FOREWARD (or Be Forewarned)
If someone tries to tell you that going out with friends and having a couple (I use that term loosely) of drinks the night before a race is a good idea, don't believe him. He either a) hates you, b) thinks you're a functioning alcoholic, or c) thinks you're a much better runner than
The race had a theme: "crazy hats". I love stuff like this so I happily wore a purple velvet hat that I picked up on the streets of Georgetown back in college. It's pretty funky and retro, with a little hint of pimp. L was not wearing a hat when she picked me up at the house (a sign). When we arrived at the park and were walking to get our numbers, I realized there were about five of us out of 852 who were wearing "crazy hats". Typical. There were many a Halloween party I attended in my youth in which the party was thrown at a bar or club on the weekend because Halloween itself fell during the week. I would convince my friends to dress up because after all, we were going to a HALLOWEEN PARTY! I mean, duh. And every time we did this, we would be the only ones in costumes. Yup. This trend has followed me into adulthood, apparently (Note: If you ever attend "Pajama Storytime Night" at my son's elementary school, the pajamas are only meant to be worn by the children. Even though, they wrote in the flyer that EVERYONE should come in their jammies. 99% of the parents interpreted "everyone" to mean "just the kids". Again, I'm part of the 1%. Why can't I be part of the 1% when it matters? Like the 1% of billionaires in this country?! I digress...)
The concession area was transformed into the staging area for packet pickup and post-race snacks. We stayed warm in here until about 10:45.
I guess I was really happy to be warm.
There were pace markers at the start which was a good indication that this was going to be a large race for local standards. L and I lined up between the 7 and 8:00 minute mile signs.
(photo courtesy of M. Stroehlein)
The countdown began and the next thing you know, we were off. The cones bottlenecked the runners until we made it out of the parking lot and onto the causeway. My breathing was labored and I felt a dull nausea lurking between my stomach and my neck (see Forward). I had my usual race urge to stop and walk back to the car, but this time it was accompanied by the urge to pass out. I was exhausted. I imagined what it would be like to have your heart explode. Does this ever happen? Does it happen while running? Short distances? I passed the first mile marker where the clock read 9:07. I figured it must be 7:07 judging by my effort. My feelings of despair did not subside during the second mile, even as we turned around running back toward Field 2. The Mile 2 clock read 9:15 (7:15?). Who the hell knew? Of course, I had forgotten to start my watch, so I really wasn't sure what was going on. We passed Field 2 again early so I knew there was another turnaround in my future. I could see the lead runners on the other side of the causeway. I felt both awe and irritation towards them. When I finally returned to the Field 2 parking lot, I debated whether it was too late in the race to quit. By the time I came up with an answer, I passed the 3 mile clock whose time I did not take note of only because that last .1 seemed a lot farther than a .1 should. I crossed the finish at 23:52. I hoped the clocks were still two minutes slow, but deep down knew I was grasping at straws. They announced that the awards ceremony would be held at the next race of the series. I didn't think I would be missing anything. L and I met up. Despite the chill and wind, she managed to PR. I, on the other hand, was almost three minutes slower than my PR. On the bright side, I didn't quit and I didn't hurl and I'm pretty sure the race photographer didn't catch any gagging (hopefully).
Even though I was miserable during the entire run due to my own poor judgment and the weather, the race organization was great. Everything was well marked and the food, drink, and porta-potties were plentiful. The organizers and fellow runners were friendly and helpful. I saw the red Seldon Hills shirts out on the course which made me smile because I thought of my buddy, The Petite Pacer. I recommend this race and would do it again. Minus the hangover. And minus the "crazy hat".
Thrilled to be done.
I finished 3rd in my age group and 82nd overall out of 852. Maybe a hangover is not such a bad thing, after all.