Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dust Bunnies Begone

A certain someone who shall remain nameless (ahem) not-so-subtly suggested in the comment section of my last post that I ought to be writing about the races I've been running this summer instead of allowing my blog to sit around collecting dust bunnies with a soundtrack of chirping crickets playing in the background.

At first, I scoffed at the suggestion.

"Hmph", I snorted. Out loud even, which surprisingly sounds just like it's spelled. (Try it, you'll see.)

Maybe this certain someone doesn't know how busy I've been this summer and how I just don't have the time to write about every single mile I run like some folks do. But then I remembered the couple of hours I spent recently watching Napoleon Dynamite for the 13th time and figured I probably shouldn't try to pull the lack-of-time card.

Well, maybe this certain someone doesn't understand I've been blogging for nearly two years now and have covered every possible interesting and entertaining subject on running there could be and am now generously allowing other members of the blogging community to share their own thoughtful insights. But then I remembered the entries I've attempted to pull off as legitimate posts in the past on subjects such as chickens crossing the road and practicing my spitting techniques while running and decided I'd better not go there either.

Fine. (I say, as I roll my eyes with the masterful precision of a teenage girl.) I'll write a re-cap of the races I've run this summer to appease this certain someone, as well as anyone else who still actually checks in occasionally to read this has-been blogger. But then I'll thank you to leave me alone for another few months until I feel the urge to post about how my new pre-race bathroom strategies are working for me. Deal?

So, my first race after my Miserable Marathon in May was on the morning of the 4th of July, a local 5K. I'd had six or seven weeks to recover from the marathon and had really backed off my mileage in an attempt to give my road-weary body some rest. The summer season had kicked in in full force and while it took some time for me to adjust, I finally got into the habit of getting up early in the morning to run. I'd purchased a foam roller from my physical therapist to work out the kinks in my IT bands (made exponentially worse by running 26.2 miles downhill) and discovered it to be the answer to my fervent injury-free prayers. I went into the 5K feeling healthy, strong, and raring to blow away my personal record.

As it turned out, I had an impromptu camping trip thrust upon me the night before the race. Well, okay... to qualify it as "camping" might not be totally accurate. We pitched tents in the backyard on the grass. But hey... to a girl who NEVER camps, sleeping outside on the ground in a tent is roughing it as much as hiking ten miles into back country where the only place to "void oneself" is behind a possibly-poisonous bush while animals of suspicious intent casually observe. I was roughing it, people. To say I slept restlessly would be grossly understating it, but I survived and even managed to extract myself from the luxurious comfort of the cold, hard ground to get to my race on time.

It'd been over two years since I'd run an official 5K race and I knew going into it my strategies for racing marathons and half-marathons in the last two years would be as useless as my sports bras. There was to be no "starting out slow" for this race if I had any hope to pull off a PR. I knew to get it, I'd be wishing I would mercifully be shot around the circumference of my head with a roofing nail gun. And that's just after the first mile.

Turns out I was right.

Just 1/4 mile into the course, we were diverted onto a golf course, which as most of you might have noticed is typically composed of grass. Yeah, sorry. I don't run on grass. Not even to get the mail. I guess the race director figured since it was a golf course, the grass would be short enough to run through without slowing us down too much. In retrospect, I suppose it wasn't so bad, but it definitely wasn't a walk in the park either. (Get it?? Golf course? Walk in the park? Nevermind). And as if that wasn't bad enough, apparently they forgot to close down the golf course temporarily while the race was in progress because we passed several golfers having to stand idly by with their clubs in hand to wait for the few hundred of us to pass. They seemed to be fairly patient, but I still had visions of getting clocked upside the head by a strategically driven golf ball from a guy annoyed we'd thrown off his groove.

