Saturday, August 11, 2012

Aids Run/Walk 2012

I am happy to report that I got myself both to the start and the finish of a 5K this year with all body parts intact. I picked the Aids run, because I had a really good time when I ran it last year. Also, some friends were participating in the walk event, and I wanted to catch them after the race. Before I get to all the gory details, let me say that this year I didn't encounter a single snotty person. Last year I had that incident with a meanie at the start line. It was a really fun day, and I even got to hang out with my friends after the race, something I usually don't have time to do. There was a beer garden, so we sat and had drinks and a good conversation.

When I ran the race last year, the start was delayed by quite a bit. This year it started early! AAK! I don't know which is better, a late or an early start, but I felt a bit flustered this time. I wasn't quite ready to go, and right as I was running up past the start line, the gun went off..or actually someone shouted, "GO!" I turned around as fast as I could, fiddled with my watch as I was picking up the pace and tried not to panic. However, I was not far from the leaders, so I focused on staying strong. Wow, it's weird when you don't have time to mentally prepare for the race! I hit the first hill with some power, but I could tell my legs weren't as fresh as I had hoped they would be. Still, I was determined to have a solid first mile. 5:12. What? I giggled and thought, "Yeah, I WISH!" I knew something was off with the timing. I was afraid to look at my watch, so I waited a little bit. Then I forced myself to look down. 6:20. That seemed more realistic but faster than I anticipated for where I am right now. Last year the mile seemed too long, and my time was supposedly 7 something, which I knew it wasn't, so, clearly there's something off with the time on that first mile and possibly with the entire race as well. I don't think I ran a 20 something, even though that's what my "official" time was, because my watch read something faster than 22 minutes but over 21 minutes. It was hard to tell, because I started it late, and stopped it late too. 

The muddled miles? 

I fell asleep. I did exactly what I told myself I wouldn't do and got afraid to really push it. Instead, I got into a steady state. I was making an effort to be competitive, but this is where my lack of training started to show. My heart and lungs were fine, but my body seemed stiff. Still, I made a big move passing a guy as we entered the park with about a mile left. He jokingly yelled at me, asking if he was slowing down. Just when I'm thinking, "sweet- a nice little uphill to make an even BIGGER move," the unthinkable happens; my body tightens even more. It's hot. I'm really thirsty, despite taking as much water possible at the two water stations, and I feel my confidence waning. I'm not running smoothly up this thing and can't seem to find my stride. It feels awfully limited and short. Then, BOOM the guy passes me back like I'm standing still. DAMN! I yell something encouraging to him with the full knowledge that he knows how bummed I am that he is ahead again, but I hang on as well as I can. 

Continuing up the slight incline (man I wonder how I would have done had this been a REAL hill!), I see a lady in front of me. I'm thinking I can catch her, so I hold steady. I'm not sure what I was waiting for, but my mind seemed confident that I would pass her without making much more of an effort. Unfortunately, reality was setting in, and I know how short a 5K can be. The finish line was bound to be coming up soon, and I hadn't yet impressed anyone. I was closing the gap, trying to tell myself to dig deep and GO FOR IT!! But it wasn't  happening. Had the race been a half mile longer, it's likely I could have caught her simply by keeping my workhorse pace, but my dreams of being like a thoroughbred, galloping for the finish line, were not manifesting, and my "GO LIZE GO!" mantra was being met with all kind of internal resistance. The gap continued to close, but I never got to that all out sprint phase of the race. Was it fear, not being conditioned, or being out of race mode too long? It's hard to say, but it's clear that I need to work on both fitness and confidence. Before I knew it, the race was over, and I was dumping an entire water bottle over my head in an effort to cool down. 

I don't know what my actual time was. I worry that the times in the results are a bit fast, and my watch was a bit slow because of the way I started. Chances are I ran about what I ran last year, only it was a very different race. I attacked the first mile this time, which I wanted to do, but it's the middle and end of the race that need work. A third place finish was awesome though, and I'm really stoked that I was able to run with almost no foot pain. Last year I could hardly walk after this race, but this year my foot was only a little bit sore. I'll watch it and take the next few days off/easy. The imbalances are there, but I'm going to address them as much as possible. In fact, I have an appointment with Mark Plaatjes next week for some PT. Which reminds me, I won a gift card to the Boulder Running Company ~ WOOT! That made me jump for joy, because I am in such dire need of new running clothes! 

Now I have an odd question for my readers. I recently went to watch a race in Boulder. There were several races with family, masters, competitive women and competitive men divisions. The competitive women's field was deep, really deep. How cool that a 45-year-old lady won it too, but I digress. There were some incredibly strong runners of all ages in that group. My question is this: Why would several women choose to run in the competitive men's division if their times are not fast enough to win the women's division? I could see this if the women's field wasn't too strong, and someone was preparing for a specific race, wanting to have some good competition, but I can't seem to come up with a good reason why anyone would do this otherwise. It seems a little bit odd to me, but maybe there's a good reason to do it? I don't know. Anyone have any ideas? I'm mostly just curious, because the people I was standing with and I could not figure it out that day. ETA: OK, I got a good response from someone who told me that the races all started early that night. Chances are that all the ladies who were in the men's race missed the start of their race. I knew there had to be a logical explanation. I just couldn't think of one at the time. 

Well, I'm quite stinky and need a shower before work. This post is very rushed and not well written, but I wanted to put my thoughts down before I get into a different space or forget all the little details. I had fun. It was a good day. There was even a live band playing 80's music after! Yes, I have a LONG way to go, but I'm thrilled to be starting here. 

I need this little guy's energy for my next race:

ETA: Some pics from after the race:
At the beer garden

Hanging out with Team Simon


  1. Congrats on your race - both the place (3rd! Woohoo!) and how your foot held up. The results have you at 6:59 miles too which is great for a 5k if you ask me. Well done.

    Yes, give me races that start on time. Some women run 'up' on the track here to get a more competitive race. I never have to make such a choice as I'm always in the slowest division ;)

  2. Thank you, Ewen! :) It was a fun race. I see where I need improvement, but I'm very happy that my foot held up OK.