Tuesday, March 11, 2008

first race...

...of the (almost) spring season and since September. I used to race almost every weekend when I lived in New York City (where I grew up and lived until 1999) and was a member of the NYRR. I thought I was done enjoying the ritual of race morning. I thought I no longer cared (too much) about speed. Not that I was ever the fastest. But I had some ability.

But in the St. Patrick's Day 8K, I finished in 38:15. I was the 16th (out of over 300) in my age group (35-39), and the 100th woman overall (out of over 2,000). I am thrilled -- I had no idea I still had a little speed left. And it wasn't too hard, either. I was hoping for less than 45 minutes. I am pleasantly astounded.

Sunday was a cold one in Washington, DC -- 30 degrees with a wind chill of 19 degrees. Waiting in line for the Port-O-Potties, I overheard and joined in conversations on "Why do we do this?" I remain unsure.

I think part of it is the ritual: a ritual that is all mine, does not involve my children or spouse (but I liked it even before children and a spouse). It is a quiet ritual. I pull out my special race-day bag, my NYC Marathon 2000 backpack. I check the forecast and lay out my clothes for race morning. I set my alarm and plan when to leave so I will have enough time for two Port-O-Potty visits (yes, two). I often warm up. (On Sunday I did not. I was unwilling to give up my warm fleece to baggage check until the last minute.) I try to line up 5-10 minutes before gun time. After the race, I find the closest coffee shop -- usually a Starbucks -- and get myself the largest possible skim latte. This latter part of my ritual was particularly satisfying on Sunday -- a warm cup and tasty coffee for the walk back to the car.

My pacing is no longer what it used to be. I used to be pretty consistent. If I ran the first mile in 7:35, the subsequent miles would be within 5-10 seconds (no, not as consistent as an elite runner). On Sunday I ran a 7:50, a 7:12, an 8:00. A little wacky. But I don't care so much about pacing anymore -- I just check in, "Does this pace feel okay? Can I keep this up? Speed up? Slow down?"

Maybe I can do that half-marathon on March 29 in sub-8:00s...

Oh, and on race morning of the 8K, but unrelated to the race, see what I did at 6am (5am without the "spring forward") to save my car.

5 comments:

Crumbs said...

Sounds like you had a Good Karma Run.
And hot dang, about the race time.

Ohh, I never thought about the port-o-potties when it's that cold. Does it freeze the smell in place?

morgan said...

The stink was not so bad, the wind outside was more distressing. I have never before felt such an urge just to stay in the Port-O-Potty until race time. While it was sheltered in there, a draft came up through the seat. Not so toasty.

Elizabeth said...

I was right behind you at 39:06! I am not doing the National Half but my race team is doing the Zooma Annapolis....we need to figure out ways to meet up with other SMR moms at races...

morgan said...

Hey, Elizabeth -- good times all around! I was thinking about the ZOOMA half...

Elizabeth said...

Our whole race team is already signed up! We need to all link up there. I think people are also signed up for the GW Parkway Classic. Andrea was talking about having a table or a sign there. I am running Cherry Blossom but just checked the calendar and it is 3 weeks after so it might work...