Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Luck of the Ersatz Irish

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* close 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.

Thank you again, Barley's.  It was da bomb.