Sunday, June 26, 2011

Run 4 Independence–Race Report

What, you didn’t know I was running a 10K this weekend??  Yeah, neither did I!  On Thursday morning, IronHubs mentioned the Run 4 Independence – this is a race one or the other of us has participated in for the last four years, and it’s practically in my back yard – and was saying how it would be something fun to do this weekend.  I checked my training schedule and I had six miles down for Saturday anyway, but I sure didn’t feel trained up for a fast 10K.  We tossed the idea around a little, but didn’t come to a firm conclusion to actually run it until Friday night – talk about deciding at the last minute!

Big Boy and Little Boy were both a little apprehensive about running an unscheduled 5K, but I knew their tri training would carry them through to a strong finish.  IronHubs went back and forth between wanting to run the 5K or the 10K and eventually decided that he could reach for a 5K PR.  I knew for sure I couldn’t touch my 5K PR (at a 7:35 pace, that one might stand on the record books forever), but I felt like I could at least come close to hitting my 10K time.


Even though the race didn’t start until 8:30 and we had less than a five minute drive to get there, I was up at my usual 4 am.  Stupid body clock!  I drank my coffee, played around on the internet for a while, got ready and started feeling a little nervous.  What the heck was I doing running a race I hadn’t prepared for?  I don’t like racing unless I can do my best.  And worse, I hadn’t had any time to decide on a cute outfit!  I changed clothes a few times and eventually went with my favorite bright yellow/green shirt, a comfy black skirt and my Vibrams.  How exciting to be racing in them for the first time!

run4independence 002Can there be too many pictures of me without makeup on the internet?  I didn’t think so.


We arrived nice and early because of course we hadn’t pre-registered, but the lines were moving quickly so it took less than 15 minutes to sign up and get our bibs and shirts.  They were using this awesome paperless system from BazuSports where you register and pay on the computer.  After the race, they had instant results – you just typed in your bib number and it showed you your time and rank!!  Technology is a wonderful thing…

The weather was absolutely perfect – high 50s and just a little breeze.  Chilly enough to get cold while standing around waiting for the start, but hot enough that you warmed up instantly when you started running.  We sat in the car to stay warm for a bit, then all four of us did a quick half-mile or so warm-up.  When it came time to line up, we sent IronHubs off to the very front of the starting line, Big Boy was two or three layers back and Little Boy and I hung back about four or five layers.


The 5Kers and 10Kers started at the same time and ran the same route – the 10K was two loops of the 5K course – so I told Little Boy that he could run with me as long as he wanted (or could keep up), but he shouldn’t try to get ahead of me.  Little Boy is a sprinter.  He would much rather run really, really fast for a short amount of time than keep a steady pace for any real distance.  Based on his other 5K races and the long runs we’ve done together, I honestly didn’t figure he’d still be with me at the 1 Mile marker.  Of course, being a mom, I didn’t really want to run away from him, either!  So imagine my relief and excitement when we hit the first mile in 8:09 and Little Boy was still at my side running strong.

Up ahead, I could see Big Boy running with a friend of his from Cross Country who is older and usually much faster.  As it turned out, Big Boy hung with his friend – at the older boy’s pace – for the whole race!  I searched for IronHubs, but couldn’t pick him out of the crowd.  Thinking about it later, I think I was looking too far back in the pack, but he was way up near the front!

The great thing about running with Little Boy was that I was pretty focused on him and how well he was running, so I didn’t think very hard about my own race.  I wanted to run strong, but I didn’t want to push so hard that Little Boy or I did a crash-and-burn.  We cruised through Mile 2 with a 7:56 pace.

Somewhere around 2.5 miles, Little Boy started slowing down.  I knew I was pushing him faster than he would have gone on his own and honestly, I couldn’t believe that he had run that hard for that long already, but I didn’t want him to fizzle out so close to the finish!  I kept encouraging him and he kept rallying back, staying right on my back pocket.  When we hit the Mile 3 marker and could see the finish line, I gave him a high-five and told him to give it everything he had.  I was so ridiculously proud of him!!  Little Boy crossed the finish line at 25:06, an 8:05 average pace and well over two minutes faster than his previous best time!

As Little Boy sprinted into the finisher’s chute (and I ran past it and headed out for a second lap), I saw Big Boy and IronHubs cheering for us.  I hollered at Big Boy, “How’d you do??”

“22:21” he shouted back, with a huge smile on his face.  Holy crap – that was incredibly fast!

“Awesome job, buddy!!!”  I pointed at IronHubs, “How was your race??” 

He sort of smiled and said, “I did okay.”  What the hell did that mean? 

So I asked again, “What was your time??” 

He shrugged.  “It was good.  Go run a negative split, P!!”  {I know that looks like a lot of conversation, but it was super quick and I really was running the whole time.}

ARGH!  I spent the next half mile vexed by IronHubs’ non-answer to my question.  Did he PR?  Did his race suck?  And how the heck was I supposed to run a negative split when I had already given everything I had on the first lap??


