Sunday, February 24, 2013

Gasparilla 8K

So here I am less than 24 hours before my 8K race and I feel like…well, to say I feel like death warmed over would be an exaggeration because…cough…this cold is getting better, but I certainly don’t feel prepared to run 5 miles tomorrow morning.  God, you’re really going to have to come through on this one.  I plan to take advantage…wheeze…of all three water stations and will walk for about a minute after drinking that water to let it settle.  I don’t want to have to walk any other times, but we’ll see how I feel.  Ideally, I would run the entire thing, which I know I can do when my body is at its peak.  Wheeze…Adjusting for feeling the way I do and the fact that I ran for only 7 minutes this morning at the end of 45-minute walk and I ran only 2.4 out of a possible 3.1 miles Tuesday, I’d say walking part of this 8K is inevitable.  L  I’d rather walk part of it than do any part of it on a stretcher or in the back of an ambulance, though.  Cough.

I feel woefully underprepared to race tomorrow.  I’m not completely better from this chest cold that moved up into my head.  I’ve been eating poorly the last two days.  The weather is warmer than I’d like. 
Are you completely bummed now listening…cough…to me complain?  At church tonight we sang this song, which is on my running playlist.  I made the changes indicated below as I sang it. 

Glory to God Forever

Before the world was made
Before you spoke it to be
You were the King of Kings
Yeah you were, yeah you were
And now you`re reigning still
Enthroned above all things
Angels and saints cry out
We join them as we sing

Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to God forever (repeat)

Creator God you gave
Me breath so I could praise
Your great and matchless name
All my days all my days
So let my whole life [race] be
A blazing offering
A life that shouts and sings
The greatness of our King

Take my life [race] and let it be
All for You and for Your glory
Take my life [race] and let it be Yours


My daughter and I headed to Tampa about 7:00 this morning so we would have plenty of time to find a parking spot, walk to the start line, etc.  No problems.  We got there before 8 and the race didn’t start until 9.  We had time to take this picture.

I had time to contemplate the size of the group running the 8K

Finally the waiting was over and the race began.  Somehow I ended up near the front of the group with the people who expected to run at a 7-minute-per-mile pace.  I run 12-13 minutes per mile.  Oops.  I made sure to stay to the side of the street so I wouldn’t impede the faster runners.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one who made that mistake because some people were walking even from the very beginning. 
Sometime in the second quarter of the race my running teammate Maria came up behind me.  That’s how we met at the 10K in December too.  We’ve never seen each other at church (it’s big) or when our team has been volunteering at a race.  We meet on the racecourse while we’re running.  J  This time we got to talk and run together for maybe half a mile.  We met up again in line for food afterward and she hung out with my daughter and me. 
During the race I coughed a few times but nothing that prevented me from running.  There were three or four aid stations and I made sure to get water and Gatorade
(Go Gators!) at each one.  I walked for a minute or two while it digested and then ran again.  Those were the only times I walked during the race even though I’ve had this cold!  Thank You, God! 

Before the race started I told my daughter it would be awesome if she could get a picture of me coming across the finish line and have the clock in the picture. 

She did it!  Isn’t she great?!  Let’s give her a hand, folks! 
I just checked the official results and my time was actually 1:08:16, 4 seconds faster than my watch showed.  I’ll take it!  The discrepancy between that time and the time on the clock is because the clock time was started when the gun went off for the beginning of the race but it was 25 seconds after that before I got to the start line. 

And I got a medal! 

I got a ribbon from the Strawberry Distance Challenge I did three weeks ago.  Other than that, I’ve never gotten a medal, ribbon, certificate, nuthin’ except the satisfaction of running, from any of the races I’ve run.  Until today.  I earned it and I’m wearing it proudly! 
There were 2924 runners in the 8K and I came in 2531st. 

After standing in line to get a few postrace goodies like water, a banana, and the tail end of paella from The Columbia Restaurant (they were completely out of black beans and rice and 1905 salad), Brianne and I came home, I showered, and my parents took us out for lunch.  Mmmmmmm!!!  BBQ!!!

