This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Inside-Out Sports Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 8K Race Report

What better way than to start Thanksgiving Day than running an 8K?

I haven't done this often but when I do, it feels damn good.

As a person who prefers to get out of bed when I feel like it (which anytime after 7:30 works best for me...which is a dilemma during the work week), waking up early for a thanksgiving race is not all that hard. Years ago, Tim and I and a bunch of pals got up early for this race when it was held at Ridgewood (note: that race is still there but no longer with the "Inside-Out Sports" sponsor).

Last year, I ran this race as part of the grand prix series. This year, I ran it as part of the series but with CJ, who I am helping to compete and hopefully place in the top three of her age group.

An 8K is a hair under five miles. That is a lot of miles, especially for a 12 year old who hasn't run more than a 5K. I can't tell you how many people gaped at me when I mentioned that CJ and I were running an 8K: "how can she handle that?", "that's a lot of miles for her", "really?" It was astounding, to be honest, the skepticism that folks had about her doing this race. LOTS of kids run these races younger than her. And you know what happens when they get tired of running? They *walk*.

It was a chilly morning, far from the 60s that the never-spot-on-weather reports first predicted. I dressed in my running skirt and long sleeve shirt with a jacket. I had overdressed the previous Saturday for my long run and was burning up at the end...I decided not to make the same mistake. But I probably would have functioned just fine with a little bit more clothing. Nonetheless, I survived as the new warm-blooded me and did not complain one iota about being cold. My BFF Frank even commented about my lack of overdressing for the weather.

Frank was the only BFF I saw before the race. Did not see $Bill anywhere and Frank stated he looked all over for him before we met up with him. Finally, we were off to run.

The route is actually really nice, for a person like me who is anti-Cary. To be frank, I would rather run Ridgewood and support that neighborhood but this one happens to be part of the grand prix series so technically, I have no choice.

But it is actually nice, even though the route takes us through the neighborhood that espouses elitism. Mansions, or "little castles", as CJ described some of them, in awe, as we ran past them. I guess one way for me to be less judgmental is to say 'this would be the only way to see this side of Cary; to run through it in a race'. But the holiday spirit is in me on Thanksgiving, and I can pass some judgment aside and actually feel warmth towards the people that live in the neighborhood...who come out and cheer the runners on.

CJ did great. She was jovial awhile, as we find a pattern of laughing at the runner antics around us. But despite me enjoying the route (it is much easier to run these races at pace that isn't me competing with myself), it is still a not-so-easy race route. At one point, it is a long mile or so of roadway that is not in the neighborhood, so it can be classified boring to someone like CJ. To me, it's a long, nice downhill-like path in which I can increase my speed and feel easy about it.

I could hear her breathing and, unlike me, her cheeks become noticeably red when she exerts herself. This comes from the howlie side of the family... So I tell her "You know you can run 3.1 miles, so let's run that much before we take a walk break."

The first mile went fast; the second felt long. I am sure, if you are counting the miles, the third mile would feel long too. We finally reached mile marker three and CJ and I had our first walk break.

It was bad timing, IMO, because we were going downhill. I explained this to her, that the best walk breaks occur at the worst parts of a route but she ignored me and continued walking. My problem is curtailing my competitiveness for her. People are now passing us. People *I* think she should be ahead of. We walk. And I am thinking "how long before she starts running????" So I say to her "whenever you are ready" and she sighs with frustration. I try to emphasize that I am not pushing her but that I would not be the one starting to run, that I would let her determine it.

More walking. I am getting antsy. And then, regrettably, after two young girls pass, I say "there goes your competition".

I wish I could take that back.

So she sighs and starts back to running. We pass everyone that passed us easily. She is going faster and now I think, uh-oh, I've pissed her off and she is getting irrational and is running faster...and we still have almost two miles to go. I feel so bad and slower my tempo in hopes that she will match me, but she's a step ahead of me. I run no faster and let her do her thing. The one advantage I have is that I know what it's like to be frustrated with a run. :)

I start analyzing the route ahead of us and point out milestones, based on what I think are good spots to walk vs. run. So we run to a point that goes up, stop and walk until I see flat or a slope.

Coincidentally, as we approach the four mile mark, we are walking, and I say "at that mile marker, we start running" which a fellow runner looks at me and says "no, there's only a half mile left"...mistaken my "mile marker" as saying there is a mile left. I look at her with puzzlement and her friend whispers something to her and she moans "oh...another mile???!!" I said to her "I did that same thing last year!" referring to the fact that, in my unsorted brain, I had thought I was finishing the race in four miles, only to see, upon HITTING four miles, the error of my way. It was one of the most disheartening things to happen during a race and I thought about, how one year later, how very different I was running the same race.

After we passed the four mile mark, we took a nice long walk break. I told her "we have less than a mile left's not take as long as you need to walk but once we start running, we should continue to the end. Run a comfortable pace first and then when we get to the half mile mark, pick it up. Once you see the finish, sprint to the end"

Towards the end, which took forever, CJ was really struggling. I knew it was hard. She had never ran this many miles and I know she was just looking for this to end. But she did as I recommended and I purposely made the pace up until the 1/2 mile mark much slower than comfortable. I doubt that it felt that way for CJ.

At the 1/2 mile mark, I picked it up a little, but once I knew we were close to the end, I picked it up more. There was no real sprint from CJ at the end; we went faster but not sprinting and I made sure that CJ crossed the finish first.

She refused a hug from me at the end. :) That was OK. I told her earlier in the race that it was OK to be mad at me. I do that too. :)

She walked off, back towards the car and I thought it was probably best if we left instead of my usual banter with my BFFs after the race. I figured they would understand later.

She was still emanating irritation at me and I left her alone. Congratulations and words from her cheesy mom about how proud of her I am could wait. But I wondered what I could treat her too, for a job well done? What else? She's a sucker for Starbucks, of course! She nodded with a less irritable attitude when I mentioned this.

And who do I see at the evil empire of Starbucks but $Bill! He asked how we did and I told him the clock had 56 minutes. Great job CJ! he says, which made me very happy. He is such an enthusiastic supporter for all and to target CJ with it, was a wonderful thing for her to hear.

We find out that we were probably feet apart at the starting line, but with so many people, and apparently me being so short, he couldn't see us. Bill said he did it in about 41 minutes, which is pretty amazing since it was just two weeks ago that he did an Ironman (~13 hours of swimming, biking and running...incredible).

Anyway, the coffee perked her up and all was well again. When we got home, Tim was enthusiastic "How did you do?!" "I did horrible!" she said, which surprised me. I told her she did awesome.

Later that night, when it was just me and her, I asked her what she thought of the race. She said she felt like she did so bad. I told her she shouldn't, that five miles is a lot for anyone and that for her first long distance race, she did incredible. I also told her that I tended to have this very bad habit of analyzing how badly I do at races, even if I made a PR or a decent time. She should not follow in her mother's footsteps and focus on the positives.

Then one of the many animals we had got involved somehow and broke the tender moment, as CJ said to them. And like that, we were done with the race report.

I am proud of her. One day, she will be the person running the other way, on her way to a fast finish, as I wave proudly at her yelling "Go CJ Go! Run for your donuts!"

1 comment:

  1. She reminds a lot of a certain person I know. I wonder who that could be?

    Tell her I said congrats! That's a very hard course. I crashed on the last mile myself...