Saturday, July 23, 2011

Race Report: We Will Not Lay Down To Cancer 5K

What a crazy morning.

It had a great ending, but getting there was challenging.

But, let's start at the beginning. We'll get to that awesome picture later.

It's been smoking hot the past 2 days and today was supposed to be not as bad, but still very hot. I had been mentally preparing myself for a warm race, only to wake up at 7 am and see it was cloudy. And, not as hot. Both good.

Ate breakfast (2 Luna bars, lest you thought it was nutritious) and got dressed: running tights, tight white ladies' tank (to keep muffin-top jiggling to a minimum) and new white men's medium wicking shirt from Champion.

The latter was significant because A) Up until now I had only been running races in black (for obvious reasons) and B) The shirt was a medium. But I moved to white because it's summer and running in black is stupid, vanity be damned, and a medium because the large was too big (even though I loved how it covered my butt).

Then I got my gear together. I have a ridiculous amount of junk I wear or bring along when I run. I grabbed my running bag and tossed it in the car. Also plugged in the GPS, since the race was about 30 minutes away and I didn't know how to get there.

Said goodbye to the family, turned on and programmed the GPS, and headed off. Then the skies opened up. Torrential rain and thunder. Then, less than a mile after I pulled out of the driveway, the GPS just shut off, even though it was plugged into the AC adapter in the car. Turned it on again, programmed again. A minute later, shut off. Well, this is annoying.

I pulled over and manually reset it, usually that works on the rare occasions it's being weird. But, again, shut off after less than a minute. Called home and asked my husband for directions.

It stormed nearly all the way to the race, then let up. Yay. Parked, got my bib, came back to the car, geared up (hat, glasses, SPI belt, Garmin, Nano and headphones) then headed to the ladies room. 3 stalls, roughly 1 million women. I waited in line inside the high school and then here comes more rain. Downpour again.

After a loooong wait for the ladies (a race-day staple), I went outside and saw the rain let up. It was cool. Nice!

Soon it was time to line up, and as usual I huddled with the semi-elite elderly runners. Just before the start, torrential rain again, now with thunder. But, interestingly, not one moan of complaint. Except for the kids being pushed in running strollers. They were Not. Happy. Understandably. But everyone else took it in stride, literally, and took off. Guess there was no lighting or else I'm pretty sure they would not have started the race.

I crossed the start line, hit Start on the Garmin and play on the Nike+ app on my Nano. 25 yards later, my Nano is imploding: shuffling, fast-forwarding then shutting off. I'm freaking out, I run with music. It gets me though. How could I run just listening to the sound of my own labored breathing?

For the first three-tenths I'm running and frantically button-mashing the Nano (which has no buttons) trying to get it to work. It was raining so hard, the drops were hitting the screen and the Nano thought I was pushing the touch screen. Downpour, race start, no music. This sucks.

The Nano was wet and I was soaking, and I couldn't get any purchase on the screen to finger-swipe from the Nike+ app to just a straight playlist. Eventually I was able to dry off a finger and the Nano quickly enough (all while continuing to run) to get to a playlist, so I had music. But I had to cup the Nano in my hand for the rest of the race instead of clipping it to my collar like I normally do. By cupping it I could shield it from the rain and hopefully keep it from fracking up again.

The agita over the Nano situation made the first mile go rather quickly. I checked my Garmin and saw I was running at a pace about 2 minutes faster than normal. Too fast, so I tried to slow down and get into a rhythm.

The rain and thunder continued, and it was raining ridiculously hard. It didn't bother me, and it was actually fun. It had cooled significantly and despite being absolutely soaked, it was nice. I'm not a fan of wet socks and shoes, though, but I would still take running in a driving rain every day (and twice on Sunday) over hot and humid conditions.

Pretty soon we were at Mile 2 and a water station, which was kinda amusing given everyone was absolutely soaked to the bone. We looped around and soon were headed back. I looked at the Garmin. I could PR this. I could finish in under 40 minutes, a goal of mine. I finished the last race I ran in 40:14 and I had been hoping to get under 40. I could actually do it this time.

Two significant things happened in Mile 2. Around 2.5, the rain stopped. At 2.85 my Nano shut off and refused to turn on again. Well, I had to run the rest without music, but at least there was not a lot left. Soon up ahead I spotted one of those school zone traffic signs, which meant the finish was coming up. Then I spied the 3-mile mark.

I had been trying to reserve energy so I could sprint the last tenth once I got to 3 miles. Passed the sign and sped up. I turned the corner and there was the chute and the finish line. Looked at my watch, which just passed the 37-minute mark. Yes.

Went over the line at 37.27 according to my Garmin. We weren't chipped for this race, so no idea what the official time was.

I headed straight for the bottled water and sat on a big rock, trying to get my breath back to normal. And then it started to pour again. But I still didn't care. I finished and finished well. I could not get any wetter. Seriously, I have never been this drenched in my entire life because when it rains this hard, I tend to stay inside, not run around outside for 30+ minutes.

After 2 bottles of water I headed back to the car. I needed a picture of my drowned rat status and I needed to find someone to take it. Then I saw the guy parked next to me was changing. Perfect. I went to the car, grabbed the phone I wisely left in the dry car, set up the camera and asked shirtless neighbor to take my picture, striking my best Wonder Woman pose. Thank you shirtless stranger, you took the best picture of me ever.

Seriously, look at the daylight between those thighs. I should wear running tights everyday, everywhere. The lighting is not great, but I assure you, that's me.

Then I realized shirtless stranger was changing out of his wet shirt and into the nice, dry event shirt. Good idea. I did the same, leaving my tank on underneath, thankyouverymuch. And then I found a towel I always leave in my running bag. Yay, my good fortune continues, I could dry off a bit without soaking the car seat.

So, even though my electronics failed me, running in the rain was pretty great. Maybe not in November, but today, it was super.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, that picture is AMAZING! Wow, just Wow!
    Nice race!