Sunday, September 4, 2011

First and (Almost) Last: Ed Hansen Race Report

Today was my first 10k and my longest run to date. The day dawned cloudy, wet, and windy. Breakfast, coffee, drive to Ontonagon. Check in, dig through the goodie bag (ooh, a little watch thingie!), easy warm up, one last trip to the PlastiJohn. Soon, it is time to line up.

Bib number one- guess which excited newbie runner sent in her registration ridiculously early? Note the yellow watch thingie.

The Firehouse Alarm sounded, and we were off. About halfway through the first mile, the excitement of the start wore off and I fell into an easy trot. I had lined up at the back so it was easy to pick who to keep pace with. I reached the one-mile marker at about nine minutes. I walked through the first water station at Mile Two; I haven't mastered a technique for grabbing those little water cups without breaking stride. My trick has been to drink the water while counting 50 steps- or 100 steps if I really need a break.

In the Third Mile, my legs started planning a mutiny.
My Legs: "Why are we doing this again?"
My Brain: "Because it's good for us and we enjoy it!"
My Legs: "Easy for you to say, we do all the work while you just enjoy the ride! Hey, there's the 5K track. Let's just take a shortcut. We're dead last anyway."
My Brain: "No, I'm pretty sure that lady in the blue shirt is behind us somewhere. Besides, cheating would be a dumbass thing to do."
My Ass: "Leave me out of this."

And then, there was one mile to go. Oh, dear Mile Five, you were my favorite. My brain had talked my legs into cooperating; the air whooshed effortlessly in and out of my lungs, three strides in, three strides out; the woman that smelled so strongly of fabric softener was no longer directly upwind. The course went into a thickly wooded area and I swear I felt that the trees knew who I was. They watched me pass, indifferent and aloof but not unkind. The very wind seemed to boost me along, willing me to go faster and stronger. Maybe I experienced just a bit of that euphoria I've heard about, a runner's high effected by the beauty of the surroundings and given to me like a gift.

Before I knew it, I was approaching the last corner, and there was my family, cheering for me. "Go, Mom! You're number one! Run faster!" Picking up the pace seemed to require no effort at all; I think I was going all out at that point, but it didn't really feel like it. The fatigue of my effort was right behind me, though. As soon as I stopped my whole body felt shaky and weak.

In the end I finished last in my age group, gender rank 19 out of 20. I came in right behind a seventy-year-old man with a limp. I'm just kidding; he's really 61. My time was 1:02:59, my pace 10:09 per mile, so I was a little off my goal pace of 10 min/mile, but that might have been unrealistic anyway. I didn't win any awards- not even a door prize- but I feel like I came away from this with a great deal. I'm so thankful to be a runner, no matter how slow.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Yeah, baby!

1 comment:

  1. Hysterical read! Love your recap :) Also, got one of those watch thingees--if it said it was waterproof, don't listen to them! Congrats on your first 10K!