Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Race report: Grand Blue Mile

When I take time off from running, especially during the winter, I have concurrent and conflicting emotions about running.

One part of me never wants to lace up the shoes and feel the burn again. The other part of me becomes wildly optimistic, often just at the thought of mild weather and living plants, and wants to sign up for anything and everything.

My Grand Blue Mile registration was born of that latter urge, and I spent the time between getting off of work and toeing the starting line regretting it with every alternate breath. 

In between, I reminded myself that as miserable as I was during the Friendly Sons 5K, this had to be better — it was only one-third the distance.

These faces do not accurately reflect our pre-race sentiments, though we did agree that it was a perfect day to run.
Cory and his friend Drew weren't particularly sanguine, nor was Stephanie from book club, who ran with me in the competitive women's division. Only veteran athlete Steve, whom we'd only just met a few days ago at the Cumming Tap, seemed to be glad to be here.

My plan was to stay in back to give myself more time to warm up before actually crossing the line; instead, the race organizers corralled the 15 or so of us — seriously! — to the very front, and it was only a few steps before I was sprinting like my life depended on it.

Here's where my biggest victory of the day occurred. In the first quarter-mile, I got passed constantly, despite pushing myself as hard as the speedsters were. The pack in front of me grew so crowded that I started wondering whether I'd be the last to finish.

Suddenly I understood why people worry about that — there were a lot of spectators, and they'd be sticking around to watch the races right after mine. Everyone would see me come in last. Was anyone even behind me? Should I even bother suffering for another three-fourths of a mile?

But no. I didn't pay the registration fee and tell people that I was running it just to give up so early. There was no injury or true pain holding me back. I kept plugging away ... and even started passing a few people, some of whom sounded/looked far more miserable than me.

My second-biggest victory of the day: It was such a short race that I didn't bother wearing contacts or glasses, meaning the finish line was just one giant blue blob. I couldn't even let up at the end if I had wanted to, because I wasn't entirely sure where the end was. (See my game face here.)

But I could read the numbers as I crossed — 6:58.

The mats signal the end. I'm not *quite* there.
I was shocked to see that number, even more shocked to see the printout with "6:11" and then unsurprised to see this morning that I was knocked down to "7:11.88." 

I shrugged it off most of the day, because they're ALL personal records by at least 21 seconds, but I'll admit to much relief when at 5:20 p.m., Cory emailed me to say the database had changed. Official time: 6:57.64, ninth in my division.

For such a short race, I've blathered on a long time, so I'll just end it with this: I'm proud of the results, especially given what little training went into it, and I am even more happy and grateful that I had a cheering section. Thanks, Steph, Regina and Emily, for coming out, watching and photographing!


  1. Congrats now for <=6:45 set those goals as soon as one is met. Your blog is a good reminder to all who run....the overhead clock is just that an overhead clock NOT OFFICIAL. Preliminary results are preliminary especially when chip timing as not all chips read and a review of the finish with missed reads being put back into the finish via recorded video (hopefully a back up is used) then once official results are posted a time not yet seen or considered can emerge. Still great run never underestimate yourself, never set limitations by thinking that is beyond yourself.

  2. It was a rare race in which I started so close to the official line that the overhead clock could've been (and in this case was) pretty darn close -- not like a huge half-marathon -- but yes it was a good reminder to just wait until the official results come out to get too excited.

    And yes, I also learned not to underestimate myself ... or the pull of competition! It will be exciting to see what I can do with race-specific training instead of an international vacation as my prep work.

  3. Never underestimate the amount that rest plays in your training, it is all too often not factored or even given the credit it is due. Taking a few days or even a week off for many will make them stronger physically has the body needs rest to recover even when the mind is playing...well mind games and saying you can do more when it needs to just go find something else to ponder rather than worry about if the body is losing it.

  4. Congratulations!! It's pretty nice to see your time start with a "6" isn't it? BTW I nominated you for a Liebster Award :)

  5. I'm still skeptical about my time! It was way off from my watch.. I mean, yay 6:10 but a 21 second PR seems pretty crazy! Plus trying to break 6:10 sounds crazy... Oh well! You did great- amazing to do that without glasses/contacts- brave girl! Haha :)

  6. Karla — it's especially amazing when you expect your time to start with a 7!

    And Stephanie — if you find out the clock was off, don't tell me, haha. What did your watch say?