Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Grinch 10k

Santa Runs Tacoma Website

"You don't have your number?" Michelle DeNully asked as I stood in the portapotty line, imploring her to rescue me from my impossible situation. It was 8:50ish and the race would start in 10 minutes.  How I get myself in these predicaments is...because I sleep in too long!

I left my house by 7:35 a.m. and figured I'd be parked and to the start line by 8:15.  What really happened was I parked, started walking and realized I wasn't exactly sure where the start line was from where I was.  I've been to the start, but the surrounding area didn't look familiar and I had gotten turned around while searching for a spot.  I walked down toward the water and soon I found the Piercy brothers and ran to catch up with them.  I somehow parked about a mile away from the start. We arrived at the colorful and crowded start area and I made a beeline for the portapotty line.  It was 8:35 and my stomach was flip-flopping.  I had to choose between that and getting my race packet.  Priorities!

The line was taking so long and then an angel appeared in the form of an elderly elf-woman who stated that the there was no line down below for the other toilets.  I jumped out of the line, found the portapotties and quickly discovered she was either playing an evil trick on me or she had not noticed the anxious runners trying to find the end of the line.  Rookie mistake.

Scott Gaines and Michelle DeNully saw me and I pleaded my desperate case with them.  They were indeed angels and got my race packet for me while I waited in line. Michelle helped me get ready and with 2 minutes to spare, I ran to the gear check (I had been wearing a winter coat) and lucky for me, the woman checking things grabbed my bag and said to go, she knew who I was!

I arrived and climbed the metal barrier just in time to hear the National Anthem, completely not warmed up to race. Lori Matthews Moriarity was next to me, a friend and master runner, aka competition. Well, maybe. The holidays have deposited some evidence on my hips.  My muscles were cold and I haven't done any speed work other than racing.  These clues point to an obvious outcome of the race.

The first mile began at Dock Street Landing in Tacoma and headed out along Schuster Parkway. It began with an uphill and followed the same route as the St. Patty's Day Dash 5k. The 10k will do the route two times.  I only remembered the hill at the beginning of the course and the one as we approached the end of the 5k. I apologized to Lori for "implying" that the only hill was the one we could see from the start line.  My mistake.

Mile one:  6:53.  I stayed in front of Lori for one mile.  The air was crisp and the sun was making appearance through the fog. My lungs hurt from the cold and my toes were freezing. Did I mention I was wearing a Santa lingerie top over my running shirt?

Mile two: 7:01  Flat and potentially fast mile.  We run around a cone and head back toward the start and we see the super fast runners coming at us.  Legs feel like they're moving but can't pick up the pace any faster.  Disappointed but realize I need to earn my fast times. And I know I didn't earn it today.  Wearing lingerie makes me smile during this mile.

Mile three:  7:22.  Up the hill and back to the start line.  I don't like this hill.  I see the frontrunners heading back out along with leg two of the relay 10k.

Mile four: 7:17  Lori was within view on the long stretch of road.  Fog surrounded a ship, making for an eerie picture.  I made an effort to keep pace with a guy in front of me.

Mile five:  7:11.  The sun blinded me as I headed back toward the start. Lori was just a pink speck in the distance at this point. I'm still toward the "front" of the runners, sort of.  I made my way through groups of walkers from her to the finish.

Mile six:  7:12.  My quads were on fire for much of the second half of the race, a sure sign I have been lollygagging in my regular training runs.

The clock was heading toward 45 minutes and I finished with an official time of 44:56.  7:15 average. Garmin read 6.3 but it's difficult to rely on Garmin for precise accuracy.   Bob Martin who is down with a foot injury, was at the finish line helping remove race chips. I received a coffee mug for finishing, caught up with some running friends and found out I was first in my age group.  Blue ribbon!

Post-race food, awards, and soon I was headed out to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done.

bib number:2109

overall place:31 out of 283
division place:1 out of 32
gender place:9

Another glamorous race photo