Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Races

No need to worry. Despite my choice of title, I'm not going to go all "literary" on you. I mean, don't get me wrong... I love a good read. I read all kinds of Cliff Notes in high school. (Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was one of my favorites, all 37 pages of it.) But for the purpose of this blog, the title is just a catchy comparison to the classic piece of literary genius penned by Charles Dickens. I'll warn you right now, though, the comparisons stop there. I'm not Tall Girl Writing, after all.

So, for the first time in my long and illustrious career as a runner (comprising six years, seven months and 13 days), I competed in TWO half-marathons in one month. You're gasping in shock and appall, I'm sure. Since when did I become such an overachiever, right? I speak the truth, however. I did just that. And I'm happy to report after lying in a comatose state for only 39 straight hours after the last race, I'm no worse the wear.

Unfortunately, even after two shots at it, my coveted half-marathon PR still lies unattained, blatantly taunting me with cheap shots like, "you run like a girl" and "yo mama". Not sure what the latter has to do with anything, but we all know unattained PR's aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack. It's fairly obvious my body is perfectly satisfied with running just over two-hour half-marathons. Why fix what's not broken, it figures. My body and I aren't on the best of terms right now because of it, but we're seeking counseling and I think given a little more time and the right combination of medications, we'll work it out.

Curiously, there really isn't all that much to report about my races. That's very unlike me to not have something wildly bizarre to report, but sadly, it's true. The most interesting thing about my first race was that the bathrooms were locked before the race (the starting line was at a local park), forcing me to either find a tree next to the swing set or drive to a nearby gas station. I chose the latter, but only because I wanted to buy some gum. I don't have any problem watering the grass. I do, however, have a problem being gumless.

My second half-marathon was this past Saturday, a mere three weeks after the first. Again, it was a rather uneventful race except for a few small tidbits of goodness. This was a local race that, while located only 20 miles away, I had never run before because it consisted of a three-mile long hill not even halfway into the race. Call me a wussy, I don't care. With plenty of other hill-less races around to choose from, I wasn't about to subject myself willingly to that kind of torture. But when I'd pretty much hit every other local race available, I decided I didn't have a good reason to ignore it anymore. I hit my hill training hard in the weeks leading up to the race and showed up prepared to rock it. And while I did, indeed, rock the hill, I had a harder time rocking the 82-degree weather. Why, why, WHY do some races insist on starting so late? By 8:30 in the morning, I should be lying down for my post-run nap, not just taking the first steps of a half-marathon.

In any case, although it turned out to be my second worst half-marathon finishing time, I was extremely proud of my effort. Even moreso because halfway into the race, as I was forging my way up this monster of a hill, a huge stream of sweat found its way into my left eyeball, clouding up my contact completely. I found myself running while visually-impaired (which I'm pretty certain is illegal in this part of Idaho, so this is just between you and me). It was like I was the
Michael Phelps of running... except not at all like the Michael Phelps of running. I'm not sure how I managed to stay on course instead of ending up crossing some finish line in Kentucky, but apparently I did. And while it was a somewhat disappointing time for me, it boosted my confidence knowing I'd placed in the top ten of my age division. Take that, Michael Phelps! Mr. I-won-eight-gold-medals-at-the-Olympics-blah-blah-blah.

The coup de grĂ¢ce of last weekend's race, however, didn't happen until well after the finish. I'd taken my coupon for one free huckleberry milkshake (awarded to all finishers) to redeem at the local drugstore. Upon exiting the passenger side of my husband's truck, so excited to get my hands on 24 ounces of frozen heaven, my feet got tangled up in the strings of the race bag at my feet. I tried desperately to get my feet back underneath me but let's face it... I'm six feet tall and have got the grace and agility of a newborn giraffe. I hit the ground pretty hard and might've said something that would make a sailor blush, had a sailor actually been within hearing distance. From behind me I heard a woman running to my rescue, reaching out to me and asking if I was alright. I did my best to compose myself enough to turn and tell her, "yeah, I'm fine", only to realize my rescuer was the local female elite running phenom, having just been awarded 20 minutes earlier the overall female finisher trophy for running the half-marathon in 1:24. So smooth, Angie... finding a way to fall over my own feet in front of a celebrity after running 13 miles. Take that, Michael Phelps!

I've yet to plan my next race. Maybe I'll wait until the bruises on my leg heal. Not to mention the ones on my ego.


Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking said...

Very entertaining, very funny, and very inspiring. Bravo for finally tackling the three-mile hill which evaded you. (Okay, you evaded it more than it evade you, but that's just semantics...)

I have a half-marathon in three weeks, and hope that my run is half as entertaining as yours.

Good luck on the next race!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I would have tripped on my race bag strings after I had my huckleberry milkshake award in my hand, but prior to drinking any more than a sip (the sip would let me know how good the parking lot now tastes). :-p So it really was a success for you.

tfh said...

I really need to get out of the suburban wasteland more often-- of course I'm incredibly awed by your two HMs in a month, but I think I'm even more shocked at the concept of getting a "huckleberry milkshake" at the "local drugstore."

I'm guessing this wasn't, like, Walgreens?

I hope it made the boo boos all better.

Melanie said...

This post cracked me up... I love it! Well done on finishing both races!

The Hoyt's said...

You crack me up girl....I love your posts... Great job on the half...Thanks for your tips... Feeling better today after my ice bath ;)

Allen said...

Congratulations, Angie, on finishing the two half-marathons!

Here is a statement from Dean Karnazes (the guy who ran 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. He is Greek, and I think he is of the family of Greek gods while we're of the family of mortals).

"By now the temperature was in excess of eighty degrees. Topher and I began passing struggling runners....These poor folks had not started out on the right foot. Many of them had come here with time goals that were no longer realistic in the conditions, but had refused to adjust their pace. Now they were paying the price."

The important thing, Angie, is not the PB you were hoping to get but how you did in light of the conditions you were in.

robison52 said...

I feel your pain, took me several years to break the 4-hour mark in the marathon, and when I did get a PR I was surprised I had a BQ of 3:44! Shocked and amazed as I felt my fitness was still the same (although I did do about 20% more training mileage). I have confidence it'll happen to you too, when you least expect it your personal record for the half will be under 2 hours, just keep plugin away.

Ovens2Betsy said...

Mmmmm... huckleberry milkshakes.

I said it once (or perhaps twice, maybe thrice) and I'll say it again: you WILL run a sub 2-hour marathon! Just stay away from the race bag straps.

Christie said...

I love how you write. Your posts are always entertaining. You should blog more often. I love it!

Kristin said...

Nice job, even a two hour half marathon is amazing considering the summer weather conditions. Don't you live in Idaho? I don't even visit Idaho in summertime! :)

Nikki said...

From one tall girl running to another, great blog! Loved your post and have enjoyed reading about your adventures so far. Good job on the races - my closest (and only) halves to date were 1.5 months apart, can't imagine 3 weeks! Totally off topic, do you find running skirts are often too short for your height?

Jen said...

Oh man! That would totally be something I would have done...oh wait...remember Salt Lake where I tripped before the finish line??? Bruised ego indeed. At least you got a shake out of it! And congrats on two 1/2s in one month. I think you're awesome!

Nitmos said...

Not sure what a huckleberry shake is so I can't comment on if that is something to be thankful for or not. So, congratulations on a solid marathon last month (get it? 1/2 + 1/2 = 1)

Steve Stenzel said...

Yeah: take that, Michael Phelps!!!

Nice job!! Way to go!!

Joe said...

Congrats on doing TWO in such a short time! I won't be saying "yo mama" to you.