Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Laws of Negativity

I almost didn't make it to the race last night. Remember how I was telling you it was a bad day? And then the whole thing with my cat? Well, that was Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday mrp's dad was in the ICU. By Thursday, yesterday, our basement was flooding because the city flushed the fire hydrants on our street and messed up the water pressure causing our hot water tank to go crazy. I came home from work to change into my running clothes and found mrp exasperated and staring at the hot water tank. I thought he might cry.

With everything that's been going on, I'm a bit taxed and mrp is beyond taxed. I really needed a fun night out but I was worried mrp needed me. I asked him if he wanted me to stay. He said no. I offered anyway. He said no. Then I looked at him and realized he really needed me to leave. He needed to be alone to freak out a little bit. So, off I went. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about him and feeling guilty on my ride to the race. But, I know mrp and I know he really meant he wanted me to go. I decided I would not waste the opportunity.

I ran this race last year. I remember it well. I had a cold. I went out like a total moron in sub-6:00 pace and it was hotter than hell and I just died the last mile. I also remember my grandparents at the top of the hill waiting to cheer me on sitting in their lawn chairs and meeting new friends. I met both E-speed and Evie5000 at this race last year. This year, I was looking forward to seeing my grandparents in their lawn chairs again and getting to see my acquaintances who have become valued friends.

When I arrived I realized it seemed a lot hotter than it was supposed to be. I later learned it was 87! Yuck! Luckily it wasn't very humid for once and I could run, but I just planned to be a little extra cautious. I ran into Evie5000 on our respective warm-ups and it was so nice to catch up a little. I haven't seen her in 4 months or something. Then as I was returning my race packet to the car I found E-Speed (who I run with at least once every week!) who was with a friend who hasn't run a race since high school. Her friend and I decided to run together. I like having a buddy for races now. It helps me make sure I'm keeping the pace conversational and it's nice to have the company.

The race started and the friend and I jogged out in the mass of mid-packers. We just chatted and soaked in the atmosphere. We started on a downhill and as we descended I could see the huge expanse between us and the leaders. Puts it all in perspective! By the time we made it to about the 1/2 mile point the leader was already going in the opposite direction. I had to cheer on all the people I knew just because I felt like it. The leader was going for the course record, 14:54. A few people back was the woman's leader. She was going for the course record 16:49. They're amazing!

Shortly after we spotted Evie5000 and E-speed hot on her tail, the numbers 2 and 3 woman. I have to say I liked seeing my two friends racing together in their matching race team uniforms. The friend and I kept our pace and discovered we were running around 8:00 per mile at the first mile marker. This part of the race was in the open sun and gradually uphill so I still resolved to take it easy for a while. We made it to the top of the hill and there was Grandma waiting for me with her friend (Grandpa had a condo associaton meeting). Grandma's friend told me to go faster and Grandma scolded him telling him I'm running for two. Aww, Grandma. Always looking out for me.

Just a little ways past grandma is a turn-around point. At this point, I told the friend to pick it up. She was chatting away! Go faster I told her! She said, "Really?" I said, "Heck yeah!" So off she went. I didn't mind. I was almost ready to pick it up too but I wanted to make sure I did it on my own (and peanut's) terms. We started back down the hill and I passed Grandma one last time. We made it to shade and I decided I felt good so I picked it up. I gradually picked it up until about the two mile point. There was a water stop, so I got a cup and dumped it on me. As I passed the two mile marker I saw the leader who won, but missed the course record by 4 seconds! Bummer! I then saw the next three men hauling ass to the finish followed by the leading woman. I don't know if she broke the record but I wouldn't be surprised at all! It's worth saying again. She's amazing!

Anyway, after the two mile mark the course hits a bike path section into some woods. It was the perfect refuge from the sun for me to really start doing something. The first stretch is uphill and I started blowing by runners one after the other (sorry allanjel!) I felt great. I just zipped along. I didn't get passed by one single runner the last mile. I have to say, no matter how slow your final time is, if you run a huge negative split it feels good. Really good. My first marathon was 15 minutes and 16 seconds slower than my pr, but I ran a negative split and felt 9 million times better at the finish than I did for my pr marathon. Last year at this 5k I ran more than 4 minutes faster but ran a horrible positive split. I was happier after this one! Negative splits = happy. Positive splits = ouch. That, my friends, is the law of negativity.

So yes, I ran a significant negative split. My rule in races now that I'm pregnant is that if I feel good I can crank the last mile within reason. Of course I cranked! There's a huge downhill before the finish which made it even sweeter and then I saw two women way ahead and mowed down the one and then just before the shoot I caught the other. Once she sensed me she started to sprint. I was up for the challenge. Oh wait. Don't do that! I started to go with her and then I heard peanut telling me not to be stupid and I let up perfectly satisfied with my performance.

Final time: 23:4x. It even turns out I won second in my age group. Come on women in your early 30's. Start cracking. That's just not right! Heh. But even more satisfying is having good friends and wonderful grandparents and a happy peanut. Now if we can just fix all that other annoying stuff!


Mindi said...

Nice race!

Sorry to hear about MRP's dad - I hope he gets better soon.

Viper said...

You and Peanut make a heckuva team!

I firmly in the law of negativity. Hope your other negatives turn positive.


Quinto Sol said...

You should have got first in the pregnant category... :-]

Best wishes to Mike's dad.

E-Speed said...

Glad you had such a good race! I think you needed it! My friend got 2nd in her age group and was so excited to get a plaque. I forget how cool it is to win something for the first time! Thanks for keeping her company and giving her a push to run harder!

CJ said...

Great job in the race! But sorry to hear about all the other stuff. Hope things get better :)

I think you, MRP, and Peanut all need a vacation.