Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Soy Un Perdedor....

A few of my running friends already know this, but I am now a two-time loser in the fall marathon lottery, getting a notice of non-selection for the 2010 St. George Marathon. Apparently they had over 11,000 applicants for the roughly 7200 slots. Whereas I was not that surprised to not be selected for New York City with the over 120,000 lottery applicants, I was kind of thinking that St. George was closer to a sure thing. I'm a little bummed because several of my friends were selected and I won't get to run with them. On the upside of things, though, St. George has a "third time's a charm" program and I will be guaranteed entry into the 2012 race if rejected again next year. Along with NYC's three strikes program, it means I have some good, quality races to look forward to in a few years if nothing else.

That means that I will be sleeping in my own bed and running the Rim Rock Marathon again this fall. Not a bad plan C at all-I think part of doing better than I'd expected my first time running it last year had to do with zero stress related to travel, packing hotels and all that other stuff. I am also contemplating something completely different and out-of-area in the fall. I've got an old grade school friend in Athens, Georgia who has been chatting up a new half marathon there showcasing all the historic neighborhoods and the music and arts scene they've got going there. While the city isn't high altitude, the course apparently has some good roll to it so it would be plenty challenging. I'm not sure yet how serious I am about going to that race, but since I'll be running a marathon at home I want to take the opportunity to think about other fall races I might not have ever considered otherwise.

In other news, I spent part of my Mother's Day up in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for the 11th Annual Mother's Day mile. Glenwood is two hours away but it's one of those really easy, scenic drives that passes quickly, and is incidentally the city where we lived shortly after getting married 13 years ago.

The race is held in a very family friendly format with four waves, and the next wave does not start until all participants are in from the previous wave. The first wave is 14 and under boys and girls, open (15-39) men and women, masters men and women, and finally an untimed fun family run/walk. Originally, it was just going to be me running but my son and middle daughter asked to participate. Then my little bean, the 3-year-old, said she wanted to race too. The registrants said it was no problem to just pay the family entry fee minus what I'd already paid in pre-registration, so everybody in my family except for the oldest daughter (who says she is exclusively a dancer now) was registered. My husband lined up with our youngest and the middle two kids (6 and almost 8) started together.

I have to say that I was honestly expecting my youngest two kids to have fun but be the last ones out there. I'd warmed up a little bit with friend and fellow blogger Suzanne, and it was very hilly in the neighborhoods where the mile course runs. Well, I was very surprised to see my little dude easily loping in as the first kid in the family.

I was so proud of him. He has done zero "training" and by that I mean that he plays, and goes to his hip-hop and jazz classes. We've done nothing in the way of running related jogs jog/walks. He was SO competitive on his own about wanting to get through the mile as fast as possible that I think it might be time to take him for a few of those, and maybe look into a kid-friendly 5K by the end of the summer that he could walk and jog.

His middle sister came around the corner about thirty seconds later. Apparently, my son could have been far ahead earlier, and was trying to pull her along so that they could run together. She came around the corner the way I remember from our turkey trot last fall, and looked tired until she saw the finish. Then she picked up with those high running knees of hers and just floored it to the finish.
Finally, I was looking for my husband and the baby. I fully expected that they'd be the last ones in for this wave. Most people with kids that young were doing the family untimed wave, though there were a few other three- and four-year-old looking kids in this wave. I also fully expected that my husband would wind up having to tote her for a bit of the route. She's a pistol with tons of energy but is still just a bitty thing, and it was a warm and breezy day. About two minutes after my middle two kids came in, I saw her round the corner with her daddy, trotting along at a comfortable pace, not being carried, smiling and waving to people checking out the toddler-sized runner in the sundress and sneakers she'd selected for herself that morning.

As it turns out, she had trotted along steadily the entire time, never asked for "uppy," and had stopped once for a drink at the water stop on the course. It wouldn't have mattered if they had been the sweepers, but I thought it was so cool that the smallest and youngest kid out there finished ahead of a handful of people still out there.

So then it was time for Suzanne and I to line up for our wave. We'd already scoped out the two ladies we knew were quite fast, but other than that I had no idea how I might stack up or how to even race a mile. I have been racing for not quite three years, and never ran track as a kid so this was just one big experiment. When they sounded the horn I just went out balls to the wall, but had to slow and weave a bit in the crush of runners rounding out of the parking lot, turning down onto the main road and then taking a sharp right uphill.

I felt like I was really slogging and suffering up that first hill, but did manage to pass one woman on the hill. When we crested the hill and turned left, pitching downhill a bit, I creeped up next to another woman and inched my way past. She tried surging back to get even with me or ahead, but got as close as about a foot behind my right shoulder before falling away. I could see a woman a little bit ahead and another further down the road. As I ran uphill toward the turnaround, I could see the first woman out of the turnaround and on her way back. I then counted two....three....and then me. So I was fourth.

Taking the turn and heading down a parallel street, I saw Suzanne approach and shout out to me. I was really sucking wind by the time we were seven tenths of a mile into things so I just did the "break it down" thing, running from lightpost to lightpost or spotting the next landmark to reach. I did not hear anyone immediately behind me but didn't want to be complacent so I just gave it all I had with the final uphill left turn into the parking lot and right turn up to the finish.

I'd come into the day thinking maybe I could run a six minute mile-BOY was I really off the mark on that! Doh. They chip timed this thing, though, and between that and my Garmin I did squeak in under seven minutes, finishing in 6:58 chip/6:59 Garmin time. This was good for fourth female miler overall and second in my age group. Suzanne was in seven seconds later, taking third in our age group and fifth overall.

After the race, they had TONS of delicious free pies to choose from (big hit with the kids, and...okay, me too). When they did the awards, it was the first time I've ever participated in a podium stand.

Our age group winner also won Overall Female and Fastest Mom, so we were in good company up there. Our prizes were really nice pendant necklaces created by HIV+ female artisans from Imani Workshop in Eldoret, Kenya, with a small wooden medal stamped with the race and finishing place tied on. It was a really unique prize, and their participation along with Advocate Safehouse Project (an abuse support program) being the primary beneficiary were part of what made this a meaningful race to do on Mother's Day.

This was a TOUGH race, but I'm so glad I did it. I think it's another of several this year where I would grade myself a B, but am itching to run again-next time, with A-game. We'll see if the mile helped me out any when I tackle my next 5K race this weekend.


SimonSays said...

K -
I think I'm going to hire you to write my RRs! Wonderful write up of the day! Your kids are great - I really enjoyed spending the day with all of you!

L.A. Runner said...

Awesome day, and VERY cute pictures! Also, there is something to be said for sleeping at home before a race :).