Sunday, June 20, 2010

Accidental Gets Intentional, Part 1

(This is the first race report I've ever written that doesn't involve a bike. That seems crazy!)

Friday was full of turmoil for me. I had more nervousness leading up to this 5k than I imagined could be possible. I'm always nervous before a bike race, but nothing like this.

The day was complicated by the fact that I had only two acceptable pairs of shorts to wear—one was missing and the other was in a sweaty wad in the clothes hamper. I discovered this, not the night before, as I should have done, but that morning when it was nearly time to leave for work.

After frantically throwing a load of wash in the washing machine, I headed to work. My husband doesn't work on Fridays, so I sent him a text asking him to put the clothes in the dryer when he woke up, and asked that he also send me a text to let me know that it had been done.

By 9 a.m. I was experiencing what I like to call the "nervous stomach." It's something I like to affectionately blame on my late grandmother, who was my favorite person ever. She always had it, and somehow passed it along to me. It consists of a feeling that my stomach is being tied in knots by some unexplainable, extremely strong force. It happens whenever I am really anxious about something and it pretty much stuck around all day.

I had a hard time concentrating on anything. By 1 p.m. I still hadn't heard back from my husband, so I started calling him. I called him once every half hour or so until 2:30 without reaching him. That's when I finally left the office and went home to check on my shorts.

When I got there, I found him sitting next to the phone, which he had chosen not to answer. His explanation for not texting me back was that "if you send me a text and ask me to do something you should know I'm going to do it." I won't go into the nightmare of recriminations that followed that statement, but suffice it to say that I was now in an even worse frame of mind. At least I had my shorts, though.

My next disaster was that I forgot to make a new playlist for my MP3 player. All the playlists I had were only about 20 minutes long, and normally when I'm running I have to stop and switch to another playlist when one finishes. That clearly wasn't something I wanted to do during a race. After exploring all my options, I realized I was just going to have to do a "play all," which would not only play all the songs from my playlists, but all the songs on all the albums, in alpha order, no less. It was certainly not ideal, but I figured it was better than no music. Of course, once the race started, I realized there were several horrible songs preloaded onto my MP3 player that I never deleted, and of course, as fate would have it, I had to listen to all of those. 

I arrived at the race venue with about an hour and a half to spare. I spent that time drinking water, talking with some friends, picking up my registration packet and thinking seriously about bailing. A last minute phone call to my mom and an encouraging text from the Dorktor helped a bit and were enough to get me to the start line.   

Once the horn sounded and the race started, I felt phenomenal and excited. It was in the upper 80s and muggy as hell. I went out too fast, which I realized pretty early since my breathing was all messed up. I slowed down a bit, but still kept pushing. Once I hit the first mile marker, I looked at my watch. I figured I would have run 14-minute miles or faster to meet my goal. When I looked down, my watch read 12:49. So far, so good.

To be continued (in another ridiculously long post) ...      

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


That's the magic number. Yes, I do realize that's a 14-minute mile, which is painfully slow (nothing like a 4-minute mile). So far, the fastest I've run three miles has been 46 something, and most often it has been closer to 54. That being said, my goal of 42 minutes might be a bit ambitious. But if I don't push myself, I will never get any better. This is something that has been painfully obvious during my adventures in bike racing. And for some reason, I want to push myself at running more than I have wanted to push myself at anything in a long time.

The test comes the day after tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Double Stuff Minus the Oreos

So, every now and again I decide to visit this blog and write a post. Today is that auspicious day out of the last two weeks when I finally got around to it.

Since I've been absent, I've continued my running adventures. I'm still slow, but not quite as slow, and it continues to be enjoyable. I went quite a while without riding much at all, but thankfully, that has been corrected in the last couple of weeks. Lately I've been riding at least three or four days a week. I'm running about five days a week, though, and needless to say, there are only seven days in said week. As a result, I find myself doubling my efforts many nights—starting out with a run, then changing into riding clothes and hitting the trail before dark. 
Surprisingly enough, I'm not only surviving this—I'm relishing it. 

Now, about the racing. Those of you who are observant and who are still out there may have noticed that I have now missed four (count them) races on my racing schedule. Some of you may wonder if I am ever going to race again. The answer is a resounding "yes."

In fact, I'll be competing in a race this very Friday at 7 p.m. Now here's the surprising part. It's a running-type race, namely a 5K. I think I must be crazy. 

I have a goal in mind for this race. I think it will allow me to push myself but should still be within my reach. And I think I will actually share that goal on my blog, even though I am embarrassed to admit how slow I am. Not tonight, though.

Oh, and by the way, there's an actual bike race on the horizon, too.