Monday, November 05, 2007

A Race Among Sheep

I raced yesterday. I woke up with a bit of a hangover from my bachelorette party-lite and the clock radio said 8:05. I logged onto my computer to start working on the wedding playlists and the little clock in the right hand corner said 7:14. Hmm. What the heck!

One of the most fun races around is a 5 mile cross country race that takes place right up the road from our house. Last year I ran it and it was the first race I ever came in first place (runner of the female persuasion--still have yet to run a race and be first overall). It has to be the hardest course of any race ever. Seriously. The course is relentless in its messed up terrain and hill after hill after hill after hill... It just toasts the legs, but it's so challenging that it's insanely fun. It's also insanely fun because it's run on a giant farm. So we run past sheep and cows and crops and through horse barns. It's one of a kind!

Last year I went on and on about it and this year when I realized we still had time to sleep in and still make it, mrp and I went for it. I dug through my running clothes and found another team uniform top and some shorts that kind of matched (I still haven't washed the other uniform since the marathon--ew, I know!) We hopped in the car and sped off to the park to register and warm-up and stuff.

I saw two of my teammates right off the bat. One was absolutely certain to beat me. She's a machine. An animal. A frighteningly fast freak of nature. She seems very sweet when she's not running, but crap--watch out when she is! Yikes! It must be kind of annoying to be a really fast local runner because other runners must treat you very strangely, like you're some sort of untouchable when really you're just a person working hard and having fun. I can only speculate.

The other was the woman that always just beats me. Every time we run a race together we finish close, with her always a little ahead and me always a little behind. It annoys me. Not because I don't want her to succeed, but because sometimes I feel like I psyche myself out of running faster for fear of having to compete with someone else. Sure, I'd like to finish ahead of her, but that's more to break the cycle than anything else. Normally, I would have thought, "oh man, here we go again," but this time I didn't really mind. I was running this race for fun. Even I know that there's no way I was going to be at 100% two weeks after an even a subpar marathon, not mention slightly hung over to boot. So, I was just happy to have the competition and a benchmark to see where I am as far as recovery and post-marathon fitness.

After about 2.5 miles warm-up with mrp and countless trips to the bathroom to pee, we lined up. I got to chat with my running bud Daisy for a minute which helped me remember I was there to have fun. The downhill start also reminded me to have fun, although I probably shouldn't have had as much fun as I did since I think I took it out a little too hard again, oopsy! I went out ahead of the woman that always just beats me and even mrp. Mrp passed me at about the half mile point and I was second woman at the first mile in 6:28, which is blazing for the course, believe me.

The first mile has the most pavement and normal surface of any mile too. Shortly after the mile marker the woman that always just beats me passed me. I stayed right behind her for a while. I'd catch up, she'd pull away a bit. My second mile was 6:54. Mile 3 is a bitch. There's no other way to describe it. I think the whole thing is uphill on the most gnarly bumpy soft grass terrain and the most sharp turns you can imagine. To illustrate, my mile 3 split was 7:40--yikes! After mile 3 there are a couple of trail and pavement breaks from the rough grassy surface, but it's still insanely hilly and they are short little breaks before we get thrown back on the grass. It's hard to pick the pace back up and take advantage of these smooth sections because your legs just are so happy for the break! Somewhere in mile four the woman who always beats me pulled away a bit. My mile 4 split was 7:19.

The last mile has quite a few paved sections. It's probably about 1/2 and 1/2 paved and that crazy grass. I worked really hard and focused to push those paved sections. I knew a sub 7:00 pace was going to be close so I hauled ass. The finish of course is up a 1/4 mile long hill--thanks race director! I flew into the shoot with a final mile of 6:44 and an overall time of 35:06 and an overwhelming urge to puke--thanks bachelorette party! The woman who always beat me came in about 20 seconds ahead. I am actually happy that my worn-out legs and my dehydrated everything else was able to keep it that close. It's kind of cool though. My other teammate came in either 1st or 3rd overall with a sub 31! That's so insane on that course. So, my team came in 1,2,3. I was almost 3 minutes ahead of 4th place too! Oh, and mrp was third dude, so we have matching plastic trophies. Awww.


E-Speed said...

Wow I am so glad I slept in instead of doing this. That course would have kicked my ass after my long run Saturday :) Sorry I missed seeing you crush it though!

Joseph P. Wood said...

Exactly how much did you drink? A half a bottle of wine coolers? You know what liquor I love: Gadiva liquer. It's Kaluha on steriods.

But that's from life past...maybe...

The Salty One said...


I think you would love this race--it would allow you to put your speed and your ultra skills to good use on the same course! Next year it's a must! Good luck this weekend!


Just an OE and an a can of schlitz. No, I had like two foofy girly drinks and then two silly foofy girly shots, but that's enough for me! One of the shots was chocolate vodka, banana schnapps, and kahlua?

Heh. I am picturing you slumped in an alley with a half-empty bottle of Godiva liqueur in a paper bag...

joe positive said...

Congratulations! I can't imagine racing 1) on grass, 2) on hilly grass, and 3) hungover or at least dehydrated from 2 girly drinks and 2 girly shots. Yet you did, and did well. And (bringing this over from tusca's blog, just to be confusing) you got to pet a giant goat, too. What a great day :-)

Joseph P. Wood said...

One of the shots was chocolate vodka, banana schnapps, and kahlua?

They can fit that into a "Shot"???

I nearly spit out my coffee reading your image of me in an alley. However, once, I feel asleep under a pine tree drunk from Ice Schnapps 101. In Vermont. In February.

Joe said...

Did the woman that always beats you also have a hangover? :-)

kenyarunb said...

Sweet! YOU are a speedy machine :)


Papa Louie said...

Sounds like you had fun on that daunting course. I've got to try that race sometime. Congratulations on your performance.

GP said...

Between the last-minute decision to race and post-party condition, you should have really been awarded first place. All things considered. Without all that, it's still an awesome race. I'm always amazed.

I took to my first jog today. And as I fought back the urge to run like the wind, I had what I perceive to be your voice reminding me that I'll hurt myself if I push too hard too soon. Ahh, if only that voice would have been there before! Hee hee.

Great race and thanks for the always fabu advice and inspiration.

Chelle said...

Can't wait to hear about the wedding!

- Chelle