Running on gluten-free carbs…

Durbin Classic 5K – Nobelsville, IN (March 24,2012)

Crossing the finish line of the Durbin Classic 5K - Noblesville, Indiana

Crossing the finish line of the Durbin Classic 5K - Noblesville, Indiana

Race: Durbin Classic 5K

Place: Noblesville, IN

Date: March 24, 2012

Time: 24:59*

Yep, that’s an asterisk.

I don’t want to admit that that time possibly could be wrong. I really don’t…because this would have been my first sub-25 minute 5K race. And it fell perfectly into my half-marathon training program, which was to run a 5K at race pace. I was already going to be up in the area for the Celiac Awareness Tour, so this little race was perfect and not outside of my training regimen.  When doing any sort of training for a big event, in this case a half marathon in May, I try to stay within the parameters of my training program on my iPhone.  I definitely don’t want to get injured when I’m this close to my race.  For once, a race and the training distance coincided.

So, why might the time be wrong?  I’ll get to that.

It was a perfect morning for running…eventually.  You see, traveling to little races SUCKS.  I hate getting out of bed at 4:00 in the morning to eat something, dress, brush my teeth, pile everything into the car, and then drive for 2 hours to a little 5K race.  It just doesn’t seem worth it.  But, as there was actually an event I was attending going on…well…it wasn’t totally out of the question.  But sleep is very important as a runner needs to be well-rested.  I really, really would have liked those two hours to sleep, personally.  A runner has to do what a runner has to do.

I was going with a completely different race look on this one.  The night prior, I had found a pair of Superman socks that had capes hanging off the back.  Yes…I had to buy those.  There was no way I could walk away from those.  So, they were the base of the running outfit I put together.  My running skirt was a must.  And I actually, for the first time, wore a cotton t-shirt for this race.  When I graduated from college, my friend Amanda got me a Superman shirt…and it became my race shirt for the day.  In went my colored hair extensions (red and blue for Superman) and my headband (the bright yellow one).  I threw a couple of extra snacks into the race bag, tied on my running shoes, and called myself as ready as I was going to be.

My roommate and I left the apartment just as scheduled after eating a little something before hitting the road.  It was dark, and she was armed with Diet Mt. Dew…me with a bottle of water (HYDRATION!).  We set out toward Noblesville, Indiana, a good 2 hour drive from where we live, wanting to hit packet pickup around 8:00 a.m. or soon after.  The drive was dark, dull, but made better with the aid of my iPod and Bruce Springsteen’s new album.

We arrived at Durbin Elementary School pretty much when we needed to be there.  We found parking without a problem, grabbed my bag from the car and headed toward the gymnasium for packet pick-up.  There was a little chalkboard with the route mapped out on it and instructions for runners to turn right at the red cones and left at the blue cones.  Okay…I guess that shouldn’t be too difficult to remember…

I picked up my packet and went back outside to get pinned up.  After that, I started to stretch and just people watch.  This was a new area for a race for me and I could see a lot of kids were pinned up, two of which were in bright shirts that indicated kids running groups.  That’s awesome.  Lots of adults were around too, most running the 10K, although there were the few of us who were set on the 5K.  I would have done the 10K…but my training program said…5K at race pace.  No harm in a short run on a Saturday morning.

Without really any indication of where to go, my roommate and I ended up following a swarm of runners who suddenly started making their way down through the parking lot and out onto the street.  This was, apparently, where the race was starting.  Good thing we are lemmings and do what others do.  I got my good luck hug and went to find a good spot to start from, which I did, near the front on the right side.  Fantastic placement.  That was…until the children filed down and started to swarm in around me.  Granted, this is their race too, and some of them turned out to be damn fast runners, but…if usually it’s customary to line up by pace.  Eh…whatever.  I slid over to the left side, just a bit further back from where I was and let the kids have their place.  Fair is fair and they had just as much right to be there as the rest of us did.

The race organizer came down, whistle in hand.  And, with no real warning, he blew it and we were all off.  The race course wound through the roads, which were shut down for the race, cops monitoring the situation and keeping all of us safe during the event.  I started off at a good clip, without pushing too hard because I didn’t want to tire out too quickly.  Not only was I completely unfamiliar with these roads and the area, I was honestly out in the country.  No air pollution at all.  Crisp.  Clean.  Fantastic.  I was really feeling it.

Mile 1 came up and the lady with the stop watch ticked off our times as we passed.  Mine was at a flat 8 minutes.  Awesome.  I was going at a very good speed and I felt I was maintaining it, even over the, albeit, slight hills.  This course was mostly flat with only a few small inclines.  Good way to keep those legs engaged, yes?

