I was excited about The Lucky Run from the minute I read about it on the Tour de Fit website. It pretty much has everything I’m looking for in a race – fun theme, not too difficult course, and the ultimate prize: an automatic PR for a new distance. Boom!
There was the small wrinkle of having the 50K I had intended to race a week before get rescheduled to the day after, which made my race strategy and recovery quite different, but – as is often the case with me – I decided not to worry about that. Have you ever noticed how I only worry about the things that I shouldn’t, and I frequently throw caution to the wind when worry might be a better option? Yeah. It’s good to be me.
I ran this race with a very dear friend-slash-client, which is not to say that we ran together, but that we carpooled to the race together and cheered each other on. This was new for me. I ran that one race that one time with a client, but other than that, I mostly go to races all alone or with my family. Sometimes I race with UltraIronHubs, but usually I’m solo. I gotta tell ya, driving to a race with a friend was more awesome than I thought it might be. (Apparently I need to get out more, huh?)
After using the facilities, we had just enough time for a nice little warm-up and then squeezed into the starting line. When I first started racing, I used to be one of the first people lining up, but now I try really hard to time my warm-up to be done pretty much as we’re singing the national anthem (or, in this case, counting down from ten). It gives me far less time to be nervous and I’m actually warmed up and ready to run. Go figure.
So the horn blasted and we were on our way. I was a little further back in the pack than I would have maybe liked, but I honestly still wasn’t sure how I was going play this. Run with caution, because I had a freakin’ 50K in less than 24 hours? Or run with the wind, because it’s way more fun? Well, my head might have still been debating that choice, but my legs were all, “Fuck it, let’s RUN!”
I had to do a little bit of weaving, but mostly I had clear pavement, which was pretty surprising in a crowd this size (about 1100 runners and walkers). I felt really, really, really good. I felt strong. My breathing was nice and even, in spite of the allergies I’m dealing with and the asthma troubles I’ve been having for the past several weeks. I could tell in that first quarter mile that it was going to be a fabulous day.
I wish I could give you a turn-by-turn description of the course or what I was thinking while I was running, but I have to tell you, I have no idea what the course looked like or what I was thinking except, “Don’t puke.” After the race, when SH and I were talking about it, she was describing what she had experienced on part of the course and she said, “You know, where we went around that pond?” I stared at her blankly. “We were on the side of the pond for awhile, and then we ran around a little and then we were back at the pond…?” I asked her what mile that was. “Like right around Mile 3. At. the. pond.” (Because when you speak slower and louder, that usually helps people remember shit.) I finally just smiled and nodded like I knew what she was talking about, but I seriously didn’t have a clue. I don’t remember a pond. I only vaguely remember a bridge and some sort of overpass. Mostly I remember the oatmeal that was sitting right at the back of my throat and the semi-formed idea that I was probably running too fast for a girl who had 31 miles on the docket for tomorrow. Oh, well! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!
Actually, I do vividly remember somewhere around Mile 2 1/2 (which was apparently at some sort of pond) looking at my Garmin and wondering how the fuck I was going to hold onto this pace for another two miles. Here’s the thing about automatic PRs for new distances – they’re new distances. And they’re hard to pace. I was totally running my 5K pace, but I had an extra mile and a quarter beyond that before I got to the finish line. Oops! When my Garmin chirped at Mile 3, I was in a world of hurt. I struggled to keep focus. I turned my music up louder and tried to squeeze some energy out of T.I. and Jay-Z telling me to bring ’em out. I got passed by a kid, which pissed me off, but I had to let him go. My fourth mile was significantly slower than the other three, but I hung with it as best I could. And I did manage to rally back for the final what should have been .34, but was .51 on my Garmin (damn tangents!) for a super strong finish.
After the Mile 4 sign I could hear the finish line, even over my blasting music, so I took out my headphones. I made it! The announcer wasn’t sure what to do with my name at first, but he tried it again and got it right, which always makes me happy. (It’s pronounced exactly like “Paula,” by the way, in case you’ve ever wondered. That H in the middle throws everybody off their game.)
|You know what bugs me about being off the tangents? My official pace was recorded at 8:30. Boooo! I was totally faster than that!|
I somehow managed to not take any selfies after crossing the finish line, but I did take quite a few photos of SH, who beat her goal time by four minutes!!
|So proud of this girl!|
Time – 36:55
Overall – 48/586
Gender – 15th
AG – 5/61
I was really, really happy with the way this race went down. Next time I might start a little more conservatively, sure, but overall I was pleased with my effort. For where I am in my training, this was actually a nice speed-related confidence-booster. I’m really looking forward to more short distance racing this year!