I never sleep well the night before a race, and last night was no exception. I tossed and turned, double-checked that I’d set the clock ahead & turned on the alarm about a dozen times, and got up to pee at least 3 times.
Finally – it was time. I got up, got dressed, checked the temperature (34*) and changed from my capris into a pair of tights that I’ve never raced in before (this is important).
I made coffee, choked down a Clif bar, and paced around nervously. I was going to ride to the MAX Station with my kick-ass neighbors, but had too much nervous energy, and just needed to go, so I went & hopped on the bus (leaving my delicious coffee on the counter).
Just as my transfer bus was approaching the bus stop, my neighbors pulled up in their car!
I got downtown just after 8 AM, and made my way to the start line. I immediately saw Lori, which in a crowd of 21,000 is a miracle, I think. I check my jacket & gloves & then we watched the 5K finishers, hoping to see her son finish his first 5K! We didn’t get to see him, but we did see the Ambitious One finish strong!
The 15K got underway in fits and starts. They’d let a few people go, and then stop everyone to let 5K finishers cross the road in front. I was about 11 minutes behind the gun time, by the time I crossed the mat. Lori quickly disappeared into the distance, and I took off, reminding myself to start slow. Immediately, I noticed a problem with my tights. They don’t stay up. Every once in a while, my shirt would ride up too, and then I’d get a cold breeze in a place one should have a cold breeze when surrounded by thousands of your closest friends. Much of the race was spent (a) hiking my pants up and (b) pulling my shirt down. I have so much butt chafing, people. I am a delicate flower.
Mile one went by quickly, but halfway through Mile 2, my goal changed from PR to finish. My right ankle/shin/calf hurt terribly. I stopped and stretched it out, and that helped a bit. Right after Mile 2 (which is deceptively uphill), the big hill starts. It is uphill to just past mile 4.5, and then it heads down for a bit before angling upwards again.
Mile 1 – 9:35 (not exactly what I had in mind for a slow start)
Mile 2 – 11:59 (bit slow, also an unscheduled stop to stretch out the complaining lower right leg)
Mile 3 – 11:26 (beginning of the journey up the big hill)
I was feeling pretty good on my uphill run. I know those hills. I run them a lot. And I run them and a pretty decent pace (usually 10:30 – 10:45 on Tuesday evening runs). My pace today was no where near what I’m capable of. Shortly after mile 4, I had to stop again – my feet were ANGRY. I wore new shoes today for the first time (I KNOW! But it was vital.) and there was some weird numbness happening. My goal that point changed from finish to “find someone who will drive me back to the finish line.” BUT, once I saw the Chart House (where the aid station was out of cups, and people were just drinking out of the gallon water jugs where other people’s lips had just been, ICK!), I thought I could probably keep going – after all, I was already half way done, and the worst was behind me. I spend up a little for mile 6, as that was the beginning of the downhill.
Mile 4 – 11:36 (up & up – slowest up & up I’ve done on Terwilliger in ages)
Mile 5 – 12:11 (another stop & stretch)
Mile 6 – 10:01 (finally DOWN)
When I saw my overall time at mile 6 – which was 1:06 and change, my goal changed back to PR. I knew it would be close, but I couldn’t remember exactly what my PR was. I ran the last of the race thinking my PR was 1:39:xx, and just going to beat that time. The last part of the race is a mild downhill/flat grade. There’s a bit of an uphill right before mile 9, but it’s insignificant. Each mile kept getting faster, and I knew that if I could just stay strong, I’d have that PR. Once I ran past mile 9, it seemed so far to the finish line – longest .3 miles ever (Leo agreed, he said it was .33 miles). I was just nearly out of gas at that point. Just before I crossed the finish line I heard my name and saw the Ambitious One, Mr. Pi & newly minted 5K runners Andrew & Lisa at the sidelines. That gave me the extra boost I needed to get across the finish line strong.
Mile 7 – 9:39
Mile 8 – 9:16
Mile 9 – 9:03
Mile 9.3 – 3:06 (10:20 pace – I had nothing left to give, apparently)
Overall: 1:37:56 – a 10 second PR (I totally had my previous time wrong in my head, so it’s a good thing I was pushing it)!
I crossed the finish line, got rid of my timing chip (I HATE the Shamrock ankle-strap chips….they chafe) and got my medal (it’s awesome – it’s a bottle opener) and started looking for Lori. She was going to be at the finish line, and when I didn’t see her I got all worried that she’d died at the side of the race course this morning and I’d stepped over her body without noticing (she wasn’t feeling very well this morning). I got my coat out of the bag check area, and then miracle of miracles, I spotted her!
We went to meet up with the other PBRs, but never did find them again, so we just went to find the rest of her family and then headed home.
On the walk back to the car, I kept getting stiffer and stiffer, until my whole right leg, starting at the ankle & half way up to my knee, was so stiff that I could barely walk. My ankle wasn’t flexing right, and it was hurting even to stand still.
At home, I stuck my leg in a bucket of ice water, took some ibuprofen, and drank a beer and that seemed to do the trick.
I had a pretty lazy day for the rest of the day, and am now ready to hit the hay.
My foot is still sore, but not any more sore than it was yesterday, so I’m hoping it’ll be fine. I’m going to swim tomorrow & then try to run again on Tuesday and Wednesday. The next big test is this weekend’s long run. I’m going for a 17 miler Friday morning (I’m headed out of town for the weekend Friday afternoon), and if I make that with no problems, then I will declare myself cured!
Congrats to all the other Shamrock runners out there this weekend, both in Portland & all over!
(Imagine that I took some great pictures today, and visualize them being here.)