Running on gluten-free carbs…

Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk – Frankfort, KY (April 14, 2012)

Me crossing the finish line at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Me crossing the finish line at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Race: Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk

Place: Frankfort, KY

Date: April 14, 2012

Time: 25:32

Races are supposed to be fun.  No pressure.  No expectations.  Just get out there and run.

That being said…this was the first race I ever revisited to date…although it won’t be the last.  Of course, this was also a race that I showed really well at the first time I ran it, so expectations were actually there.  In my head.  No one was putting them on me.  But, I wanted to prove that I rightfully placed last year and the bad weather wasn’t the reason I won first in my division (30-39).

No pressure.  That’s a joke.

I woke up that morning and got dressed for the race.  It was going to be a perfect 54 degrees out at race time, so I was in my shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt…and opted for fun rainbow socks.  I don’t know why.  I was just feeling all Skittle-ish that morning, I suppose.

The drive to Frankfort always seems longer than it is.  It’s not really all that far, but I didn’t eat breakfast at home.  I saved my cereal for the ride and broke into it around 7:30 a.m. as we were heading into the Frankfort area.  I didn’t want to eat too soon and risk being hungry during the race, but I didn’t want to eat too late either.  As it was, I think I got the timing down perfectly.

The drive in got a bit stressful as my roommate never can quite remember where to go.  I race in Frankfort often enough, but it seems she always turns too soon and we end up getting lost.  This did happen.  And then once we got turned around, the bridge we were supposed to take was closed.  So we followed some detour signs, spotted some runners, parked the car on the street and found our way to packet pickup via “Eye of the Tiger” blaring up the streets of Frankfort via a stereo system.

I got my packet.  Then got my number pinned on me…and went to use the bathroom once more before the race.  As there was a pancake breakfast (not gluten-free…so sad!) afterwards, we had access to the church’s bathrooms (huzzah for plumbing).  Then, it was time to stretch it out.  And I really wanted to stretch well as my Achilles tendon on my left foot has been giving me troubles since my roommate accidentally stepped on it and did some minor damage.  So stretching was very, very important that morning.  My tendon was a little tender as it was so I wanted to warm it up without putting any strain on it.  I’d be doing enough of that with the run.

And before I knew it, the runners were getting into the road to line up for the start.  There was nothing really to indicate the start line, so one of the organizers got out there and waved her arms to indicate where we should line up.  And so…we moved forward and took our spots.  And somehow…I ended up where I never do…the front.

I went ahead and started my iPod because it would be one less thing to worry about as the race started.  It was down low so I could talk to people if I wanted and could clearly hear the announcements.  They had a prayer just before the race and then once the Frankfort police that were assisting gave the thumbs up…they got us on our marks, getting set…and we were off.

To say that I was up front for the entire thing is a stretch of the truth.  Considering the winner finished 9 minutes before I did means that while I was up at the front, I was nowhere near the lead pack.  Between the start of the race and mile one, which included a steep little hill, I was the second female within range.  The only other one was just ahead of me and just after mile 1, I passed her…only to be passed by two other women running together.  One I recognized as the overall winner of this exact race last year.  As I came up toward the capital, the other woman I passed went by me on the uphill part as well as two other females, who I ended up passing and never saw again as soon as it leveled out.  Damn, time to work on hill repeats.  I have got to get stronger on those hills.

I passed up the other woman again on the downhill and managed to stay ahead of her heading into mile 2.  At mile 2 I was even closing the gap on the two other women who were just ahead of me.  I was struggling a little because I knew that I went out really fast on this race.  I always tell myself not to, and to save it for the end, but I really got caught up in this one.  Probably because I felt like I really had something to prove.  Not to anyone else…but to myself.  I felt good as I ran down the hill and headed back through the city toward the finish line.  As I turned a corner, I could see the finish line clock and I did my best to pick up the speed…but I really just couldn’t.

My roommate was standing at the front of the finish, I could see her screaming, then hear her screaming, telling me to push, to dig, to go faster.  The two women ahead of me crossed together.  My roommate was pointing, flailing her hands, screaming at me to run faster.  And I found out why a second before I crossed the finish line.  That other woman, the one I battled back and forth with throughout the course, blew right past me and beat me to the finish line.

By one second.

I slowed and went through the finish gate, feeling…a mix of emotions really.  The tag of my bib was torn off and I saw my roommate moving toward me.  “Shit!” I said, despite being at a church.  I wasn’t happy.  Not at all.  I had nothing left at the end and that was my undoing.  The other woman, Heather Drake (a name I will never forget!), proceeded to move to the side and throw up.  Well, at least I made her push hard enough to puke up her breakfast, right?

Shit.

Racing has never been about winning medals and placing for me.  I do it because I love it.  It means getting out to run with other people who love to run.  The vibe, the atmosphere…it’s all just amazing.  And it keeps me going back to races, no matter how short or how long.  And it challenges me…pushes me to do better.  But for some reason, being beat out at the last second by someone I passed and didn’t see again…stung.  It really, really bothered me.

I languished for a moment on the sidewalk as I drank down a bottle of water.  Then I remembered I never stopped my GPS watch, so now my time was all off.  So I cussed again, threw a little fit, and then took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that this was supposed to be fun.  My roommate helped with this too, telling me that I had a good race, that I ran well, and that while I still haven’t reached that elusive sub-25 minute goal, I ran well and finished.  And she was right.  Why was I being so petty?  Was it because I had placed first in my division last year and just felt I needed to do it again for this race to mean something to me?  Probably.  But it was the wrong attitude to have.

After taking a moment to reflect on this, I stood up and went into the church bathroom to get changed out of my running clothes.  I put one of my Icy-Hot patches on my tendon and headed up to the pancake breakfast, despite not being able to eat anything there.  That was okay though, I had brunch plans back in Louisville, so I just sort of took a seat, put my foot up and waited for the awards ceremony to start.

Once people were given time to eat, the awards were handed out.  For overall women, there was a tie for first (so it went first and second) and then Heather Drake (dammit!) took third overall.

One second.

Me with my medal for winning first in my age division (30-39) at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

Me with my medal for winning first in my age division (30-39) at the Tomorrow's Children 5K Fun Run/Walk - Frankfort, Kentucky

But I knew that this also meant that I had, in fact, defended my title, which was the original goal in the first place.  My name was announced…first in my division, and I went to get my medal.  I was happy.  I really was.  I would have been even if I had taken second or third.  It was a good race for a good cause, and that was the important thing.  Defending my title just put a little extra pressure on me that I probably didn’t need to carry with me…and in the future, I’ll remember that.

I was quite proud of myself for accomplishing my original goal.  So, I was one second away from being one of the top female finishers overall.  ONE SECOND!  *cough*  So, I didn’t set a new PR.  What I did do, however, was run strong, run fast, and run well.  In the future, I’ll pace myself better.  I will save some push for the end.  And one day…I’ll see the results of this.  For now, I will call this a job well done and a race well run.

And I’m okay with that.  Even that one second.  Okay…maybe I’m not over that yet…but I will get there.

With all that being said, my official results of the Tomorrow’s Children 5K Fun Run/Walk are that I finished the race in 25:32.  I was the I was 17/108 finishers overall and 4/42 women.  And, of course, I finished 1/22 in my division.  All that being said, it was a damn good race with damn good results.

I can’t wait to run it again next year.


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