It was at Gasparilla two years ago that I stood as a spectator at the finish line of one of the races and cried as God began to give me the desire to run. I came home and wrote a plan on the calendar to increase the distance I ran and decrease the distance I walked (I was still doing a run/walk combo at that point).  Last year I had a knee injury and didn’t run from January until May so Gasparilla was out.  This is a watershed event for me.  If they’d had a 10K I would’ve done that.  I think I’ll do a 15K at another event, maybe in the fall, so next Gasparilla I might be doing the half-marathon (tears as I typed that), but I really need to increase my speed before I try to increase my distance.  I like my pace and increasing my distance really isn’t very hard at such a slow pace.  Looks like I need to challenge and push myself again.  And make a definite plan for increasing speed. 
Yesterday I told God He was really going to have to come through since I was recovering and underprepared.  I think He came through in a big way, don’t you?!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strawberry Race 2013!

I ran the Strawberry Distance Challenge yesterday morning!  It was just a 5K, a distance I do twice a week and I do even more on my longer days.  So why did I pay money and travel about 50 miles one way to do this race?  Because it was a STRAWBERRY race and I’m the Strawberry Queen, that’s why! 

I started by having my daughter paint my nails for the occasion.

Then I put on my chocolate-dipped strawberry earrings.

After I got to the race and picked up my registration packet, I put on the Dri-Fit shirt and had my picture taken with the strawberry guy. 

The start and finish lines were not at the same location, so I got my mom situated at the finish line and then I walked a good ½ mile to the start line.  On that walk I stepped down off a curb and felt pain in my right knee.  God, please heal and strengthen both knees and my ankles so that I don’t get hurt.  (I realized on the way home that I never had another pain in any part of my body after that!  Thank You, God!)  At the start line I felt happy and energized to be running in another race.  I love my runs with Melisa twice a week and my runs where it’s just God and me, but there’s excitement when I’m running a real race!  They had someone pray before the race began.  Cool!  And we’re off!  I’m running.  With the sun in my eyes.  This is why I like my very early morning runs, before the sun comes up. It didn’t last long, though, and we turned a corner.  People started passing me, as usual, which was okay except that I had a goal in mind for this race.  I wanted to pass at least five people.  At some point I passed two walkers.  Okay, technically I passed people, but they were walkers so do they really count?  Actually, I didn’t even keep count of the people I passed, I just tried to find people and pass them.  I saw a father and his young son and passed them but then they passed me and then I passed them, etc.  I imagine that father’s ego didn’t want a woman to pass him and his son so they sped up.  Oh well. 
Let me back up to the 1-mile mark.  I was at 11:44 at that point.  What?!  I usually do a mile in about 13 minutes.  Sadly, my first thought wasn’t that I was running faster but that the measurement of my distance at home must be off.  L  Then I did the calculation of when I should be at mile 2.  Just before 23:30.  At mile 2 I was at 24:09, 40 seconds slower than I wanted to be.  Sigh.  Keep running, Michele.  At least you’re still running. 

I recovered from that little letdown and just enjoyed running.  We were running through a very nice subdivision in Plant City called Walden Lake.  We passed a little pond and I looked at it wondering if I would see an alligator.  If I did, would I say something and freak out the other runners?  Should I say something even if there isn’t an alligator and see what people do?  (hee hee!)  Run, Michele. 
I saw a woman who was bigger than I am now but not as big as I was before I started losing weight.  And she was ahead of me.  Ooohh!  Now she’s walking!  I can overtake her!  Closing in…getting closer…almost there…What?!  She started running again.  Aarrgghh!!  That happened a few times but I finally caught up to her.  I said, “Every time I try to pass you, you start running again!”  She said, “I’ve never run this far before!”  I told her good for her and that she was doing great.  Run, Michele. 

At some point the scripture “My lungs expand with His praise” entered my mind.  (Psalms 34:1 – MSG).  I remembered that and breathed deeper, letting my lungs fill up with more fresh air and my mind fill up with more praise to the God who made the air and my lungs. 
The whole time I was running I felt strong.  Not strong like

But strong like alive

I crossed the finish line in 38:19!  That’s 6 seconds faster than I texted some people this morning.  There’s always a difference between gun time and chip time, and 38:25 was what my watch said.  I’ll take 38:19! 

My info is a little past the middle, at #675, my bib number.  I came in 10th out of 17 women in my age group.
They always have water, bananas, and sometimes other food for the runners after a race.  This is what they had for us today!
This was as good as any medal to me!

I high-fived the strawberry guy!

I got a ribbon!  I’ve never gotten a medal, ribbon, certificate, or anything like that from any of the 7 or so races I’ve done.  And I got strawberries! 

This was one of the most fun races I’ve ever run, and I'll definitely be making it an annual event! 
Now I train for the Gasparilla 8K in two weeks.