I should have gotten a Purple Heart for this run. After calculating how long it would truly take to get to my sister’s house on Saturday morning, I realized I had to wake up at 4:30 am. Just the knowledge that I had to wake up at 4:30 kept me awake until 11:00 pm Friday night. My body works in mysterious way. I got up, jumped in my running clothes, downed a cold slice of pizza (what?!) and hit the road by 5:00 am. When I got to my sister’s exit, I called her to let her know I was close. “OK, cool,” she said. “Oh, and I read the starting time wrong, we don’t have to be there until 8:30 instead of 8:00.” She pretty much couldn’t have said anything that would have wounded my heart more in that moment. I grieved for the lost 30 minutes of sleep, but made my peace before I got to her door.
The great thing about being early is that you don’t have the panic of finding parking, finding the starting line, finding the port-a-potties before the race. You just wander. Calm and free. As we were walking up the sidewalk, my sister commented that there weren’t many runners. It was true. It looked as if the local running club showed up, maybe a few family members but that was it. Easily less than 100 people. I was feeling inadequate. These were serious runners. I am… not. Yet. I told my sister she didn’t have to wait for me. She’s been running for years. She would be fine with these people. An older woman heard my strategy and said she would linger back with me. She was wearing a knee brace. Behind us were a group of blind runners. That’s right, blind runners. Some had escorts, some ran independently. Talk about motivating. Those folks had no fear.
We were walking up the sidewalk as the Kid’s Fun Run finished up. A group of ladies were blocking the sidewalk. The first of the two kids racing ran past. I checked for the second kid. She was a few yards back and running near the center of the road. I stepped off the curb to slide past the ladies blocking the walk. In a fury, one of the ladies reached out and grabbed my upper arm. She jerked at me. I pulled my arm away as her nails dug in and scratched me. Seriously, what did she think I was going to do? Run out and trip the kid? I turned my head and shot her a look that stopped her group cold. “I was just going around you,” I said in a growl. Crimestoppers, I would like to report an assault.
All was well once the race started. Knee Brace Lady and I traded positions for the first mile or so. I walked up the hills, ran down them. (What?!) We made our way up 4th street, across Cherry, then down 5th. Halfway down 5th Street, I noticed I was being passed by very lean men moving very quickly. I seriously thought they were just random people running — because I’m clever like that. When we came around the corner and headed back up to 4th Street, I was feeling pretty good despite having walked more than I would have liked. A sign said three miles. Something seemed off, but I wasn’t going to fight it. I followed the Lean Guys. We were nearing the starting line. Suddenly a race official stuck out his arms and yelled at me, “This is for the finishers!” I think I looked stunned [because I was]. Two other race officials were nearby. “Go around this way to keep going, Honey,” one said. I stopped for a moment and said, “So what? I don’t look like I could finish in 20 minutes?” I gave them a “pssshh” and ran on. The old guys laughed. The Finish Line Nazi did not. [In case you are wondering, the fastest man finished in 16 minutes. The fastest woman finished in 19 minutes.]
My little bolt of defiance gave me a burst of energy. I wasn’t thrilled to do the loop again, but at least I was halfway through. The second loop was pretty quiet. I ran alone. I walked alone. My sister doubled back and met me on 5th Street as I was coming down. She ran part of the way with me, then cut through the park to wait for me at the finish line. When I was making my last turn, one of the ladies from the sidewalk group earlier cheered me on. “I like your headband,” she said. “Thanks, it’s from Active Bands,” I told her. Apparently that was more chatting from me than she approved of because she said, “Keep going, you aren’t finished.” I looked back to nod at her [and secretly roll my eyes] when I caught sight of the Knee Brace Lady. I waited for her. “I’ll run with you,” I told her. Sidewalk Lady yelled, “Run! You can beat her! She’s wearing a knee brace!” I’m not making that up. I repeated to the Knee Brace Lady, “We’ll cross together.” And we did. In 41:45.
Crimestoppers Run for Justice 5K: 41:45 minutes
Tour de Lila [15 miles]: 70 minutes
Run Wild at the Zoo 5K: 44:04 minutes
Currently Reading: Stuck on The Happiness Project. I don’t know why I can’t get through this book.
Training Log: Yesterday: Walk/Run, 2.6 miles, 36 minutes; Today: Spin, 16.6 miles, 45 minutes