Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon - Pre Race

Race Morning:  I awoke at 5:15 after sleeping through the night, coffee's brewed and I was anxious to get my day rolling.  Race start is at a local airport, 25 minutes from home.  I love races close to home.  I can sleep in a little and I know where to find public restrooms all the way to the start.  Pre-race nerves turn my stomach into, well, not butterflies...it's more like Tyrannosaures Rex is tearing through my intestines.

Drinking coffee, looking at my race clothes, walking outside to check the weather...wondering how my body will feel today since yesterday's 4 mile jog revealed a strange twinge in my knee, an achy back and doubts about running faster than a 9:00 minute pace.  

Limiting myself 1 1/2 cups of coffee (my mug is a little large, so it's more like 3 cups if you want to be literal), I exit the safety zone of my kitchen and have a face off with my race outfit.  I put on my torquoise tank top and black shorts on top of a thick layer of Aquafor.  I will tempt fate and not wear compression shorts.  Looking in the mirror, I see that the Aquafor has left a greasy stain on my shirt.

Wear, don't wear, wear...I dig through my congested drawer of running clothes - one of many - and contemplate a hot pink tank with a beautiful floral design on it...and then I recall how I had angrily stuffed it to the bottom of my drawer after it had repeatedly rolled up and over my stomach like I was Gus-Gus from Cinderella during an easy run.  Pushing past it, I grab my reliable black tank that fits loosely over my chocolate-coated mid-section.

Nearly ready, I spent the remaining few minutes before we leave running in place to tell my body we're going out for a little bit today.  I ran to the bathroom one last time, saw I needed to scoop the cat litter - I know, it's a glamorous life - and we headed out the door to be greeted by rain showers. 

I only needed to stop once to use a bathroom.  It's a miracle!

We arrived at the airport 20 minutes before the start.  Cars are lined up on either side of the road with runners dashing in and out of cars as they make their way to the start.  Jeff drops me off while he leaves to park.  I'm on the hunt for my friend, Tony, who picked up my chip and bib for me.

I'm unable to find him anywhere but I do run into my friends Bob and his wife Marci inside the airport hangar.  I know Bob's pacing the 1:30 with Tony but he didn't know where he was at the moment. 

I head outside and decide I better get in line for the porta-potties.  I run across another awesome runner who you can spot a mile away in races because he always wears colorful wigs.  A casual observer would think he's a jogger having fun and they'd only be part right.  He is having fun but his running career has included a 4:16 mile, which definitely isn't jogging. 

Jeff found Tony, and I gratefully accept my bag.  Reaching inside, I grab the timing chip which is supposed to velcro around my ankle.  I still have a scar on my ankle from May so I elect to wrap it through my laces and insure it with a safety pin. 

And then (cue hallelujah chorus)...I see my bib number.  F7.

Repeat, F7..BINGO!

I have arrived.  I have a bib number with an F on it.  I don't feel worthy of an F number today, but I happily pin it to my shorts. 

Two minutes to race start and I duck under a ribbon and find myself standing next to Betsy, another Marathon Maniac, and the Prez himself, Mr. Yee.  He's pacing the 1:50 group.  They're encouraging me to move up towards the front.  Up ahead, Bob is holding the 1:40 pace sign.  I slide in and out of the crowd and stand next to him.  He's volunteered to pace the 1:40 group at the last minute.  Bob will finish the race right on time, helping a few people get PRs and having a fun time doing it.

Another countdown begins and another race is about to be put in the books