Monday, September 6, 2010

Over The Narrows 10 Mile

Photos by Tony Seabolt

I love love love races close to home!  What's not to love about waking up later, knowing where all the public restrooms are "just in case" and knowing the course ahead of time.

Over The Narrows 10 mile start is 20 minutes from my home and I slept in until 6:00!  Many races involve me leaving my home before 6:00 so this was a privilege.  My husband had been working crazy hours the previous week and this was his first morning to sleep without an alarm clark set.  At 6:00 a.m., he had been sleeping for 9 hours, so I thought maybe he'd be joining me.  I stumble into the kitchen wishing I had set the coffee pot alarm so my java would be ready.  Instead I manage to spill grounds onto the counter and water from the pot - my pot leaks when I turn it upright after pouring. 

Peanut butter and a slice of whole wheat bread downed with Naproxin to keep my achy back in check.  I hope this isn't considered "doping".  As the coffee slowly drips, I rummage through my pile of carefully chosen race clothes, drop them, walk outside, and decide it looks like a shorts and tank top kind of day.  Yeah, it drizzly but feels mild.  I shove aside the long sleeves, vests, long pants and choose a black tank with splashes of red on the front, black compression shorts and my super-speedy-lightweight-awesome-red-racing shoes.  I bought these a few years ago and have worn them a handful of times.  I pick them up and check to make sure they are rock-less and am amazaed yet again at how incredibly light they are.

7:00 and still Jeff is not awake.  My back has been achy for a few months or more and finally the doctor sent me to physical therapy starting last week.  The CT scan showed "narrowing of the space between discs".  I haven't been told how much narrowing but was told to do physical therapy.  So I go through my stretching and pray for no pain during the race.  7:20 arrives and it looks like I'm going solo today.  I know many friends will be there today so I won't feel alone.

7:30 and I'm out the door.  Arriving at the Galaxy Theater parking lot, I slowly make my way through crowds of anxious runners and their families.  Porta-potty line is non-existent and I give an inward hallelujah!  Just as I'm about to go for a slow jog to remind my body what's going to happen, my friends Bev and Patti arrive.  We all have times we're aiming toward and wish each other luck.  I manage to get a 5 minutes saunter in around the theater and see a lot of familiar faces.

One last trip to the bathroom and I am ready to line up.  Andy is near the front so I figure that would be a good place to be since he usually finishes not far behind me or right at my pace .  Bullseye Bob is directly in front of me so I have to give him a nudge.  He's going to use this race as practice for the You Go Girl Half marathon on September 26th.  He needs to hit a 7:15 average for his 1:35 group.  Yeah, he IS A GUY, but is willing to don a tutu to support us girls.

3-2-1!!  Heading down Pt. Fosdick, we're treated with a nice gradual decline to wake up our legs.  I'm not thinking about the return trip at this point.  Some gradual up and downs greet us until we turn left onto Stone, which, in a car, isn't so steep.  Breathe, pump the arms, keep up the effort and don't slow at the top!  We arrive at the entrance to the bridge around mile 3, running down and around a corner onto the bridge walkway.  The first water stop is directly in front of me at the corner but I can't reach the water as I'm rounding the corner.  I would have liked to see that table a little further up on the straightaway.  Thankfully it's cool today and I'm not aching for water yet.  The breeze is blowing on my right side and I have to work to run in a straight line.  Up, up, up to the end of the overpass and we cross Jackson Street and into Memorial Park.  Thankfully we only run up halfway to the flagpole, grab some water at the aid station and turn around.  I really enjoy out and backs for a lot of reasons, but one is to encourage others and hear positive phrases from other runners like, "you look strong!" and many times I'm told what place I'm in.  My awesome friend, Jill, said "you're number six!" as we crossed paths across the bridge.  Six!  I've been guessing on my pace since my Garmin wristband broke.  My Garmin is so awesome because it tells me what pace I'm averaging constantly.  I've been doing runner's math every couple of miles.  At the halfway, I was around a 7:10 pace, and even though I would love to have been at a 7:00, I know it's still a great pace for me. 

Coming off the bridge, up and around a corner, we level out and soon, we are running down that steep hill after the tunnel.  Normally downhills are a welcome relief, but today, I am cringing because I managed to get a black toenail during last weekend's 22 mile long run.  We have about two miles to go and me and another girl, "Jeneane" keep trading places.  She gets ahead of me and I work hard to keep her the same distance in front of me.  I will reel her in as soon as I can.  I am not the best uphill runner, but when she's near me on the uphills, her breathing sounds labored so I will do the unthinkable and try to pass her during the last mile. 

My watch reads 1:04 and Bullseye Bob effortlessly runs by asking why I'm looking at my watch.  Where is my arrow when I need it?

 So if I want a 1:10, I'll have to run about a 6 minute mile...stop laughing!  I push myself up and have successfully passed Jeaneane and am now running side by side with a guy who matches every surge I make.  I don't know if he doesn't like being passed by a girl or is trying to help me work harder.  Either way, I manage to outrun him, barely, up the hill, round the corner into the finish line parking lot, and see I still have a quarter mile or less to go.  I feel like I'm sprinting and nearly catch Bob at the finish line.  1:11:36 watch time!  I'll take it!

The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor North put on a stellar event, co-directed by Route 16s Miguel Galeana.  Awards were given to the top three overall but no age group awards.  I was 5th overall woman, 2nd in my age group, and 34th person overall.  Winners were awarded beautiful bottles of wine.  My back didn't hurt during the race, but afterwards, I did notice it stiffen up while we waited for the awards.

As an epilogue, I am thrilled to say that my 2000th mile of running this year quietly arrived during the 10th mile of this race.  I'm right on track for 3,000 miles this year if I can average 58 miles a week through December.