I realized in planning for Sunday morning that I have no idea how early to get to a running race. What is there to do but warm up and use the bathroom? We stayed at the hotel until 7, when breakfast started, then I shoved down some food and we drove on over to the frigidly cold start. It was like 35 degrees, but it was supposed to warm up by 15-20 just during the race. Our sun really works. I did a little short warm up but spent most of the time making sure Hunter was going to be ok and trying to get him to nurse one last time. He was too excited to be playing in the passenger seat to be bothered.
Lining up with a few hundred others, I got my ipod going. I usually never listen to music in races, but I thought it may be a bit sparse, and I'd need some motivation. The countdown to go started us, and we headed out around the parking lot. I tried to get a sense of a good pace before I looked at my garmin, and I had thought maybe 7:20-7:25 would be a good goal to hit for the first few miles. I was right on: 7:20, 7:20, 7:19. After going through a short 100 yard, but deep and rocky stretch of sand, I hoped I was done with the off road section of the course until the return trip. At around 3.5 miles, I saw two familiar faces cheering for me. Hunter was fascinated with the runners going by, and I think he even recognized me in my speedy blaze by (haha).
I was closing in on a couple of girls. One I recognized from a few triathlons, but we didn't talk much. The other started chatting with me right around the time we hit the real off road stretch, which consisted of very small gravel and dirt. I took out my headphones and got to know my running buddy -- where she was from, her running history, her travels, etc etc -- a nice way to pass the miles -- and I told her about the area, including the dried up river and why I hadn't run a half marathon in 3 years, that is, once we saw him out playing in the grass near the turnaround. Little Hunter looked up at me when I called his name as I ran by, even though playing in the park was probably a highlight of the spectating experience. By this point we had picked up the pace to around 7:10-7:15, even through the dirt, which was in total a bit under 3 miles, I'd estimate. There was a slight headwind on the way back, and I tucked in behind the girls for just a bit. Once back on the pavement, the tri girl picked up the pace, and my buddy said she wasn't going to chase. I kept chatting for a while until the windy mile 10 mark when I checked our split: 7:30. Oops! No talking while racing, Joy! This did make me think of Ironman Gary, who I'd give anything to have talk my ear off in a race again. I picked up the pace at that point, to around 7:00 for the remaining miles, but my buddy didn't.
I was expecting the course to be short, since several mile markers had been .2 mi off, but that 13th one made up for it, and the last tenth was overcompensating. I had to lap my watch when I hit 13.1 , even though I wasn't to the finish line yet (how OCD is that?). I do not claim those extra 25 seconds on my time! So my real time was 1:34:40, even though the official results may say I was just over 1:35. :) I told myself I'd be happy if I ran 1:35 or under, and I was. A few lessons learned from this race are 1) if I'd stop chatting I may be able to run faster, and 2) my legs felt pretty good -- the hip did fine -- and maybe they do remember how to run after all. I might just give this racing thing another try.
Hunter had his fill of spectating this weekend, but he seems ready to take on the training himself. He's not satisfied to be sitting on the sidelines for long. He now officially crawls, although he'd much rather be escorted on foot. He can stand for around 10 seconds at a time not holding on, and pulls up on everything. When he really gets going, he will hold my hands and lean forward, trying his best to run -- usually after a cat.
He knows how to fuel his exercise as well. Never rejecting anything I put in his mouth, he's enjoyed carrots, potatoes, squash, kale, onions -- even raw right out of the garden, beans, asparagus, oatmeal, raspberries, blueberries, and his fair share of puffs. Mama milk is still his favorite though.
He is about to start talking about all this training and eating. While not saying any words yet, he is definitely understanding many. He laughs when you name an object that he knows. Too cute. I can't wait to hear what's on his mind.
Thanksgiving at the cabin
One day we coincidentally had on coordinating outfits. Had to capture that.