After spending the first lap focusing so hard on Little Boy, it was strange to be out there on the second lap, suddenly alone with my own thoughts.  And boy, was I alone.  This was definitely a 5K race with a few 10Kers, just 204 of us.  I liked how open the road felt, though, and how easy it was to spot the other runners and reel them in.  First, I picked off a guy who had apparently gone out too hard and was walking.  Too easy.  Then I passed a teenage boy.  Better.  Then I passed a guy about my age.  Oh, yeah, baby!  I was running hard and it was starting to hurt.  I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station and dumped it on myself to cool off.  I started passing the 5K walkers who were taking up the entire roadway.  I didn’t waste any energy being frustrated at them, I just kept running. Don’t be afraid.  At Mile 4 (8:04 pace) I set my sights on a guy quite a ways ahead of me and told myself I would catch him by Mile 5.  It took me until almost 5.5, but I got him (Mile 5 – 7:43 pace).  The runners were fewer and farther between by now and I had stopped noticing the walkers. 

With nobody else to pick off, my focus faltered a little and my stomach started letting me know that I was pushing harder than usual.  With less than half a mile to go, I was forced to make a choice:  slow down or throw up on the side of the road.  I didn’t like either one of them!  I opted to slow down a little because I thought puking would be worse on my finish time.  I thought about Kim’s post the other day and realized that I was willing to suffer to meet my goal time, but not enough to vomit.

I passed Mile 6 (7:51 pace) and came around the final corner.  I could see the finish line!  With a tenth of a mile to go, the clock said 49:xx.  Sh*t!!  I would never make it in under 50 minutes!  I had already dug as deep as I thought I could go, but all I wanted in the world was a finishing time that started with a 4.  Was that too much to ask?  No, it was not.  I reached down and dug a little deeper.

There were all my boys, waiting for me and cheering.  There was the announcer, calling my name.  And there was the clock, 49:55 – I did it, I did it, I did it!!  PR, baby!

I crossed the finish line and pretty much collapsed, gasping for air and praying I wouldn’t throw up in front of the kids.  Of course I forgot to turn off my Garmin.  I grabbed my Gatorade out of the cooler we always bring to races and found some shade.  I walked around a bit so my legs wouldn’t lock up.  Finally, I got to hear about IronHubs’ race – he had PR’d, too!!  The whole family had set personal bests, what a day!

We went to check the computerized results – seriously, how cool is it to get instant results rather than waiting around for the RD to print them up and post them? – and when I saw my finish time, it finally occurred to me that I had been about 15 seconds off the start.  Duh!  So I ended up getting a HUGE PR!


Yes, I know I’ve gone movie-crazy lately, but it’s so much fun!

The song is L.E.F. by Ferry Corsten.


This race was held in a huge local park that has a dog park, baseball diamonds, running trails and a good-sized lake that is home to hundreds of ducks and geese.  As we were walking back to the car, we went past a couple of geese.  I slowed down as this one goose marched right up to me, because I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, and IT BIT ME!!!  No joke!  And it would have bit me again had I not bonked it on the head with the cooler I was carrying!  Needless to say, I screamed like a little girl and ran away.  Thank goodness it didn’t follow me!

run4independence 046Goose bite.

I hope you are having a wonderful (goose-bite free) weekend!!


bobbi said...

YAY!! What a great day for your WHOLE family!

Michael said...

I love the movies. what a fun way to keep track of your racing adventures. Congrats all around!! Way to go family! It's cool that you can all do this together. And dang your kids are fast......way, way faster than me!

Alma said...

Sweet! The P Family kicks ass!! Nice job on that 10k - so great that the clock spurred you on to dig deep and get an even better PR than you initially thought. RiGHT ON!

In other news, thanks so much for the comment yesterday. It was very comforting to hear from you. Not sure what my plan will be but hope to bounce back soon.

Megan said...

Way to go!! Great time! You are more than just an "average" athlete!

Char said...

I know how I feel when I PR. I can't imagine how it feels when your whole family PR's. Did your car float home Jetson-style because no-one's feet were touching the ground?

Laurie said...

Nice job PR family!!! How cool. You guys are so awesome. :) Great job on the movie too.

I can't believe a goose attacked you! Good thing you had that cooler. Those things can be so mean.

ajh said...

Awesome job to your whole family. You all rock! What a day for you. I love the technology finishing thing. So useful. I am still waiting for results on line from my race today.
I said in my post last week on the bike path I HATE GEESE. But you really have reason to hate geese! What a pain!

Kris said...

Congrats on the PR! Ha, you need this jersey from Terry.

If I could paste the picture of it I would.

The Jesse said...

great race report! congrats to your family for multiple PR's. i ran this race too, the 10k, and pr'd too :)

The Green Girl said...

Wow, this was the most exciting 10k report ever. Congratulations to the entire speedy family - you guys rocked this!

And I can't believe the goose attacked you. Crazy.