Monday, May 6, 2013

2013 Lake Run 12k Race Recap

My analytical brain has been in overdrive since Saturday's Lake Run.  The thing is, this was a whole new world all of a sudden.  You'll see this reflected in the stats below, but it was a whole different experience to run the Outer Loop this time.  I felt like I have Entered the Ranks of the Real Runners Distance Runners.
Here's what I mean:  I've worked REALLY hard to get up to a running speed that feels "reasonable" to me.  in a 5k I'm solidly in the middle of the pack of finishers.  I'll never win a medal, but I'm in a big group of finishers and I'm not finishing all alone (like I have a few times when I first got started).  When you finish a 5k in 48 minutes... you're pretty well on your own for that last mile.

So I've worked hard to get into the middle of the pack.  And then I started doing longer races.  And I am WAY at the back of the pack again!  That's what I mean about stepping into a new world. 
Gear Check.  No LOST BIB today.

As you'll see, the day followed the slogan on my shirt:  "May the Course be With You"  (since we were racing on May the Fourth, I just couldn't help myself...)  I started out with several women from my weekly training group - Hi, Liz! Maureen! Kate! Dawn!  We stayed together for about the first 2 miles, and when we hit the first water stop, we began to spread out a bit.  I did my scheduled 60-second walk at that point, and nearly caught up with Liz, but that was when she slowed down to GU.  I caught up with Kate again around the 3-mile mark, but we were on a hill at that point, and I refused to slow down (rules are rules).  I passed her, and we played a bit of leap-frog until around 5.5 miles.

It was about this time that I realized I had made a critical wardrobe mistake.  I was wearing a running skirt - one I've worn many times, but not since last September... and I was getting some serious chafing on my thighs.  It didn't turn into a major issue, but I'll be investing in some Body Glide before I wear that skirt again.

I had decided (wisely, I think) to wear my old shoes again this week.  I've only had the new ones for about 10 days, and only run about 4 miles in them.  It seemed like a recipe for disaster to wear them on the longest distance I've ever raced.  The downside is that I GOT the new shoes, because my old ones need to be replaced.  I know they need to be replaced because on every long run, my feel begin to feel like they've been hit by a wooden bat around Mile 5.  And that is precisely when I started having pain on Saturday.  I was in-between runners with maybe 30 yards between me and the next runner either in front or behind, and I really needed a cheerleader.  There were no houses or volunteers on the course at this particular point.  So I did what any self-respecting gadget-loving freak would do:  I used the Talk-to-Text function on my phone and texted my hubby!

"5 miles in.  My feet hurt.  Feet, don't fail me now!"
A couple of minutes later, I got a response:
"Go go gadget feet!"
Hooray for Virtual Cheerleading!  That did the trick.  Lifted my spirits just enough to get me to the 6-mile mark, when I "allowed" myself anotehr 60-second break.  [I tried to text him back and say "Thanks babe, I needed that" but my heavy breathing really had the T2T thingy confused!]

Liz and I ran most of the last mile together.  She had a fan waiting for her on the course!  It was so awesome to see her light up when she saw her friend (with toddler in tow!) waiting to greet her and give her some extra encouragement, after such a long way.  We had run over 6.5 miles at that point, and we were hot, tired, getting sore.  It was a HUGE pick-me-up for Liz, and I felt encouraged as well (like a mo-jo vampire, I was sucking up encouragement and good vibes wherever I could find them).[The weather was much warmer than anyone had anticipated - even 10 hours before the race, the weather channel was predicting cloudy and pouring down rain until 11am.  Yet somehow, no rain at all and for most of the race it was sunny and in the mid-60's!!]

I was NOT flipping anyone the bird.  At least not on purpose.
We made it up that last hill (you know the one) and knew it was all downhill from there.  In that last 1/2-mile the people who live out at the Lake were out in force - tents, beer, music blaring, and shouting so much encouragement! - it was terrific.  Especially since we knew we were some of the last few to finish - we started out in the back of the pack, and while we didn't think we were DFL, we did know it was a near thing.  It was such a blessing to know those folks had not only made the effort to cheer on the runners, throw a party, and support the group, but STAYED at it until EVERYONE was finished.  I was too winded to talk but I tried to motion with my hands and say thank you!!

Finally, we rounded the last corner and approached the FINISH line.  I tried to gauge the condition of my feet and legs, and how much energy I still had for a strong finish.  (It was definitely LESS than the week before at the 10k.)  Oh and then we saw Kathy!!  Kathy ran with us many times in our RTW group and was such a great leader!!  She rounded that turn with us and ran with us for about a quarter-mile.  Then we saw that Kate's family had come out and met her, and a couple of her kids were going to run it in with her!  [I just about cried when I saw that, it was just so sweet... until Kate got sick and threw up a little on the side of the road.   Runners.]  I kicked on the turbo boost where that stop-sign is... it's maybe 30-40 yards from the finish... and then it was done.  I made my way through the chute and out of the way of the other runners, panting and trying hard not to fall over on the wet grass.  Checked my watch and found I'd finished right where I'd planned:  1hr, 30 min and change.

Overall:  #282 of 293
Women:  121 of 130
My age group, regardless of division:  20 of 22
First time I've ever placed in a race!!  Gotta love my crazy post-run hair!
So here's what happened:  It was about a half-hour after I finished the race, I'd gotten my beer and hit the bathroom, and started changing into my dry post-race clothes.  They were announcing all the winners by age group, for each of the races / divisions.  I had my jeans and my dry shoes / socks on... when I heard my name over the loudspeaker!

In the "Foot Pounder" division:  I placed #3 of 4. This is how I ended up with a 3rd place award!  I looked this up:  last year there were 7 women in this division, and I would have been #6 to finish in that group.

It turns out no one utilizes the FP Women's division, so I feel a little like I cheated to get a 3rd place medal.  A little.  I still did get 3rd place though!

For the Lake Run, they have two options:  Women 150 lbs to 179, and women 180 lbs & up.  There are two division options for men as well, with larger weight cutoffs (I think it's 185 and 220 or thereabouts). Bottom line, I encourage anyone to utilize the weight divisions when they are an option:  you just never know!

At first I told someone, "I'm going to register as a Foot Pounder every year now!!"  but upon reflection... I really hope this is the last time I qualify for the division.

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