Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

My legs can keep no pace with my desires...

So I did it. Proved you really don't need to *actually* run to get fit to run :) Ummmm that's to be filed under the "don't try this at home category" k? It is definitely not recommended. But it did work for me.

Yes so I followed through and actually ran the 15k race I signed up for back in June and earned my pretty jacket. Sweet! Better yet -- I'm not horrifically sore (I expect to be tomorrow and Mon of course, but last time I tried that game I was dying by km 7 -- this time fine. But this time I'm also xc/event fit, so that helps a whole lot :)

I *am* thoroughly annoyed that my computer seems to be eating my photos as we speak. 3 of my favs have mysteriously vanished between the camera and the computer :( NOT kewl. I didn't take enough to sacrifice the couple good ones! The few remaining ones are up on fb.

So the race...

Parked the car in the designated location and hopped on a school bus to go to the park where it would all begin. Wandered around looking at some of the costumes (what *is* it with dress-up this week???) and spoke to one of the pace faeries about appropriate time for someone who's never done this before. I didn't bother to mention the complete lack of training. hahaha She suggested, based on my one-time 5k speed of about 1/2h to aim for 1:45. I was thinking 2, so that seemed ambitious but why not?

Grabbed a power bar while I was hanging out and ate about half of it. Ugh. Pretended to stretch a little bit and did the small-talk thing with some random strangers. A few had t-shirts that amused me -- I took photos but they've been eaten :( I hate my computer some days. Both were printed on the back - one was something about "I hope you can read this so I'm not last" another had something like "tough times pass, but tough people last" -- she was in "my" group for the first part of the race (she probably belonged there :) so I saw that one a few times.

They announced the 10 min warning, so I meandered my way over to the start area. Have to wonder about the ones who were jogging and bouncing around. Really? You're about to run 15k. Don't you think you could put that energy to better use in 10 mins or so? Sheesh.

So I found myself around the 1:30 pace faeries and decided I'd start with them then fall back to the 1:45 ones when I couldn't keep up anymore. So much for the 2 idea eh? Some random stranger who knows nothing about me or my fitness level suggests 1:45 so I immediately aim for 1:30. Oh comeon, you're not new here >;-P But @ least I was realistic that it wasn't a serious goal. More of a curiosity thing: "I wonder how fast this really is?" So there were two 1:30 faeries -- one doing walk/run and the other doing continuous run and they were having a mini-war between them. Now I'm not sure exactly how the bet can work since if they do their jobs correctly they'll actually end at the exact same time... hmmmm perhaps number of people who go with them? Don't know, but kinda puts the tortoise and the hare theory to the test eh? (side note - it took me about 4 tries to spell tortoise -- and that's *with* a dictionary and a spell check. Sheesh. Bad memories of early illiteracy! Fortunately for me that's not really a word I care all that much about :) So the turtle and the hare it is...

And I rediscovered that I make for a really poor turtle. I can't do slow and steady to save my life. Go hard or go home. When I run I want to really run. Not that I'm even remotely fast -- don't get me wrong -- but I want to at least pretend to be. And when I'm done, I'm done. hahaha

However, at least I KNOW that little fact about myself. So I followed the 1:30 walk/run fairy. (and to those of you who run who are cringing every time I type that saying "it's a pace BUNNY you idiot" all I can say is, this is not your traditional race. Here they were very definitely pace faeries. I *had* photos to prove it... *sigh*) And she starts running. At a pace I can do easily, but I honestly wasn't sure for how long. And as we past km 2, I was starting to wonder when the walk portion would be kicking in *g* Keep in mind - what very little conditioning I did, was usually at run 2-3min/walk 1-2min. So this was a little more excessive. And faster. But we did eventually get a walk break. A too short walk break imho, but sobeit.

I stayed with that group till about km 5. And then I added a walk that just wasn't in that evil fairy's grand plan and they left me long behind. However, in following them I did learn about the accepted standard that if you're going to abruptly slow down, you raise your hand to alert the people behind you. This is very civilized all-round really. So I adopted that practice throughout the rest of the race.

Shortly the 1:30 turtle caught up so I ran with them a bit, but by the lovely drink area just before km 6 I knew I was more of a snail than a turtle and let them go on while I stopped for a sip of water (note I was @ least smart enough that it was A, a *sip* and B, not Gatorade. Which I love. But which I can't actually drink while being active.). So here we hit the one and only "hill" in the race. Which, to put in perspective, is as close to flat as it gets near the farm where I was "training". But it was a good excuse for a walk break.

