Sunday, July 17, 2005

Like a Virgin ...

For the very first time, I ran an 8k tonight. (I guess technically that would be last night, by now.)

This was the 20th year of the Rockville Twilighter, with somewhere around 2,000 runners.

I planned to run with a friend from work, who runs like greased lightning, and a friend of hers, who makes greased lightning look slow.

The race started at 8:45 p.m, though my nerves started around oh, 9 a.m. Number One Daughter's Boyfriend (that would be NODB), who is a real athlete, and very competitive, finally asked me what I was so nervous about. He said, and I quote, "It's not like you have a coach who's gonna be mad if you don't win..."

These damn kids and their rational questions!! Of course I had—and have—no answer. NODB told me there was no reason to be anxious, because really, there couldn't be a bad outcome, as long as I finished.

Hmm. Kid had a point.

It's weird running at night. What do you night-runners eat beforehand? And when? I had taken a short nap in the afternoon, and ate half a bagel around 5:30. NODB had said to make sure to warm up for 15 min right before the race; he said something about heartrate and oxygen, etc., which I heard as "And don't forget to blah blah blah."

We got to the site, the other gals got their bibs, and as usual, I had to pee. So, I looked at the line for the portapotties, and then ... well, let's just say I hate lines, and leave it at that.

Did I mention the race was in a residential neighborhood? Me and pee. What can I say, it's a recurring theme. I found a little corner behind an air conditioner unit, outside a business (not someone's house! I do have standards, ya know), and, etc.

That little business taken care of, I ran up and down a sidestreet a few times to get the heart rate up, per NODB's instructions.

Then, I went to the waaayback of the start. Stood next to a lovely man who said "Where's the 'forever' pace sign?" ha ha. Cuz, as usual, the pace signs went only to those slow-pokey 10 minute milers.

My friends found me at 8:42, and all of a sudden the crowd surged forward and the next thing ya know, we were running!

I kept telling these gals "Please, don't hold back for me," but they both insisted they didn't care about time, so they did hold back. Which meant my first split was, roughly equivalent to warp speed.

My work colleague tried valiantly to talk to me, to distract me, but I was a huffin' and a puffin' and could manage only, "grunt, yeah," or "grunt, ut-uh." And that was during the first mile. Nice try though!

I tried hard to slow down. And they slowed down with me! They both said they didn't care about time, and ya know what? They really did not care about time. Weird, huh. I guess when you get really good, you can stop caring.

So I slowed to a 11:20ish pace, which still felt fast. By mile three, I was feeling depleted. But thanks to my friend, a.maria, who turned me on to him, I kept the blogfather's mantras in mind: "After," and "Onward." Those are so cool.

I run four miles twice a week without walking, which I consider a HUGE accomplishment, so I thought I'd last at least that long. But around 3 1/2 miles, mind just shut off, body took over and it just started walking.

Meanwhile, did I mention that there was this thunderstorm of biblical proportions happening? It was awesome! Pouring rain, ah, felt sooo good! And beautiful lightning.

So I walked a bit, shooed my friends onward, and tried to get my 3/1 run/walk interval thing-y going on my watch, which I have enough trouble with in the daytime, when I can see, nevermind at night, with rain-covered glasses. As usual, while pushing the 20 buttons on the watch to get to the interval timer, I managed to screw up my splits.

(God this post is longer than the race.)

The course was fantastic; through a lovely neighborhood, with people standing on their lawns cheering, spraying us with hoses and sprinklers, until God took over that part—and did a mighty fine job, I must say!

After about a million years, I was on the home stretch, that last freakin' .970969536th mile.

And suddenly, I saw my two friends, running away from the finish. Hmm. Hey, guys, you are going the wrong way!! Which came out as "jry, upt hiud, uptrtr s;flslfjgs!!" They didn't see, or hear me, and sailed right past. It then dawned on me that they were looking for me!!! They had already finished, and come back to find me! Awwwwww. That was really sweet!

I saw a firetruck in the distance, and got it stuck in my head that that was the finish, because the lovely balloon arch over the start was gone. Now why did they do that? Were they just messin' with our minds??

Thinking that the firetruck was the finish, I gave it a really hard kick, even though I was pretty sure I was dying. I got to the truck, and hello, THAT WAS NOT THE FINISH. (Cue cursing.) It was about 1/3 mile from the finish.

I walked for maybe a minute, then saw that the end was near (I told you this was biblical), gave it another kick (I was running, baby!), looked up and saw the clock ticking its relentless way toward 60 minutes. Damn if I was gonna let that happen. So, I revved it up some more (wow, I sound just like a runner!), and crossed the line around 59:40.

Which turned out to be 58:18, or an 11:44 pace. And my two gal pals had found me by now, and came in at the same time, which almost made me cry, because they could have probably finished in 30 minutes!

NOD was there with boyfriend. I couldn't talk, or remove chip from shoe. So NODB did that for me.

And the rest, my friends, is now history.

I am happy with my time; I am not so happy with my endurance, but that just means it's something I have to really work on. But I feel fine, and am looking forward to a nice long summer's nap. Right through 'til tomorrow morning, when I'm really really sure I will make the front page of The Washington Post.


Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh, I would have quit right away if there was lightening. I am terrified. You are so brave! GREAT run! And, great time too. And hey, let us know if you make the front page.

About running at night. I don't really run at "night" as much as in the evening. So I don't eat before I run, I just have a snack at about 3:00.

a.maria said...

Heeeeeeeyyyy!!!!! look at you little miss runner chick. thats awesome!!!!! well done you! good run!

and you had me cracking up... i hate when you think you're running to the end, so you're all fast and like "look'a'me i'm on fire" and then you get there only to realize you're so not done yet!!! ahh good times. fun stuff ;)

Susan said...

Hey, congratulations! I'll check the paper for headlines tomorrow:) Really, you are doing great. And the endurance will come (that's what I keep telling myself, too).

Lara said...

Yay, running partners are awesome!! And Congratulations - you put in a good run and you finished!!

Erin said...

Congratulations!!! Great job!! :)

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Good job, great write up and it will definitely be in this week's run down.

jeanne said...

thanks everybody! Oh, the afterglow is lovely! It's so like childbirth: all I remember is flashes of lightning lighting up the sky, torrents of rain, and my own personal fantastic finish.

All that bad icky stuff in the middle is just g-o-n-e!

OuluRock said...

Nice job!!!

Jack said...

Great job and great report! Reminds me of my first race, I think you would have had to turn around and pick me up on the way. You can be proud!