as long as I could.

Mile 1 – 8:29

I was still hanging with her pretty well but the gap was widening a little bit.  The course was a two-mile out-and-back, and by the turnaround point she was probably a solid 30 seconds in front of me.

Mile 2 – 8:50

Ahhhh, halfway there.  But I really didn’t know how much longer I could hold this pace.  I felt myself fading.  By mile 2.5 I was really wishing that the race had been a 5K.  And then the goal shifted again.  “MAKE it a 5K with a .9-mile cooldown.”  So I raced until my watch read 3.1 miles.  I hit the lap button at 27:11–a 40-second 5K PR!  Then I walked and caught my breath until my watch read 3.2 miles, at which point I noticed that my average pace was still 8:58.  So the goal changed again:  Keep it sub-9.  I tried.  I REALLY tried.  But the “pop” was gone out of my legs.  I was only keeping it around a 9:10 pace so my average pace was creeping up, but when I saw the finish I was able to pull off enough of a kick to land the average at 8:57.  According to my Garmin anyway.

Garmin stats:  4.04 miles/36:04 = 8:57 pace
Official stats:  4.00 miles/36:06 = 9:02 pace

I’LL TAKE IT!!!!  🙂

It was even good enough for a 3rd place AG award.  That’s why I love me some small town races!!!

As an added bonus, I scored a $10 Subway gift card as a door prize!  Woohoo!  That was half of my entry fee that I earned back!

Then I ran four more miles.  Because… well, you know… it just sounded like fun.

And then I came home and had an awkward self-timer photo session with my medal on the deck.  Because… well, you know… I’m a dork.

Wipeout!

Typically, for me Friday = rest day, but I missed an easy 4 miles on Thursday due to storms, and Friday afternoon it was just simply too gorgeous to NOT to run.  So even though I was planning on racing a 5K on Saturday morning, I decided to go out for a super easy four after work.  Usually these runs are run on the back roads around my house, but it was a beautiful day, and so for this one I decided to go into town where I could surely do lots of people watching (<—- mistake #1).

I parked at Lowe’s, like I always do, and when I reached for my sports sunglasses I realized they weren’t there.  CRAP.  I forgot them when I was packing my run bag.  I had other sunglasses with me but they really bug me when I run in them, so I went sans shades (<—- mistake #2).

So there I was, trotting along, savoring the run, less than a quarter-mile in, and the next thing I know concrete is coming at me at approximately 10 min/mile.

Let’s all just ignore the hair and focus on the blood, shall we?

My first wipeout.  Ahhhh, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  But it sure would have been nice if it could have happened on a secluded country road with no witnesses!  Or maybe if I had remembered my sunglasses I wouldn’t have been running with my eyes half closed.  haha

Luckily, that’s the worst of my injuries.  (Unless you count my pride because there were TONS of people around!  Unfortunately, lots of people to watch = lots of people watching you!)  Just a scraped knee and palms of both hands.  I got up, dusted myself off, and finished the run, and STILL savored every step!

(Side note:  My “injury” was enough to keep me from going to the 5K this morning.  The knee I went down on was a little stiff this morning.  I didn’t know if running would loosen it up or make it worse, so I just decided to sit this one out.  I really didn’t want to DNF a 5K.  If yesterday’s spill bruised my pride, a 5K DNF would have shattered it!)

BRILLIANT!

This past Christmas, I received a head lamp as a gift.  I had specifically asked for it because I wanted it for running during the dark winter afternoons.  Well, I ended up running on routes that were pretty well lit by street lamps, so my head lamp has been tucked snugly in a drawer unused ever since.

Until last night.  I had a stroke of genius.

I wanted to paint my fingernails, but we were watching a movie so I didn’t want to turn the bright overhead light on in the living room.

……..

Have you put two and two together yet?

BINGO!

Necessity breeds ingenuity!