Yes, I know I am tapering but I couldn’t resist the Pumpkin Run’s cute shirt.
Race One – Saturday October 15th – Pumpkin Run 5K
Signed up for this bad boy on a whim. Something about the pumpkin man in the jogging suit just made me giggle. I wanted the shirt, how often can I say I did a race for that reason? I even wore it for work today. Anyway…. It was pouring like the dickens when I woke up to get ready. My mom saw it fit to call me and inform me that this was the type of weather “Not fit for man nor beast”. Well, my dogs went out to potty so I could go out to run. Why not?
By some miracle it cleared up right before the start. Still pretty chilly and windy, but it was dry. Racing while wet sucks. Since I haven’t done a 5K in a while I wanted to take it fast. I knew I was going to be taking it easy at the Half the next day, so I figured I would make this one count. I also had a goal for the year to break 30 minutes in the 5K and I still hadn’t done it. As far as my schedule goes, I only had the Freezer 5K to get it. So I set my virtual pace buddy and set off next to Fran. Honestly, the miles were a blur. I was so laser focused on my pace I didn’t even realize what I was doing. I knew the course well (it is part of the TOPS 10K course) and just laid it out. The only time I worried was towards the end. I was really pushing hard and could feel the sick uneasy feeling in my lungs and stomach. It was FREEZING and I was wearing a skirt. When I rounded the last curve and saw the finish line clock ticking towards 30 minutes I gunned it and entered the finish chute about to hurl. I walked in tiny circles before handing off my tag to the finish people. My efforts were rewarded, two minutes shaved and FINALLY a sub 30 5K. Final time: 00:29:54. I enjoyed a little post-race and got a “sample massage” as I call it. Then, I went home a VERY happy camper….and promptly packed up my car for the drive to Syracuse!
Race Two – Sunday October 16th – Empire State (Half) Marathon
Grabbed Peggy (running bud) and headed off. Arrived in Syracuse to more pouring rain. Picked up the packets at the expo and a lovely guy from Fleet Feet Syracuse printed my name on my race shirt. Gift from FF Syracuse to FF Buffalo and very cool. Gotta love how Fleet Feets can connect people across the country. So anyway, checked out the store and into our hotel. Went and had a FANTASTIC dinner at my favorite place ever. Daniella’s Steakhouse is the best food in Syracuse and possibly anywhere. I would drive to Syracuse just to eat there. No lie. So yeah, fantastic meal and then we headed off to bed.
Woke up to no rain and a good forecast, wind but no rain until after noon. I could deal with that. I actually donned the race shirt for the race (unheard of!) because it was so cool and I knew I would be cold on the course. Got all ready and headed off for the race. We were parking as the marathoners were heading off. Got in line for the portas (funniest and most well decorated port-a-johns anywhere, I laughed for a good 10 minutes at the pictures and scented potpourri bags in them). Headed over to the start line and saw some folks I knew from FF in Buffalo. Lovely training group people. Then I found Daria, whom I manage to find at every race no matter what (managed in a crowd of 25,000 racers for Philly). Someone was kind enough to take a picture of the three of us.
So off to the start we went. After much assurance from Peggy I knew I was going to run my own race. We were suppose to stick together so I would take it slow, and she could finish. She had a large training gap due to life and this was her come back to running. Her first long run in a long time. Well we split anyway…..I turned on my watch and promptly made the decision to hide it under my glove. I was going to run it how I felt it and not get caught up in time. In Philly it was all about my pace, here it was all about the good time. I ran the race and walked through the water stops. I even tried to take little walk breaks at every mile marker. I chatted a bit with another person I knew from Buffalo (someone I help pick out shoes no less!) and smiled at all the people on the course. I even posed for a funny picture when I saw Daria had her
camera out when I passed her again. (It was an out and back course). I was honestly having a really good time. The course was beautiful and the spectators had funny signs. I would say they had too many water stops, but that is just not possible. I really enjoyed the course support. So on and on I went, chatting and laughing just taking the course as it was.
Just past the 11 Mile Marker I uncovered my watch. I was nearly finished and my watch read an amazing number. If I continued at my current pace I was going to hit my previous PR on the nose. I made the decision that since I had already done all the hard work (without knowing it) I was just going to run it in hard. I took in a last bit a fuel and gunned it for the finish line. I pounded out those last two miles at a little over a 10mm pace and saw the finish line stretch ahead of me. I ran it in and was rewarded with a new PR, a full minute faster than my Philly time. Shocked and then dismayed because I was suppose to be
taking it easy. But I have to say, I was SUPER happy that I finally got one of those neat tinfoil blankets. >>>
I got my medal too and wandered over for bananas and chocolate milk. Then I headed back towards the course to cheer in the other racers. After watching them dismantle the finish line because it fell on a volunteer I decided to go back out on the course to run it in with Peggy. After all, this was her “Freedom Run” back to running. I took off my chip and headed back out. I found her almost an hour later and ran her in. She was all about the pizza and post race massage so I left her and head back out for Daria. I was never so glad I did that. Daria needed help and I am really glad I could help. I won’t try to tell it in my words because Daria already has in one of our groups online. Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes when I crossed the finish line and she made me cry all over again when I read this.
Here is what she wrote:
Honestly, there was no greater validation for me being there than being able to walk across the finish line with her. I was busy beating myself up for not taking it easy and she was still battling it out towards the finish. This is a woman I don’t know very well and only see at races but I don’t think there are many people who can inspire me this much. Going forward in my taper and on marathon day in less than 3 weeks I will think of her. Illness, injury, and windy mayhem didn’t stop her from fighting and it won’t stop me.
The only thing better than finishing a race is finishing a race with a friend.
Sometimes we all need somebody to lean on.