I started this blog nearly a decade ago when I was obsessed with running…not so much anymore.
You maybe remember when I was alllllll about running. I ran 5-7 miles daily and had just started running 10-15 on the weekends. I was training for what I figured would be my first marathon. This was before I knew words like “overtraining”, “rest”, and “injury”.
Now, I know those words well (especially the word “rest” it seems). I don’t sign up for races because even when I carefully train I end up injured. So, a few months ago, when a new friend asked if I would run the Get Lucky half marathon with her, I hesitantly agreed to run the shorter (random) distance (a 14K) with her instead. At the time I agreed, I was running 8-10 miles a week. I just started running again, and my longest runs were three miles. I figured I could do it, especially since she told me that she was a slow runner. I know I can run just about any distance if I go slow. So I set out to train slowly.
Things were going well right up until the week before the race.
First, I sprained my ankle.
I was running twice during the week (2-3.5 miles) and then following up with a longer weekend run (longest distance: 7 miles). I thought I had this in the bag, and then 8 days before the race, I twisted my left ankle over my lunchtime run, leaving me with a low grade sprain. I decided to forgo my taper run the following day, and ended up skipping my other two short runs during the week and opting to walk instead.
Next, I got a freaking chest cold.
By Thursday, my ankle was doing better, but I woke up breathing like the girl in The Exorcist. I stayed home from work that day and hibernated, hoping that I would get well enough to show up on Saturday. One-day-long hibernation and Mucinex seemed to do the trick. Come Saturday, I was feeling well enough to run.
Finally, despite the warm weather we were having, race day weather turned freezing.
IT WAS COLD ON SATURDAY. Fortunately I trained in cold weather, have a ton of cold gear, and my mom got me some hand warmers (which I promptly turned into butt warmers) for Christmas*.
It was slow going, but we finished!
When the day came, my friend and I were both hoping the other one would text with a cancellation message. The whole way to the race we were joking that Mark should pick us up in the nearest bar “after the race” (i.e. we were going to just head there when he dropped us off and not run the race). When we got there, we hid in the bathroom for a while to stay warm.
After the race started, we ran the first few miles faster than expected, so we decided it wasn’t so bad. Besides, we were running to stay warm! I stopped to pee in the middle (dropping one of my hand-turned-butt warmers into the porta-johnny), and we snagged a drink. Things were going swell!
We hit the halfway point, which was at the bottom of a hill and required us to turn around and go back up the hill to continue. Who plans these things? This is when I noticed the half-marathon pacers at the 7:50/8:00 pace passing us. They started earlier and were beginning to filter in with us slow pokes. Pretty soon we caught up with th 5K walkers, who were 5-6 deep across the road. Had I been running for time (like those 7:50/mile half-marathoners) I would have been angry. Dodging the walkers was funny around the 6-mile marker. We were so comfortable running at mile six that we even joked that we probably could have run the half. Things were going great.
We hit the 7-mile marker and were pretty much over running the stupid race. By this point, we were navigating a sea of walkers to find the finish line. I nearly re-sprained my ankle doing parkour moves around them between the sidewalk and street. Seriously, who plans these things?
We found the finish line, but it was backed up to a halt for at least 100 meters. We stopped. I stopped my watch. The time on my watch is what I’m going with since we didn’t get to actually cross the finish line.
Also? It was so damn cold out that we didn’t bother getting our free (read: we paid for it in the race fees) post-race beer.
The good news is: Brunch!
After the race we hit up Dixies on Grand for brunch. Mark and I had cocktails there once, and he had breakfast there the day of his bachelor party and remembered they had a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar (my friend loves Bloody Marys) and super greasy southern brunch. That was perfect for post-race food! A little greasy, but good.
*I now want to design and patent cute cold-gear running tights with pockets for hand-warmers called, “Hot Patooties”. Hmmm … I work in a college with Apparel Design and Wearable Tech researchers …. You’re welcome, Minnesota.
Have you run a race before? Or have you ever signed up to do something that just didn’t seem to work out for you?