The alarms were set for 5:30 and 5:45, respectively.
The plan was to leave the house at 6:30 which would mean arriving at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco at 7:00, allowing plenty of time for parking, shuttling, sweat-checking, and peeing before an 8:00 race start. Having a good 45 minutes of prep time before leaving the house was going to be positively sedate. Everyone else would be asleep, and all I'd have to do would be get dressed, brush my teeth and put in my contacts. And take my arsenal of daily supplements, fill my water bottle, grab a banana, put on my shoes, and
fix prepare my hair. You know, the stuff you do before you leave the house in the morning.
But we all know that "Sedate" is not one of my middle names.
I operate more like this...
The first alarm went off at 5:30. I turned it off and lay there until the second one went off, and at that point I got out of bed. I went downstairs to start my prep routine and I noticed that the kitchen clock showed
How did it take me 45 minutes to walk down the stairs? A conversation later with Cupcake's boyfriend yielded the possibility that I had slipped into a wormhole. That was much more interesting than the reality...the batteries were low on the clocks (yes, both of them!) and they were running 40-ish minutes slow :(
Sedate morning over. Assume hyperspeed.
I was out the door by 7 and in SF by 7:30 and watching a whole ton of runner people walking toward Golden Gate Park. At this point I didn't have time to park in the designated lots and use the designated shuttles...I was on my own. In honor of Superb Owl Sunday, I'll say: It was time to punt ... or Hail Mary ;-) Somehow I superscored a proximal-ish parking spot and high-tailed it, arriving at the gear check just as they collected up the barrel with my number on it! Wooo hooo! Skidding in successfully ... see pic above.
Valuable Race Lesson #1 from today's experience: If you wait to use the portapotties until they've begun to sing the Nat'l Anthem, there are NO lines! No lines = no waiting. Genius. Must remember.
Valuable Race Lesson #2: If running in a mob-scene-type race with a timing chip set-up, don't worry if you miss the gun because you are using the portapotty...your start is registered when you cross the mat and the crowd might even be a little thinned out :) Since I run for fun, keeping the stress level low is important. Reducing worry = less stress.
Valuable Race Lesson #3: People who tell you a course is 'all downhill'...or even 'mostly downhill and the rest flat'...are liars. Okay...maybe they aren't liars, but never assume a race is going to be any easier than it might otherwise be based on these sorts of statements. Bolded and italicized because this is important!
On to the race...
I had no real idea going into this how it would be for me. I hadn't run 'hard' since my timed mile on December 8th and had run maybe a dozen times since then. I'm running physically differently now and in a new kind of shoes. My spirit has been tested and I've had some really low times lately. Yet today, I went into my race unafraid and bubbling over with curiosity.
Starting out, I was behind walkers and strollers. It was a combined start of a half-marathon and a 5K with a split about a quarter mile up the road. There were far more people entered in the half-marathon than the 5K, so at the split things thinned out pretty nicely. I was feeling fairly spry but running conservatively, waiting for that perpetual downhill to begin at which point I planned to fly...as best I could, anyway. I surmised about a mile into things that the course could be better described as 'rolling' and I'd better just listen to my body and forget about that whole 'downhill' thing.
Additionally, I knew that this course would be long. The website said so. This is not just the ramblings of a Garmin whiner. The course for the 5K is not a certified course and runs long...and who knew just exactly how long 'long' would mean? They claimed 3.2, but I decided I was going on Garmin distance as far as calculating my pace.
Once I settled into a rhythm, I passed a few people and got passed by fewer...which felt nice. I only remember one woman passing me for good...the others I re-passed. I chicked a couple of guys, and got duded by a few. I negative-split every half mile. This last point pleases me greatly. But what pleases me even more is this: My hip did not hurt. Bolded and italicized because this is important!
Official chip time: 27:10 over 3.3 miles, which works out to an average pace of 8:15/mile.
I finished 19th out of 628 in my age group. I was the 76th woman out of 1978. I placed 249th overall out of 2883.
The best part of this race, however, aside from the 'hip not hurting' part, was meeting up with Tricia and Cupcake and getting to meet Cupcake's boyfriend. As her West Coast Mom, I needed to check him out. Based on our super long walk back to my car, he passes the XL Test of Awesomeness. But he'll never know I said that and really, who cares but me?
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend :)
***Missie guessed 27:08... only 2 seconds off! She wins the prize! Missie, tell me in an email where to send it :) ***