Sunday, May 08, 2005

Snazzy gift basket of Avon Skin So Soft sunscreen, bug repellent, perfume, candles and chocolates that I won today in the Mother's Day 10K Silent Auction. Too bad I can't give it to my grandmother, in CA.

Where in the world is Bex?: Well, it's been a week since I last posted. As the weather's been getting warmer, I've been getting more lax in posting. I want to spend as much time as possible outside. Plus, I've been beat from the late nights at work. Thanks for bearing with me.

So let me bring you up to date.

Mother's Day 10K: I ran in this 10K today. I almost didn't make it to the race, though. I woke up at 7:30 a.m., and thought, 'Damn it, can't I just sleep in for once?!' Then I looked outside: a crisp sunny morning in the mid-60's. Too beautiful to stay inside. So I quickly showered, ate a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, took the dog out for a quick walk, and hit the road.

E., who gashed his knee and hands last week when he fell down on a training run, came with me. He was still hobbling a bit as we walked to the car, but he insisted on running. "I registered for the race, and I want my race shirt," he said grimly. Okay, then.

We arrived at the race site at 8:35 a.m. The race started at 9 a.m., plenty of time to get our bibs and get ready. Or so I thought.

Uh-oh: The race site was strangely empty, no nervous runners, just families milling about and a DJ playing 70's tunes. 'That's OK,'I thought, 'They're all inside because it's pretty windy.' I ambled inside .... where I was told the race had already started, at 8:30, not 9 a.m. GAAAHHHHH!

'Don't worry, you can still catch up,' said the volunteer helping me. No time to retrieve my bib, warm up, or even digest my breakfast. I pulled my hair into a scrunchy, pushed aside a 5-year old hogging a water fountain to get a last sip ("Sorry, sweetie, gotta run!"), grabbed a race map, then hoofed it towards the starting line, about 30 yards away.

We crossed the starting line with 8:10 already on the race clock. The cops manning the race course clapped as we sprinted by, and laughed when I yelled, "Better late than never!"

We were the absolute last runners in the race - the cop car that brought up the back was on our heels. Great. The course was twisty-turny and hilly, and we almost got lost in the first 2 miles. We caught up with the walkers before mile 1, then I moved ahead of E. (who was running with a slight hitch, obviously in some pain) as we hit mile 1. Passed more walkers and breezed by some joggers at mile 2.

Stormed up the first steep hill, almost colliding with a jogger weaving all over the trail. I glanced at the race map clenched in my hand. Passed an injured runner sitting down, holding her arm, grimacing. Didn't stop as two volunteers were already tending to her.

Another volunteer looked surprised as I flew down another hill and ran by him - all the faster runners had come and gone minutes ago. I yelled, 'I thought the race started at 9!' We both laughed and he said, "Go get 'em!"

Had no idea how fast I was going. But I was pushing it. At mile 3, I caught and passed some runners. The last half of the race, we ran into a strong headwind. After the turn-around, my stomach started cramping up, the PB&J sandwich sitting in my gut like a stone. I grabbed a cup of water, but most went down my neck and shirt. Oh, well. Kept running.

At mile 4, I passed a male runner, who jumped a little when I passed him, and he said, "Looking strong!" I waved without turning around and kept going. I was passing more runners now. At mile 5, I passed a few women, who started coming after me. Or that's what it sounded like by the quickening of their cadence and heavy breathing. I ran faster. Their footsteps faded away.

My stomach was sending distress signals to my brain. Bile rose in my mouth. I pushed it down. Kept running.

At mile 6, I passed a tall, sweaty man, who also started running faster, and grunting while doing so. Yikes. I picked up the pace, my hamstrings screaming in pain, up a last, gentle incline. He hung within grunting distance for another 20 seconds. Then he also faded away.

Last right turn, the final stretch. No one's next to, behind, or in front of me within 30 yards. The sun beat down bright and hot. Spectators hooted and clapped. Sweat burned my eyes. I couldn't feel my legs as I looked at the ground, thinking, "Almost done!"

The last 20 yards: As I'm barreling towards the finish line, two volunteers taking runners' times screamed, "What's your number?!" I can't answer. I'm breathing too hard. "Are you in the race?!" they scream again. Another volunteer, my Saturday training coach, said, "Don't worry, she's a runner." I glanced at the race clock: 1:00:46. E. came in about 3 1/2 minutes later, looking strong.

Final time: 51:50, after shaving off 8:10, which was when we started. Pace average: 8:20 a mile. I'll take it. In fact, it's a new PR, even with the steep hills. The first 10K (flat course) I ran, in November, I averaged just 9 minutes a mile.

Usually, I run too conservatively at the start, as I don't want to burn myself out. Plus, I have to elbow my way through crowds of runners, which slows me down. But because of sheer panic - a great motivator - I ran fast at the start. We also had the road to ourselves at the beginning.

Okay, this is already a mega-long post, but wanted to give you a debriefing of our spring fling last Sunday. Here's what I wrote a few days ago, but didn't get around to posting 'til now:

I thought that since we had rescheduled it from Saturday to Sunday, a lot of folks wouldn't show up. Maybe 25 folks would come, 30 max. But almost 50 people waltzed in on a beautiful, if windy, late afternoon. Whoa, Nelly.

And they came hungry. They laid waste to tequila-lime and soy sauce-marinated roasted chicken wings, grilled chicken andouille and mushroom/feta sausages, grilled chicken, turkey burgers, vegeterian Singapore-style curry noodles, roast asparagus spears, a mozarrella and tomato salad, a spinach salad, coleslaw, Brie and double Gloucester cheese, crostini, artichoke and cheese dip, vegetable crudites, mini-brownies and creme puffs, and a few other dishes.

And they drank up the champagne punch as if it was water. No wonder: The punch was composed of 4 bottles of champagne, brandy, Triple Sec, Chambord, ginger ale and pineapple juice. Yum.


  1. The panic-ky late race start is not unfamiliar to me. Doh! What was I thinking?
    I am happy for your PR time. That was awesome. And the Spring Fling party sounds like EVERYbody was quite damn ready for spring.

  2. Now that's what I call a race. I haven't run with that much of a panic since years ago coming out of a bathroom to find I was at the back and only the ambulance behind. My friend and I passed a thousand runners after that. Saddly at the moment I don't have that kind of steam. Way to go.

  3. Sweet race, Bex! Got there late and still PR'd. You need show up late all the time! Too funny. Isn't it wierd how people speed up when you pass them, even though they are exhausted? I think I speed up because it kinda inspires me, or reminds me I'm slowing down.

  4. Sounds exhilarating. Congratulations on the great time.

    I'm running a 5k in Texas at the beginning of June. Kind of scared, as I'm not planning to do (much) training for it.

  5. I loved reading your report. A great way to get a PR.