I am going to write up a quick semi-detailed race report here since this race the subject of episode 008 of my podcast. So, let’s get going…
I knew that I was going to be working as a volunteer before race start. I also knew that specifically, it would be with registration. Registration is pretty easy and warm. Pre-registration is the easiest part since all the hard work is done for you. There is some (but only minor) stress with Day of Race since everything is happening all at once.
My report time was to be 6:30. My actual arrival time was 6:35. Not a big deal. Since I had ran the race before, I parked in a location that was away from the finish with easy access to get on the road after the race. My babysitter needed to get to work that day and so I was trying to ablige.
I checked in and sure enough, I was on Day of Race Registration. Here’s how Day of Race works… people come up to you either with a complete form or ask where the forms are located (on the far table over there). Next you grab a blank racing bib and write their name and age on the tear away part of the bib. Next, you check their form to make sure that they have signed and dated their waiver. For me… I eyeball the guys that are in the 35-39 age group and size them up… will they be a factor? will they finish ahead of me?
I just love looking at the female form because they have to put their age…. it’s like reading banned literature… As one husband/boyfriend said… “Today’s she’s 31, every other day she’s 29”
After checking all this, you write their number on the form (VERY IMPORTANT!). While you are doing this, you see if they want a shirt… if they do you call out the size “Can I have a Large please” and then shake the runner down for their money… “that’ll be $20, please” or if they didn’t get a shirt you just say “that’ll be $15, please”
Then. my trademark sending them off into great wide open is “Okay, here’s your shirt, here’s your bib, I have your money, grab some safety pins and have a great race”
At 7:50, I finally got out of my duties and ran over to my van where I needed to enrobe myself in the proper attire to thwart the little cold molecules that seemed to be all over the place (about 31F). I grabbed my energy bar (since I forgot my pre-race breakfast) and was trying to stuff that in my mouth while holding my bib, safety pins. I take off back to the start when I realized that I didn’t have my hat and gloves. Damn. So back I go… get my hat and gloves… start back to the starting line. Now I have my key, my bib, safety pins, hat and gloves with half of my energy bar hanging out of my mouth.
I reach the starting line and thankfully they haven’t played the national anthem yet. I am frantically try to get my bib on while trying to eat this thick (because of the cold) bar and thinking that a glass of water would be awesome right now!
The national anthem starts playing and I am trying to arrange my bib so that it’s not going to bother the crap out of me during the run. Oh crap, I still have my hat on… so I take that off. Then while trying to get my bib on right, I see this image of Marianna waving that index finger of her so disapproving right at me… “not at attention during the national anthem,” I hear her imaginary form say. “how rude…” she blabbers. My inner dialogue with her confers that she is right, show some respect to Da Colors. I stop what I am doing and pay closer attention. On the podcast, if I don’t edit it, you might hear me try to sign the National Anthem… pretty bad though… no-talent-american-idol bad.
In the 30 seconds between the cheering at the end of the national anthem and the firing of the pistol (funny that they follow each other). I get my bib on, my shoe retied, finished my energy bar, tucked my key away and found a place for my GU pack. Oh, I forgot that I was carrying my GU pack while running to the starting line.
I had found my friend Marty before the National Anthem and we decided that we’d stick together for most of the race. So the gun goes off and we are running… YAY!
Mile 1 9:30
At the 3/4 mark in mile one, there is this steep hill… It’s a big hill but it’s short compared to to the downhill portion (which you have to run back up). Now, I don’t know if this is a result of the race or just coincidence, but there is a cemetary at the crest of this hill. I did some grade analysis on this hill in the past, maybe I was smart enough to have saved it somewhere…
Mile 2 9:03
We are running in the full sun, with no clouds to be seen. The wind isn’t too bad and I am starting to regulate my temperature by taking off my gloves or my hat or both.
Mile 3 9:12
At pretty much realize at this point that a 1:30 is not going be possible. Give the fact that we are running slower than last year and thata 1:30 finish time is an even 9:00 pace…
Mile 4 9:22
Not sure why we are still running this slow of a time. It doesn’t feel slow nor does it feel fast. We have little protection for the sun, and it’s still cold.
Mile 5 9:20
No more sun! YAY! That right there was nice. I’m a little tired but I feel fine at this point. I plan on taking my GU at the next water stop
Mile 6 9:07
It didn’t feel like we picked up the pace that much, but we dropped closer to 9. Now that it’s around 9am or so there is more traffic around. There are patches of construction here and there that give a small clue onto a reason of the increased traffic.
Mile 7 8:49
Marty and I picked up a gentlemen by the name of (I think) either Ken or Roy… not sure which… you can tell that we picked up the pace a little and it was nice. I could begin to feel that I was getting fatigued. Ken-Roy did a great job up one of the larger hills out on the course… for 61 he was quite a speedy fellow. The three of us talked about a bunch of different stuff while we ran.
Mile 8 9:03
Some where here, my body go over the little plateau of feeling fatigued and I had a little surge of energy. I knew that I was going to need plenty of strength and energy to make it back up the big hill at Mile 9.
Mile 9 9:03
The last 0.5 mile of mile 9 is a small hill, a decent downhill, then you turn and go back up the big hill you ran earlier, except going in this direction is worse. Not only is it late in the race, the hill is much longer. The only reprieve that you have is that it’s not as steep and there are about 3 different grade during the course of the hill.
Mile 10 7:41
Fast huh? After coming off the downhill, we just kept the pace up a bit. At this point, I knew that I wasn’t going to keep that pace very well, it was just too fast for me. At the 1/4 mile mark, the course levels out and actually has a little descent slope as you round to the finish. I was about 3 strides behind Marty in the final turn and we both were approaching this woman (who I found out is just 14).
I had in my mind that we might make 1:30 somehow, if we were close I would go all out for it. However, my in-race strategy changed a bit… as I pulled up even with Marty, we passed the female runner. We are in the parking lot now and have maybe a tenth of a mile or something. I am already at full speed just to match up with Marty when the female runner starts to make a surge.
Not today Missy. As I “feel” her trying to catch up… I find an extra gear and take a couple of longer strides. I can now see the clock and it say 1:29:51. I know that technically (apart from teleportation) there is no way that I can be sub 1:30 but it’ll be close. I tell Marty something to effect “Let’s break 1:30, come on” and I take off… where I found the extra boost… I have NO idea. Perhaps Sunday when my legs are aching I will know… but I fly through the finish chute in (officially) 1:30:08. Marty was 2 seconds behind me and Lily Hope Winchester was 6 seconds behind me.
My lungs were on fire. The first thing I thought of was pneumonia… that’s what it felt like, when they have to work extra hard and there is all that gunk in there. Thankfully it was just a lack of oxygen, because as I regained my breathing it went away. The line for outside water was too long and they were running out as well.
I went inside for the big breakfast spread, grabbed some stuff and headed to the van. 2007 Calhouns was in the record books. Next race: Strawberry Plains Half Marathon February 17th…