Okay, now that the anger about the car has subsided, I can talk about last weekend's race. Let me start by saying that, no, I didn't get sick. Was it just allergies? Did I talk myself out of having a cold? Did that one vitamin C table help? I don't know. All I know is that Friday I took a nap before working the afternoon shift, and I felt better. I wasn't excited about working until 11pm before a race, but you do what you have to do. Can I get an Amen?
So, let's start there. I get done at 11pm, like I just said. Or, that is when I'm supposed to get done. See, I have to wait for someone to come in and take over for me before I can go. Well, it's 10:58 and there is no sign of this person. Ditto at 11pm. Great. The one night I need to get home and get to sleep as soon as possible, my relief is late. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but that person had been out sick for the past two weeks. Chances are he was not supposed to be back yet and his shift wasn't covered. So, I didn't get out until about 11:15pm. Not bad, but every minute counts. By midnight I am in bed, watching the clock. I'm not sure what time I fell asleep, but it was probably about 12:30am. Maybe later.
I'm up at 2:00am to go to the bathroom. Maybe I didn't need all that water during the day.
4:00am: See above.
The alarm goes off at 6:15am. I hit snooze. I have plenty of time.
Alarm goes off at 6:24am. I realize I need to get moving and climb out of bed. I can feel every minute of sleep I missed. I don't know how, but I do. I get my clothes on and go down to have my usually pre-race breakfast; cinnamon toast with peanut butter. And water. I notice the family room and laundry room light are on. At first I thought Jenn left them on for the dogs, then I hear movement in the laundry room. Son has gotten up and hid in the laundry room so I wouldn't be mad. I send him upstairs to lay in bed with Jenn. I don;t want the dogs to wake up and start barking and wake up the rest of the house.
I take care of some personal issues, and get all my gear together. I left at about 7:15am for the 8:00am race. I probably should have left a little earlier, but it was so close to the house I didn't think it would be a big deal. I shouldn't have been.
I got to the parking garage around 7:30am (told you it was close) and started walking to the starting line. I think I got there around 7:45am. Plenty of time to use the porta-John and get in line to start.
Let me take you back a few days for a moment. When I picked up the packet I asked the people how many racers had signed up. She said it was around 1,000 people. This is runners and walkers. Now, if you remember last year, it rained a lot on race day. Like 12 inches. So, needless to say not many showed up, just us stupid people. Anyway, remember 1000 people.
So, I look for the line for the facilities. It really wasn't hard to spot since it was about 200ft long. Probably longer. Guess how many porta-pottys they had. Come one, just throw out a number. Ready? There were six. Six potties for 1000 people to use. Six! It wasn't pretty.
So I find may way to the end of the line, leaving bread crumbs so I don't get lost, and wait. The DJ guy is announcing that people should start to line up since the race starts in 15 minutes. Five minutes later I have moved about 10 feet closer to the front of the line. Now the DJ is telling us we should really think about lining up. Although he is saying it in that cheerful DJ voice, I really want to smack him. I run a systems check as I'm in line. Do I really have to go? Can I wait? The answer is a resounding no. Just to emphasize the point, my kidneys kick my bladder. "See how full it is?"
So, I wait wondering how far down the street the other runners will be when I start. Also, since I have a chip on my shoe, it shouldn't count against my time, right? Luckily, at this point, someone came to the back of the line and announced they were opening up the bathrooms inside the school behind us. I felt my bladder give a big sigh of relief. At least I hope that's what it was.
After I freshened up (as the old ladies say) I found a spot in line. I didn't want to go to far up front, but I didn't want to get stuck behind the walkers. Well, it didn't matter. Why don't the walkers realize they need to be in the back? Look, I'm not elite runner by any means, but there were walkers up at the very front. Those people up there are running full steam, they are going to get ticked at the walkers. Or run them over. Probably both.
Anyway, the first couple of miles were fine. I think I had a decent pace going, though I had to slow myself down at times. I was going to wear my Garmin Forerunner to keep an eye on my pace, but I decided against it. I felt I'd be constantly looking at it over the last four miles trying to figure out how much further I had to go.
Now due to the devious planning of the route, the 5K route and the 15K route start off the same. Actually, they are completely the same, so come the 5K mark you see those people peel off and finish their race while you have 2/3 of the race to go. How mean is that? But, it worked out since I stopped there and use the porta-potty again. Yes, I have a small bladder, what of it?
As I mentioned last year, the course is nice since it goes through a shaded residential area. Also, they post signs along the way on Walter Payton's career milestones. It's something to read while you are running. And, the people living in the house come out to cheer you on, which is nice. One guy had "Eye of the Tiger" blasting out of his house. That made me smile.
So, yes, I was doing fine until about mile seven. That was when I started to feel it. I wasn't breathing super hard, it was my legs. They were getting tired. It started out feeling like I was running in sand, then got to a point where It felt like a 40lb bag of sand was tied to each leg. But I kept going. Can you tell?
I think it was between mile 7 and 8 that I saw Jenn and the kids. That helped a bit. I told her I was hurting and she gave me a towel to help me keep cool. Oh, I should say this was about the time the sun decided to come out. It was hazy/cloudy/foggy until about the last 1.5 miles or so. You know, when I was the most tired.
I left the security of Jenn and the kids to run the last 2 miles. These were a a long two miles. What made it worse was turning away from the finish line several times. I kept thinking I was getting closer then, BAM, I'd have to turn away from he finish. I think they were just being mean at this point. Finally, I saw the 9 mile sign. Only half a mile to go. There were people on the corner cheering. "Only half a mile left!" Easy for them to say as the stood in one spot. They probably drove their car there. I smiled, I think. I was pretty numb by then. I wasn't smiling inside though.
You know how you see people running faster at the end of the race? You know, the ending kick? That wasn't me. I think I went slower. Which was hard to do since it was downhill. By some miracle my time was better then last year. I think that was because I didn't have to read water this year. I certainly didn't feel faster. But, hey, I finished. I'm still tired.
Look how pitiful I looked there?
I have another, tougher, race next month. I don't know what I'm going to do about it yet. I don't want to die.