Saturday morning I woke to the sound of the winds howling outside my house. I dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs to let Jade The Boxer outside to take care of her morning business. Rain was sprinkling. Las Vegas was under a high wind warning, with sustained gusts of 25-40 MPH, bursts up to 60-70 MPH.
This was a race morning…
I contemplated for a moment bailing on the race. But I had paid and I kind of felt like I needed the boost from a race. I knew I wouldn’t run my best race, but just getting out into the environment with other runners is invigorating.
So after eating breakfast, I got myself ready to go. This nice thing was that the race started at 9:00 AM… that’s totally sleeping in! I could sleep in, eat breakfast, laze around a bit and still get ready to go to the race! (When you start work at 7 AM each day, I imagine the term “sleeping in” takes on a different meaning than it may to others! Of course, I’ve always been a morning person.)
When I picked up my race packet the day before, I was informed that the jackets were $45 each (or something like that.) They’re actually pretty decent. And since the race advertisements were about having a large group of “running chefs” I decided, alright… I’ll wear it. I never wear the race t-shirt in the race… but this seemed different.
I didn’t wear the hat. No matter what direction I put that thing on my head it was incredibly awkward. And ugly. And it would have blown off in the high winds anyway. I chose not to wear a cap during the run, since hats with bills always seem to catch in the wind and I didn’t want to have to hold it on my head all race. But hairspraying the hair around my face didn’t hold it in… I should have worn a headband or something.
I got in my car and drove to the park where the race was held. Then I hung out in my car for about 10 minutes before braving the wind, but the wind wasn’t that bad when I got out of my car. “Okay, I can deal with this.”
As I approached the area where everyone was gathered, they announced that all runners needed to start walking toward the start line. So I just followed the herd. They described the course, told us we were just 5K away from a pancake breakfast, shot the gun and we were off.
Very shortly into the race, the winds kicked into high gear once again and didn’t relent for the rest of the race. Since we were running in loops, that meant we had moments where we ran straight into the wind, times with the wind at our side and times with the wind at our back… then repeat. Which meant that I ran hunched forward to power into the wind, I ran leaning sideways as strong winds were attempting to blow me over and I ran with a pretty good gusto with the wind pushing me forward.
My heart started pounding very quickly into the race and didn’t relax. My breathing felt very labored the whole time too. That’s just part of my life lately… generally feeling like crap! I’m proud of myself for getting out there and doing a race!
There were a few of my past Team Challenge participants out there on the course. Team Vegas represents!
On the course I passed a couple running together. The guy was holding two bottles of Gatorade. The woman next to him all the sudden yelled, “DRINK!” He handed her a bottle, she took a swing and then screamed “HOLD IT!” He quietly took the bottle back from her. I wonder if they did that the whole race.
As I saw the finish line ahead and spotted the clock with a 29:XX on it… I pushed harder. My only goal at this point was to come in under 30 minutes at the point. And I did it! Not my best 5K performance… not even in-line with my “average” 5K performance… but it still made me happy.
The race was not chip timed, so after crossing the finish line we all kind of shuffled into a line to tear off the bottom of our bib number for the race organizer to put on a big ring. About 10 seconds after I got in the line, a girl walked up behind me and then shoved her bib number tag right in front of me to hand it in and said, “I’m before you.” Then she patted me on the back rather patronizingly and said, “Good race.”
Uh… what was that? Weird.
I made my way over to get some water and then decided that I would eat a pancake. And I have to say, all those chefs flipping pancakes at the griddles, they mangled a good amount of them too. I feel far better about my pancake flipping (lack of) skills now! They had pancakes with butter (Smart Balance actually) and syrup, oranges, bananas, juice and coffee.
I knew my friend Charlene was at the race, but I never saw her before or during the race. I kept looking around for her, finally I spotted one of her boys. I walked over to him, “Where’s your mom?!” He pointed me out so I finally spotted her. Charlene and I have run together for fun, we chat with each other often… yet this was the first race that we’ve run in together! FINALLY!!! (And it won’t be the last… Mardi Gras, Charlene?)
And Charlene kicked butt, like always. She won the Masters division.
Right after I got back to my car to drive home, rain started coming down harder. I’m glad that held off for the race. It would have been particularly miserable to have the rain in the driving wind.
I had fun, I’ll do this race again next year. It’s for a good cause and it was just enjoyable.