And from then on in I was my own pace fairy. I'm an *awesome* pace fairy. So long as you don't care what pace you're going >;-P Esp once it got darkish and I couldn't see my non-indeglo second hand any more *g* While I could read the watch, I tried to stick to 2 min on, 1 off. Then it was just kinda run when I felt like it or if too many people were passing me and walk when I didn't feel like running any more. I think I actually run *more* with that system than with the watch. I was figuring I'd join in the 1:45 walk/run group when they caught up to me. Added in a very short stop at the halfway lighthouse to take a photo. Which got eaten :(

About this point I met up with another girl about my age who seemed to be doing about the same walk/run rate as me. We leap-froged (leap-tortoised? That image just doesn't work at all!) for the rest of the race. Which promptly made it a race between me and her -- at least in my mind. I'm quite certain she was racing someone faster who was ahead of us in hers. Sadly I'm reasonably sure I lost that one. I think she passed me about the 13k mark and I didn't see her again after that.

Around km 8 my ipod starts singing "see how far we've come!" hahaha that one amused me. As did "just don't stop" around km 11.

I have to say the cheering squads with cowbells and noise makers actually made a rather huge difference. How can you slow down with a clanging cowbell next to you? It makes you smile and keeps you going. Or @ least it did me.

I made it to about 12k before my quads started to tighten. Significantly better than the last time I tried this game and not even brutal. Just a minor "hey, we're here and you'd better have another plan to get us home," type warning. No worries. And somewhere in the last 3k I suddenly felt absolutely perfect and had a wicked burst of speed. Passed all sorts of people. Pretty sure I've never run that fast ever. And just as my brain was starting to wonder what exactly was going on, it ended. Abruptly. Body to brain: ">;-P I was just kidding; you didn't think that'd last did you?" Definite slow walk break for a block or two (back out of the park on the street by this point) to recover that one. But recover I did and was able to run the last 500m at a reasonable pace and not collapse as I crossed the finish line *g* Really felt more stressed after the 5k a couple years ago than this one. Thought that was pretty kewl.

The 1:45 fairy never caught up :) Have to admit I was pretty stoked about that. I think I was in the 1:40-1:45 range, so they probably weren't too far behind, but all good.

And when I did cross said finish line a nice young lady asks "do you want a medal?" YES I want a medal. What a silly question. Of *course* I want a medal :) My poor tired brain was trying to figure out if anybody ever said no. Fortunately tired though I was all civilization censors were in place so what came out was "yes, thanks". hahaha Possibly the first time I've ever been really proud of a participation award *g*

Oh wow - official stats are up already. Sweet. They def weren't when I started typing. Soooo... I was 1:41:18.5 -- so I definitely beat the 1:45 pace fairy. Woohoo! Out of the women I placed 496/1112 (there's no number for how you did out of everybody). In the top half even :) Yeah me! In my category (women 30-39) I placed 200/345. Boo, less good there. Ah well -- we'll pretend most of them trained for it >;-P My pace was 6:46? I don't actually know what that means... Anybody still reading this who could clarify?

Sort of interesting that there were significantly more women than men running. Is that normal or is that because of the atmosphere of this particular race? I somehow expected a more even balance or even more men than women. Not sure *why* I thought that, but somehow I was surprised when I saw the #s.

Awwwww photos aren't up yet -- I was all set to be *really* impressed by their turn-around time :)

So random lessons learned:
- the blister that forms and hurts the most while you're running is the one that's the smallest
- runners and cyclist wear form-fitting clothes for a reason. Loose shorts, comfy though they may be = bad idea.
- even though the slick fanny pack seems comfortable, make sure there are no pressure points... Didn't even realize that one hurt till I took it off. Ouch.
- shoe laces s.b. double knotted.
- make sure your ipod is charged before you go (my 1/2h charge seemed to work, but I was worried for a bit)
- running is not the ideal way to take photos
- lights that appear randomly behind you are likely a car on course - move over
- if someone puts a hand up in front of you, be prepared to go around them.
- and most importantly: the hare will always win. Every time I was on a walk break being passed by a tortoise, I would pass them again as soon as I started running and they'd never catch up a second time.

It's amazing how many of those are clothing related >;-P Ugh. We'll just leave it on that.

Alright so now I appear to be babbling, so methinks tis time to sleep... Perchance to dream... hahaha sorry - couldn't resist *g* I'll stop now. My apologies if this account is less than coherent; I feel great but my brain seems to be a touch tired :) Night!


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