Mile 2 came up next and all I totally missed the count on the minutes and only heard seconds being called out.  It was forty-six when I ran past, so…as usual, I just kept on going, focusing on posture, breathing, and the music going on my iPod.

I came around a corner and could see the red roof of the school in the distance.  That meant I was nearing the end.  I was in the last mile of the race and knew I’d need to start pushing it as I was getting close to the finish.  I rounded another bend in the road and could see the orange cones leading back into the parking lot.  As I went to run around the parked cars, the person with the stopwatch shouted off 23 minutes and some seconds.  Oooh…I was close.

So, I put on as much speed as I could as I made the turn in the parking lot and headed toward that finish line.  The announcer said, “And here comes Supergirl!” as I ran over the sensors and made my finish at a remarkable…first time yet…sub-25 minute 5K time.  Barely.  I mean…24:59 was almost 25…but technically…not.

I was thrilled.  I moved out of the finish area to grab a banana to munch on and some water to down for re-hydration purposes.  Then, I went to find a spot so I could watch other people come in and finish their race.  I love cheering people on and giving them motivation to just put on that last push.  Some of the walkers eventually started filtering in…just about the time the 10K was coming in for their finish.  This made for a little bit of finish line chaos, but everyone worked with it.

The finish line was filling up with racers and observers.  The kids sometimes got a little too close to the finish line sensor and their bibs would set off the buzzer again.  Finally the announcer asked for the kids to either move ahead of the finish line or to have their parents take off their bibs.  They happily complied and the excitement and spirit of a good race continued as happy finishers came in.

Save for one jackass.  Apparently early on in the race, he came in, made the turn in the parking lot and missed the sign that was set up that directed 10K runners back out and 5K runners toward the finish line.  He started to shout, “Where is the 10K?  Where is the goddamn 10K?”  First of all, dude, chill…this isn’t the Olympic trials or anything.  It’s a small, local race.  Second of all…you are around children…so please, cut the language and maybe act like a responsible adult.  Anyway…he came in and immediately just started bitching and complaining about everything to his wife, who sat there, nodding her head and encouraging him and agreeing with him.  I mean, he wouldn’t stop.  He was totally killing the mood.  For real.  So, we moved away.

The kids fun run was about to kick off and I went to go get changed out of running clothes and into street clothes to wear to the Celiac Awareness Tour.  As I got done changing and my roommate and I settled in at the gymnasium to watch the awards ceremony…even if I know I’m not winning anything, I love staying for these.  It’s good fun to praise the runners who really kicked ass on their run.

As the race organizers were getting things in order, my roommate pointed out that the results were posted on the wall.  So I hopped up and went to go check them out.  According to the 5K race, I came in 19th/185 overall and was 2nd/36 in my division.  I skipped back to my spot, texted my family and friends as is customary, and waited for the awards.

And this is why there is an asterisk by my race time.  The race coordinator started by announcing how great everyone did.  Then said that if it felt like we had really great times, it might be because he forgot to start the split times at the beginning of the race.  Oh…and the race course might have been just shy of the distance.  Everything in me fell because here I was with a sub-25 minute time, feeling like I finally managed that with all my hard work and running I’ve been putting into training…only to find out that two factors may have affected that.  UGH!  But, what can you do?  I got on MapMyRun this morning and mapped out the course, and if it is shy of the 3.1 miles, it is just shy of it.  Because I came up with a 5K distance when I mapped it according to the route.  Oh well.

So, the awards ceremony kicked off.  The coordinator had all the kids fun run participants come up.  We applauded and they all bowed, which, by the way, is adorable.  Then he invited up the two elementary school running teams that participated, and had them do the same.  More cheering.  And then, out went the awards.  Even those who won overall won their age groups, instead of how it is normally broken up with men and women.  Oh, and awards were not given out for those who ran in the 5K.  I’m sorry, but that’s sort of like saying a 5K isn’t good enough to award those who did really well in it.  I’m not looking for a medal, nor would I have gotten one, but honestly, whether running in the 10K or the 5K, I think those who excelled in each race should have been awarded.  But, it’s not my race and not my place to tell people how to run something.

So, with another race behind me, I leave this one with mixed feelings.  I’m a bit bummed that errors might have meant I didn’t run it as fast as my timing chip said I did.  Or that the race course might have been just shy of the standard 3.1 miles for a 5K race.  It bums me out.  Honestly.  Because I actually pay attention to my times.  I like to see how I improve, or where I struggle.  If I put in too much mileage in the days prior to the race, or if I rested appropriately.  And there is no way to judge that.  But, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.  Other 5Ks await…and I’ll just have to aim for the sub-25 minute 5K again…and again…until I properly, and rightfully achieve it.

If that isn’t motivation…I don’t know what is.


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