Well, yesterday was an far more of a marathon than a simple 12k for me.  For starters, since we had no idea when to get there and what might be happening, we got there WAY too early.  Mea Culpa.  Unfortunately, this little ‘oops’ had us standing around from 9:15 to nearly 11.  Which wouldn’t have been so bad had it been a nice, warm, sunny day.  What with the wind off the ocean, it would have been lovely.  But it was sprinkling and then raining and it turned that cool ocean breeze into something less than nice and made us all soggy and most people were huddling under trees in the lead-up to the start.

Let me tell you something about the start of a race.  Unless you are in the front line (and deserve to be there), you feel akin to cattle being being herded.  Sadly, there is little you can do to combat this feeling because it seems to be all pervasive.  A man next to me at one point remarked about everyone pushing to get into the chute being silly because the race was chip timed.  This would have been a wise comment if he himself hadn’t been pushing/being pushed. (Chip timed means that you have this little tag that starts “your” time as soon as you cross a special mat and stop it the same way.  You can be the last one to cross (either way) and still be the fastest runner based on time.)  Either way, everyone starts leaning on you right from the word “Go” and thus starts the press of thundering bodies.

So I ran.  And Ran.  For 7.5 miles according to my Garmin.  M and Sisu saw me off at the beginning with Sisu pouting that I wasn’t taking her with me.  And then I started seeing people from work!  C was timing at mile 1 or 2, D was at 6 and (a different) D and M were at 7!  I saw a tenant, B running with one of my work friends, M, saw co-worker S at the end and had seen former co-worker B at the very beginning.  I missed seeing another former co-worker, also an S, there but I hope she was!

Back to the race…Once I started moving faster I started warming up and I was so grateful for that.  After the first mile I wasn’t questioning my wearing a running skirt instead of capri or running pants and I was certainly glad that I didn’t have my wool shirt like I had wanted 10 minutes before.  That first mile was a lovely mess of dodging strollers, walkers and people who obviously weren’t paying attention to where they lined up (according to the mph markers at the beginning) and small children.  It made me smile, laugh and joke with new comrades in racing and forget that, for me, the first mile is always the hellish one.  Once I get through that point of wanting to die and thinking, “Oh dear God, Why did you let me think that I could do this insane thing?”, running, especially race running, is fun for me.  The best part of racing is that the first mile goes faster than I think it does and then I’m into it and there is no turning back.

And then the hill starts.  I say “Hill” and it is one but it is also a mile+ long steady climb that really tests your will to live.  I got lucky on this hill and was positioned near a woman and her friend who was also her running coach.  They ran/walked it and it was there pacing and breaks that got me through it.  We played pushme-pullyou nearly all the way up and then I passed them on a flat and didn’t see them again.

And then there is a downhill that makes you grateful for the uphill until your knees start to ache followed by rolling hills that keep you hoping for the next downhill.  Lucky for me, I found a partner for this time who was wearing a lovely teal blue shirt who kept giving words of encouragement to me as I gave him walk points to shoot for.  We worked as a great team for those hills, him saying he needed a break, me saying, once we hit that second pole, him saying OK and then saying run at the next mailbox…I wish I could remember his bib number so I could see how he did.  Once we hit a flat part his better speed on flats kicked in and he pulled ahead.  However, as he moved off, I got a new partner, a woman in a green jacket (despite the increase in temp, decrease of wind and ceasing of rain) who wanted someone to pace with like I did.  I have no idea who she was but I know that we laughed at the guy who had already finished and was running the other way and said that he must be doing a 24k.  We went nearly the last 2 miles together and then she caught up with a friend and joined them for the last.  And then, in the last half mile, I had M cheering for me right before the final turns and a gentleman in a green t-shirt running next to me telling me that I totally could do this and I remembered that I COULD do it and that, being within sight of the end, I totally HAD done it and so I pushed hard and finished with a smile on my face.

Bib #          age  sex                 overall/2141  – age group  – Gender/1278

284 SisuGirl 30   F F 30-34 Port Townsend WA    956   58/134   436    1:22:11     11:02

I did it.  I was done AND I had done it in less time than I wanted to.  When I first started training I was aiming for 1:15.  Then life got in the way and I downshifted to expecting a 1:30.  Then the race started and hearing my splits made me think that I could be faster because I already was faster than I expected.

I was so glad to be done because it was the furthest that I’ve raced to date and I, forgive me, was so impressed with myself.  It is so awesome to know that I can run like this.

So I moved through the gates, got my awesome t-shirt, some water, a banana and orange slice and walked about to cool off and then M took me home to shower and relax.  By this time, it was 1pm.  I felt so very done with the day and wanted to just relax.

Not possible.

I left for work at 1:45 and worked until 10pm.

Then I came home and slept.

Worn out to the core.

A very good day.