Or, Beer and Roaming in Knoxvegas. Apologies to Hunter S. Thompson.
I can do anything for 30 minutes or so, right?
Well, probably not *anything*. I can't imagine washing my hair for 30 minutes. Or watching Ghost Adventures. But I can run really slowly for 30 minutes. I know I can.
Just NOT in. the. rain.
(which reminds me of a favorite joke, as answered by Ernest Hemingway: Why did the chicken cross the road? To die.
In the rain.)
The occasion was the Barley's St. Patrick's 5k. Josie and I did it last year and nearly died. SRSLY. The first HOT day of the year after a very chilly winter - color me not acclimated. And it was a huge disappointment to me because it was my 4th or 5th race and I'd been improving in microbursts and felt really lucky going in to it. Let's just say, I don't handle heat well in the best of times and I was crushed, like run-over-by-a-truck crushed (figuratively speaking) by my terrible 31:23 finish.
So this year's race was all about redemption.
(And pizza. Because there was FREE pizza at the end! Also, 2 free beers as well, so thank you Barley's!)
I woke up to the sound of rain. I have my heat pump's circulating fan running constantly, so this was not a gentle sprinkle, but a Noah's Ark kind of deluge for me to hear it from the snuggly confines of my boudoir. A feeling of dread came over me, a veritable cloud (do you like where my metaphor is trying to go?) of 'OMG nooooooooo.' I despise running in the rain. Now I had the next 5 or so hours to let that dread fester and obsess over Doppler radar. And plan my running outfit over and over and over and over and - well, you get my drift. I ate a huge breakfast and watched the skies. I walked the dog and was sprinkled lightly upon. I got in the van with Josie and hit the road to threatening skies but no measurable precipitation. A couple of traffic snafus and an hour later, we hit Knoxville. Still no rain to speak of, but coolish. And a bit of March-y wind. I got my race packet and began a rather ridiculous debate with myself and Josie over where I would put my race bib. On the outer layer? Or should I be brave and pull off the pullover and go sleeveless in the city?
I felt another gust of March and decided to keep the pullover.
Mistake. We started and I was warm by the top of the first hill. First two things to get over: the hill and the warmth. Me 1, mental barriers 0.
And those were the first of many mental barriers I had to get through. That's been my Achilles heel lately - just thinking 'I can't.' I had two goals for this race. The big one was to run the entire thing (and when I say run, it's a run to me but to others it might appear to be more of a jog - whatevs. We can't all be Speedy Gonzalez). And the second goal - and the one that really seemed like a pipe dream, a will o' the wisp if you will, was to beat my last year's time. That sorry 31:23.
I'll spare you the boring details. Every time I was brave enough to look at my Garmin, my pace seemed good. It was a very up and down course and I tried to take full advantage of every down and just keep breathing on every up. I had my tunes, and they were a great distraction. (Pre-race, I was listening to something really loud and obnoxious and imagining I was in a music video and all my fellow participants were singing lines - this is hi-larious. Try it some time.)
At the finish line, I came *this* to being taken out by a small black automobile, to which I very dramatically lifted my hands and mimed W.T.F?!?! No one noticed, but I felt better.
Because I was at the finish. And I had run the whole way. And while I actually forgot to stop my Garmin, I later found out my time was an incredible 29:14.