Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Runday (and then some)

What a day. The excitement started last night at 8pm when I gained a last-minute race sherpa. The conversation went something like this:
Sherpa: So, do you want me to come watch you run tomorrow?
Me: Uhh, I guess so.  If you want.  It's not gonna be anything spectacular.  Up to you. It's not like I'm going for a podium finish with the way I run. (I know, I'm so good at selling myself, aren't I?)
Sherpa: I'd love to be there.  What time do you start?
Me: It starts at 7am, but I want to be there at 6:20ish so I can stand in the porta-potty line like 5x.
Sherpa: I'll pick you up at 6:15.

Sweeeet!  It helps so much logistically to have someone else worry about parking and holding keys and purses and jackets.  So that eliminated some pre-race nerves.  It's been so long since I've done a stand-alone running event without swimming/biking beforehand. So this meant that I wouldn't be able to blame my slow running on "loaded up legs after a crazy bike ride" or some BS like that.

Ready to get the party started!

I secretly wanted to break 2 hours.  The fastest I had run 13.1 miles before today was 2:02:49, and that was in 2010.  For some reason, I was visualizing 1:58:59.  I even wrote it down. (shhh! Oprah and the chick from The Secret would be proud!)

Today was my also my 'experiment' day.  I ran with my new ipod Shuffle (no armband=heaven), and I strategically set my Garmin screen to show distance and speed and NOT heartrate.  I'm so used to gauging my pace by my heartrate and I wanted to see if there really is something fantastic about not knowing, and going by "feel."  I mean, Chrissie Wellington never wears a heartrate monitor, so maybe she's on to something?
I also ditched my fuelbelt to see if I could stand carrying a flask in my hand as my 'safety blanket' between aid stations (they only had them every 2-2.5 miles along the course).

Yes, that is duct tape. And yes, I am aware that I need a manicure.

When things got hard, I thought of my Grandma and all the hard things she's probably experienced in her 105 years of life.  I told myself, "C'mon, if Grandma endured the internment, giving birth to tons of kids and raising them all, well, then you can at least run hard for __ amount of minutes."  I basically played this mind game with myself for the last 2/3 of the run, subtracting the minutes from 1:58.  Which was also distracting because I suck at math. 

Grandma blowing out her candles yesterday.

Between dodging runners in the beginning, I picked up a 'friend' around mile 7-9.  We didn't say a word to each other during the race (he found me at the end of the race to chat), but it was like a mutual understanding and respect as we ran stride-for-stride and side-by-side.  I slowed up for a bit just to make sure I wasn't invading his space, and when he slowed up too, I knew that we were going to be pacing buds.  All I was seeing on my watch were 8:57 splits when I was so used to seeing 10-min mile splits in training, so I was curious how long I could hold the pace for.  It reminded me of Macca and Raelert at the end of the Ironman World Championships in 2010 (except we weren't rivals), where they ran side-by-side, shared a sponge and shook hands before Macca went on to win the whole thing.  After the 9-mile aid station where I took water, he ran ahead.  I saw him look back at me, but I waved him on to keep going and not wait for me.  Sometimes there are people in your life who help you for a time, but in the end, everyone has to run his/her own race.

My "Macca" friend in the gray.  He came in 2 minutes before me.  So yeah, I was Raelert.

When I crossed the line and saw 1:58, I was stunned, and so happy!

Nothin' but smiles...and sweat.

They were also passing out these wipes, for gross girls like me.  

They were giving away one per person.  But the girl took one look at me and gave me two.
I kid you not.   Gross girl sweat = more freebies.  SCORE!

The wipes were perfect because I headed out afterwards with my sherpa for a 50 mile recovery bike ride.  It was meant to first be an out-and-back to Cull Canyon to see how my legs felt, but I was feeling so good that I talked him into doing the full Redwood Rd/Moraga/Danville loop.  I felt kind of bad because he was thinking we were going to do 20 miles and I roped him into doing more than double that distance.  (But I did say we could 'ride at his pace' to make it more manageable, and we could stop 'whenever.')  Isn't that a salesperson technique?  Foot-in-the-door? Or something like that?  

I made us take a mandatory rest stop at Tutti Frutti in Danville at around mile 40.  It was hot and I have been craving froyo like a mofo.  These self-serve yogurt places always get me a little nervous when they weigh your's like they just want to see what a McFatty you are.  But I thought it would be a little more classy than bringing bikes through the drive-thru of McDonald's and ordering a vanilla cone (yes, that thought did enter my mind).

This one's for YOU, Amber!  I'll show you this route one day.
And I'll treat you to Tutti Frutti too.

On our way back into town, I also spotted this sign...which is like a (good) riding omen since  I'll be riding for the first time with Amber next weekend!  I can't wait to catch up with this girl.  It's been literally YEARS.  In our elementary school play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I was Grumpy (hard to believe, eh?) and she was Dopey.  And now we are all grown up, and I am still Grumpy (sometimes) but she is like a buff and beautiful Snow White.  

So, all in all, a good Sunday.

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