|Before the race|
Yes, a few
So, my sister and I are doing our 5K-a-month plan again, and the Freedom Run was our July event. It benefitted the American Legion, so the race fee went to a great cause. Anything to help our veterans!
We left early because the race was in Los Fresnos, which is about an hour away. After getting a wee bit lost, we finally figured out where the heck we were and got to the venue just fine. The people at registration were friendly and helpful, but we were disappointed to find that there were no more shirts left.
Now, here's the thing about shirts. My sister and I don't do these races to win trophies or prizes. We love the ones where we get finisher medals, but lack of those isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. What we REALLY like are the t-shirts, which are generally offered to the first 100-300 registrants. This race advertised guaranteed shirts to the first 300 entrants. Well, my sis was 89 and I was 118 - YOU do the math!
Anyway, we were promised shirts (which we still haven't received), given our little race packets and bib numbers, and off we went.
This is where things started going downhill for me. I hadn't had a chance to...er...take care of business before leaving the house, so yeah - REALLY had to go. We were at a little county park that had one of those little cinderblock restroom buildings with two stalls, no porta-potties in sight. Hmmm. My sister decided to go put her goodie bag in her truck, so I had her take mine as well so I could go stand in line.
So...this was a relatively small race, but there were a LOT of women in the restroom line. Things were reaching a crisis point for me. I had no choice but to wait. THEN, the dreaded words: "Does anyone have any toilet paper??" !!!!!!!
Holy cats! I went into some kind of fugue state of restroom panic. What the heck?? Sure, we were surrounded by trees, brush, and trails...but was I really that desperate? I started walking toward my sister's truck in the parking lot - not sure why, it's not like she carries a porta-potty around with her - and she must have seen the pained look on my face as she approached me.
"There's no paper," said I, nearly breathless with panic.
"I think I have some of those blue paper towels in the truck," she said, and my panic released.
SO - I go get the paper towel, stuff it in my pocket (because no WAY am I sharing!!), and get back in line. I tried really hard not to wonder what the other women were doing for toilet paper.
I finally got to a stall, and it happened. The one thing I was dreading.
Yup. STAGE FRIGHT. I just sat there, yelling silently at my bowels, wondering how on earth I was going to get through the 5K without...well...you know. I guess knowing there were about 10 other women waiting in line did me in. Sighing, I left the restroom in defeat.
I walked outside and reached into my pocket for my bib number. It was gone. DANG IT!!! I was worried maybe someone found it and used it as toilet paper. Maybe I had entered another fugue state and used it as toilet paper...
I walked over to the registration table to let them know I had lost it and miraculously heard my name being called - some kind person had found my bib and turned it in. YAY!
Okay, so time for the race to start. Since we know we're not going to go fast at the beginning, we always stay in the back out of courtesy to the faster folks and so we won't get killed in the rush. The course was a pretty simple out and back deal, which kind of sucked because I got REALLY jealous of the people who passed me, already on their way back while I was not even halfway done. Yeah, yeah - my own damn fault, but still! It's annoying...
Here's the thing. It was HOT. The race started a bit late, close to 9am. It was humid. It was in the mid 90s by the time we finished. I drank LOTS of water, and found myself wishing I had brought my handheld water bottle thingy. Luckily, my bowel issue went away and didn't bother me at all during the race, but I was still so dang hot. I did try to run a few times, but I've not trained for that and could feel myself about to overheat so I stopped before it was too late.
My sister walks FAST!! I stuck with her for a while, but I just couldn't keep up. My legs are always tight during the first mile or so, no matter how much I stretch beforehand. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been like that. After the first mile I start feeling pretty good and can move a little faster, but by then my sis has usually left me in the dust. Something I need to work on, I guess.
I got to the halfway point and turned around, pleased to see there were still several people behind me. Mind you, I was walking, not running. Running isn't in the cards yet, but I'm working on it. Anyway, I was so hot by this point that all I could think about was getting to the finish line. I got to a water station, grabbed two cups of water, and poured one of them over my head, which helped a little. I noticed a large group in front of me had stopped and one of their members was sitting on the ground. I held onto my water cup to offer her some, but she was up and moving by the time I got there so I figured she was okay. A short while later, the group stopped again and I passed them, and soon after that an ambulance drove past to pick her up. I guess the heat got to her :-(
I finally got to the finish line and was handed my finisher's medal. My sis was waiting for me and snapped this goofy pic:
It was good to get into the air-conditioned truck and head home to shower, that's for sure!
Next race: the CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) 5K on August 10th. I'm trying to get more training in this time around, but these graduate school classes are kicking my BUTT.
Special shout-out to my blog buddy Mandy Farrar who is racing Ironman Lake Placid today. GO MANDY!!!! Bib #713!!! As someone who can barely get through a 5K - WALKING - I am in complete awe of people like Mandy (and others whose blogs I follow) who can not only train for these races, but actually COMPETE in them!