Short ‘n Sweet
Today was race day…and ugly.
It was cold, barely beyond drizzling, and a wicked wind pushed its way through every high-tech inch of clothing I wore. But it made me feel really tough.
About a week ago I set up my racing schedule for the winter. Seven races in all, two within two days of each other. This also makes me feel really tough. And I like feeling tough.
In an effort to change things up a bit while preparing for all these races I’ve been trying to complete my everyday runs (which do not, ironically, take place every day) in new places during the past two weeks, and I’ve discovered some very nice alternatives to the exhaust-choked, debris-ridden streets I usually frequent. Never underestimate the benefits of running amidst the glories of nature, even in early winter. I’ve also been doing a little hiking, which is nice because it allows me to take more notice of my surroundings. I may not live in a place with grandeur and scope when it comes to the natural world, but there are vistas of note on a smaller scale everywhere when one stops to look and appreciate.
Last week Western Adventure (husband extraordinaire) and I took a group hike with Novella, Short Story, Sequel, and various other little works in progress. Wes prefers silent, solitary hiking. One could say this was a recipe for disaster, but a good time was had by all, despite Short Story’s noisy and continual insistence on the route being too long and that it was definitely time to go home where there was work to be done.
Novella, as usual, kept trying to run ahead and conquer everything in sight, as she is always eager for any “life enriching” experiences that may help her in her “journey to becoming.” (Sometimes she flirts with philosophy. But Wes usually puts a stop to it.)
At one point Novella and I broke away and went for a practice run in preparation for today’s 3K. I hadn’t run a race this distance before but I recognized the opportunity to get a new pace PR on such a short run so I wanted to see what I could do. And Novella just wanted to be wherever I was.
Novella does not, however, have any concept of pacing. Consequently she tires easily. But she was able to stay with me the entire run, though not without complaining that maybe Short Story was right and that this running thing wasn’t necessarily where it’s at, after all. Eventually I relented and we met back up with Wes and headed home. But I’d set my best pace since I’ve started this whole running thing so I felt good about the day…and the upcoming race.
Which brings us back to today. One thing I’ve yet to master is the timing of race arrival. I’m always way too early, which I dislike. I waste a lot of energy anticipating and bouncing around.
At least there was a nice place to
chomp at the bit bide my time. When waiting for a cold weather race to start, I always enjoy a building for warming oneself and legit restrooms for relieving oneself. I don’t mind discomfort on the actual run, but please, let’s be civilized at all other times, don’t you agree?
We were graced with such facilities today, but as the weather was warmer this year than last year (though still cold, thank you crazy winds), the turnout was large, and we were pretty packed inside the building. In any other capacity I might have worried about opportunistic groping, but I restrained myself because runners are a higher class and we do not engage in such behavior. Not before the race, anyway.
The race itself was good, though it irritated me that there was no “start” mark to know when to hit start on my RunKeeper app, which is how I keep track of my pace during the race and break down my performance afterward. As I am a beginner and well past my twenties my times are not where I’d ultimately like them to be, but my goal for today was to run a pace of 10:30/mile or below, and I came in with a 10:27/mile average, so I felt good about that. I felt really good when I looked up the instant results for women in my age group- I’d placed 11th out of 37, and I was thrilled! Somehow when the official results came out later in the day I’d moved down to 15th out of 37th, though my time hadn’t changed, so I’m not sure what that was all about, and it pissed me off to have been bumped out of the top third, but there’s always another race, I suppose.
As always I met great people, saw lots of nifty running gear, only eavesdropped on two conversations, and felt privileged and ultra cool to be a part of the awesomeness that is the running community. Back home I congratulated myself on my new PR with a day of movies and several of the desserts I’d been denying myself all week.