Finally off the golf course, the last half of the race was on a dirt and gravel trail, which, while still not the most efficient of running terrains for me, was at least something with which I was very familiar. As I was approaching the second mile mark, wheezing out a lung, I heard the sound of wheels coming up behind me. The pain wracking my body was temporarily forgotten while my mind tried to wrap around the mystery of what could possibly be on wheels coming up behind me. And then I saw it. A guy running while pushing a stroller. With a baby in it, no less. Breezing past me as if he were out taking a casual spin around the neighborhood. I decided I hated that guy. And though I never saw it, I'm sure the baby was ugly too.

I don't remember the rest of the race. Not because it was uneventful or because it was several weeks ago, but because I'm pretty certain I had blacked out by then. Yet, somehow-- one could even say miraculously-- I finished. And when the carnage was over and the bodies were counted, I had bested my PR by a whole 25 seconds.

Upon crossing the finish line and realizing my achievement, I had only two thoughts:

1) Man, I rocked that three miles.


2) Man, I hate 5K's.

Thus ends the first of my two postdated summer race reports. Next up I'll recap the half-marathon I ran a week ago in which I snagged a nice finishing time, albeit several minutes short of my PR. I don't know when I'll get around to posting it, though. I have Napoleon Dynamite on DVD just begging to be watched for like the infinity-th time.



Ovens2Betsy said...

Great post! Although I'm sure "he who shall remain nameless" won't see it as his head will be so swelled from the profile on Runner's Lounge. (And by the way, you look WAY better in a running skirt than he does).

chia said...

You're spooking me out. Just last Friday I told a friend that I "didn't have time to rewatch Napoleon Dynamite" since I was so busy. She then pointed out the time I spend on the internets... profound, I'm sure.

You crack me up. Strollers piss me off too. They allowed them in the last half mary I did and nothing is more degrading than being taken by an overexuberant papa with a gangle toothed toddler in the jogging stroller.

Great job at the 5K!

robison52 said...

You are one humble runner! If I had bested my PR by a whole 25 seconds it would have been posted on my blog as soon as I got home!!! CONGRATS! Looking forward to reading your half-marathon report, soon, right?

Frayed Laces said...

You totally crack me up. I must agree, 5Ks suck. Every single minute is pure torture. Yet I still feel compelled to do them...WHY?

tfh said...

Come on.

You can blog and watch N.D. on repeat at the same time!

My vow, last 10k, was "Time doesn't matter, but I will NOT be passed by a stroller." Next time you should stick out your leg and trip the dad.

Jen said...

My first race I was passed by a stroller and then by a pregnant lady. It was about then that I was ready to give up. I've only done one 5 k because they suck so bad. But good for you! I love your writing so even bathroom techniques would be enjoyable to read.

See Zanne Run said...

god girl, you are funny. being passed by a stroller in a 5k is about as insulting as being passed by a guy in a hula skirt at mile 21of a marathon, or being passed on a bike ride by a guy with a big sippy cup and foot long straw attached to his bike.

5k's are lung busting tough - way to go on a PR!

Nitmos said...

I don't know who this jackhole anonymous blogger is but he should leave you alone. This was the best month old race report I've read in awhile. I can't wait for the belated half mary report. How many viewings of Nap Dynamite between this report and that one you think? ;)

Congratulations and Nice PR...even though it appears you were "strollered."

abbylouwho said...

Thanks for the IT band tip. He had recommended the foam roller the last time I saw him. Then I read you blog and decided I needed one, so I ordered it yesterday. I can't wait to try it out! Thanks!

Jen said...

That last comment was me, Jen. I didn't notice that I was still signed in under my daughter's name. Sorry. Anyway, thanks for the roller advice. I think it's really helping. I wasn't prepared for the pain though! Yikes! Really bad! Like crying bad.

Jim said...

Hi Angie. Glad to see you're still at it. I'm keeping busy, as well, although not much blogging of late. Now that summer is in full swing in Idaho, I imagine it could snow any day now!

The Hoyt's said...

Hey girl.. Thanks for the comment.. Yes I would like more info on the roller for the ITBs. I had read an earlier post of yours talking about it and then read Jens post about using it so I ordered one and thought I would give it a try..I'm just not sure how much or often to do it..