Saturday, April 20, 2013

6th Annual Fallen Heroes 5k Race Report

When I found this race on Active, I didn’t immediately sign up for it. I wanted to see if A (a.k.a. The Kiddo) wanted to run it with me.  Over the course of a week, I asked her a few times and she was always positive that she wanted to run it with me, so I signed her up.

A week before the race, she finally got around to telling me that she no longer wanted to do it.  I was ticked off, but soon found out why – that weekend was her BFFs slumber party and she wanted to go do that instead.  I was still ticked off, and told her that she owed me $25 for the race, but gladly let her go off to the slumber party (you don’t turn down baby-free weekends! Even if said “baby” is old enough to be in high school).

I contacted Active to see if there was a way to defer until next year or to apply the race fee to another race, but they told me that I needed to contact the event director directly.  I contacted him, and after a few emails back and forth, he told me that I could have a free entry next year, so I get to run this race again next year, for ‘free’!  Pretty nice of him to work with me like that (though, if he would have balked at it, I would dropped it – it IS for the Fisher House, after all!)

When race day got here, it was cloudy, cold and looked like it was going to rain. I ended up in a black tee, Purple Haze over black tights (calf sleeves underneath), purple Bondi and cute braids.  Hindsight being what it is, I sure wish I had worn long sleeves! It was cold today.

I arrived at the starting line, early as usual, and began to unpack my race stuff. I’d already had some Protein Ovaltine at home, and ate a cheese stick on the way here, so all I needed to do was chug a PowerAde.

After that, I headed across the parking lot to pick up my packet. Holy moly, it was cold. AND it was starting to rain….. Oh, joy.

I hauled ass back to my car and hopped in, warming up with the heater.  

The first thing I did was take the cheap quarter-zip fleece (that I had the forethought to bring with me) and put it on. It wasn't much, and it certainly wasn't waterproof, but it was better than a thin tech tee.

I started pulling things out of my packet, and was glad that I also remembered to bring extra safety pins – there was a pile of them at the pick-up table, but I totally forgot to grab them, and I would rather use my extras than go back out in the cold before the race began!

I pulled out the tee-shirt to check it out, and I’m confused – what is up with the frog skeleton? Does this symbolize something? Is it a vet in-joke? I don’t know….

We also got a menu for Tijuana Flats, RoadID coupons and a free 7-day gym pass to Bailey’s Gym (never heard of it). 

I went ahead and pinned my bib to my skirt and stuck my Run for Boston bib to my back (on my Tech tee, not the fleece one), took two hits from the inhaler, steeled myself for the cold and got out of the car. There’s no going back now!

And of course – no sooner did I step out of the car, did the sky open up and begin to pour!  I headed over to the side of the parking lot where the potties were and stood in line for a few minutes before it was my turn.

Okay, so they were nice potties – they had hand sanitizer in them, but, well…. They also had these.

Who puts pictures of kittens in port-a-potties?

 I think the frog liked it, at least (it was probably warmer in here!)

As I exited the pottie, the Color Guard was presenting colors and it was time for the National Anthem. It can rain all it wants. I stopped in my tracks, put my hand over my heart and saluted my flag.

We all had about 5 minutes to stand around in the parking garage before it was time to line up at the starting line.

We all took off in the rain, and yay - I remembered to actually start my Garmin this time!  However, my iPod does not seem to be working….  I had it going with my Nike app and the Interval Timer, but I can’t hear either one of them, nor my music.  I fiddle around with the iPod, even turning it off and on again, until I finally realize what the problem is – the earbud that I’m using (I one-bud it) is dead! I switch to the other ear bud and all is well (although a little mono).  Of course, all the fiddling around screwed me up and I forgot to turn both the intervals and Nike back on! Grrrr… I will get the hang of this one day, I swear!

Ugh, it’s still raining, and still cold.  It’s not taking very long for my cheap fleece pullover to become soaked. This was a bad idea.

I was so happy to see Mile 1, and a water stop as well!  Not just water, but Gatorade, albeit the yucky yellow kind. I thanked my volunteers and kept on going. The rain was starting to let up, but it wasn’t getting much warmer out there.  I’ve gotten so wet at this point, the fleece is actually dripping! 

At the back of the pack, as usual, you start to see some of the same people over and over. This might happen at the front of the pack, too, but I’ve never been in that situation, so I can’t say for sure…. Anyway, I tried my best to do intervals, but every time I started walking, I would get passed by this tiny 6-year old who was skipping! SKIPPING! Like she was out for a day in the park. I don’t know why this bugged me so much, but it did and I was bound and determined to stay ahead of her at the finish line.

Mile 2 came quickly, with more Gatorade. And more rain. And more skipping…

I came around the last leg of the route and the turn to the finish line was in sight, and the Playlist Gods gave me “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean. One of my favorite power songs, I pulled a run out of my ass and finished strong!  I quickly turned off the Garmin (before I forgot!) and checked my time – 47:11!!  

I think this is my fastest 5k to date, PR baby!! I’ll have to check the official results for my time, maybe I got lucky and scored a Sub-47 finish?? (As of 7/15/2013, I’ve not seen any official results posted anywhere…)

Afterwards, I got my obligatory finish line photo, as well as one that showed my Run for Boston bib.  It didn’t stay totally perfect, but it lasted the whole race, so I was happy for that.

I headed back to the car real quick, and took off the disgusting drippy fleece and switched out for my nice warm Columbia jacket, and grabbed my big golf umbrella too, since it was raining again.

The awards and raffle were both moved into the parking garage, so I ended up not needing the umbrella.  Before the awards, however, we all gathered under the huge flag for a group photo.  As we were doing that, one of the race guys said that they had 2 more runners coming in (by this time, is was more than an hour since the race began), so the entire group of us who had been taking the photo became the runners’ cheering section, and it was amazing to see them come in, so proud of themselves (one of them actually slipped on the pavement and rolled with it before crossing the finish line – she was fine, but probably embarrassed!)

Once the group photo was taken, the awards were given out and all the raffle prizes were collected, it was finally time to take off.  I had a massage scheduled after this (I’d originally thought that it would be an AWESOME idea to have a massage right after a race, but I hadn't counted on the rain and cold…)

In the car, I couldn't get warm, even with the heater going full blast. When I got to the corner of 6th and 16th, I caught a red light, so I whipped off my wet race top and put on the race tee-shirt that was warm and dry. I still had on wet bra, wet tights, wet sparkle, wet shoes and wet socks, but the shirt helped a bit.

Poor Amaree didn't know what to do with me! After our chat (we always chat about my weeks beforehand so she knows what part of me to work on), once I was on the table, she needed to turn on the heating pad AND layer me with about 5 blankets, and it still wasn't really the best session – she said that she was pretty much spending all of her time warming me up, rather than actually doing any massage. So, lesson learned – no massages after a race, just to be on the safe side.

I was smart enough to bring dry clothes with me so that I didn't have to put on my wet race clothes again, and headed home.  Once home, I put on fleece lounge pants and a fleece jammie top, turned on the little heater in my office and made myself a big cup of hot chocolate.  I think it took about 3 hours before I was finally able to say that I was WARM!

Note to self – buy a rain jacket!  This is now the second race I've run in the rain, and while running in the rain can be fun, it can also make you way too cold!