I've never gone to a race by myself before. Having someone or some people there with you makes it so much easier to get motivated and it's just nice to have the support of friends. So this was a new experience for me. I was a little nervous, but I just concentrated on getting into the mental state to run strong and do my best.
I've also never started a race in full on darkness. Oh, and did I mention that I didn't preview or know the race course at all? Yeah, on the racing list of things NOT to do. I figured I could just follow the people in front of me. That strategy worked out well in the beginning, but around mile 2, after passing a bulk of the runners, there was no one left to follow. The race signage was good in the beginning, but then I was just out there, in the dark, not knowing if I was still on the 5K route, or if I had accidentally fallen into the half marathon race, which was happening simultaneously. And I was not in the mood or condition to run 13.1 miles today. So I kept running, but I starting asking the other runners, 'Hey, is this still the 5K?', but none of them knew. Everyone I asked said, ' This is the half marathon!'.
Eventually I just stopped. WTF? Where did I go wrong? I didn't know where I was at all. Did I have to run the half marathon now? Blerg!!! As I stood there, not knowing what the hell to do, a couple of guys, who must have seen me standing in confusion, ran up behind me and said, 'This is the 5K...'. Oh great, I've lost valuable time! To make up for lost time, I put my foot on the gas, and pushed to catch up with the guys who just passed me.
Meanwhile, I didn't know where the finish line was, but as I turned the corner back towards the start line, a couple of my friends who came to cheer me on yelled at me,
'There are only 6 people in front of you, go, go, go!'
|My friend Martha took this as I ran by, while she shouted at me to GO GO GO!
What?!? Really?!? That can't be, I've only been back in training for about a month and a half...
And right about then a guy came up behind me, hot to pass me. Oh, HELLS NO. I don't like being passed, especially not in the final leg. Now we've got a race on! I chased him down and got up really close to him, 'Iron War' style. Now I was motivated just to beat this guy. But I still didn't know where the finish was, and I couldn't see it. Again, WTF? Then I saw the reason I couldn't see it, just ahead there was a short, but STEEP hill. Ack! Determined to run this guy down, I gave it my all up the hill. We were both passing each other back and forth. This is racing! Oh, the excitement! Oh, the pain! At the top of the hill, the course turned to the right, and there it was - the beloved finish arch. Yasssss! I did my best to keep up with this guy and crush the finish. But then, Oh yes, then, just before the finishing shute, my adversary steps out of the route to the side. He was A FREAKIN' BANDIT!!! Whatevs, I finished the race feeling good, 6th overall runner, and 2nd in my age group. Yeaaaaaaahhhhhh.
|2nd place in my age group!