Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Johnny Cake and Eat It TOO!!

The PowerWalker, T, and the Headmaster Pre-Race

The Walrus and B.D. Pre-race (probably discussing race strategy).

I set my alarm for 6:30am for the JC 5-miler, but for some reason I awoke at 5:30. I didn't feel too bad, but knew that a hard race the night before, some post race cocktails and 4 hours of sleep was going to make for a rough race today. I layed there for a minute or two debating whether I even wanted to race today and then after decidining I did I spent another minute or two debating whether or not to go back to bed for another hour. What the hell, I got up and started packing. I figured if I went back to bed I would have a very difficult time getting up in an hour. I was packed dressed and ready in about 20 minutes.

I stopped and got my coffee and then headed to Mentor. I called the Walrus to see if he was up and what he was doing. He was of course doing his race routine of packing and prepping mentally and physically. I was going to be at the race about 2 hours early so I decided to meet him at his house and follow him out. This gave me a chance to watch some of the TDF since I don't get that channel at home. We left about a half hour after I got there.

The weather was beautiful, sunny and cool, just the way I like it. I kept thinking what a perfect set-up for a 5 mile PR, but with my high mileage and hard run last night I was in no shape for a PR this morning. We were as usual one of the first to arrive. We said hi to the race director and his family since they are friends of ours and then it happened....

The Walrus is a very intense person and even worse on race days. We usually have some type of death match before every event and today I thought we might make it, until he cracked. He came over to the truck and began yelling at me. I was furious. Why did he wait until we got to the race to do this!!!???? Every damn time!!! I told him to go away and leave me alone. He eventually did. I proceeded to lock myself in my truck and fill out my registration form, but then I stopped and looked out the window. I thought maybe I should just scrap the race and go home. I hadn't planned on running hard and I was upset with the Walrus. He came back over and tapped on the window about 10 minutes later. I hesitated to open the door as I did not want to go through another fight. He apologized and gave me a kiss, but it was too late, tears were coming down my face. Thank God for sunglasses. I told him to go prep for his race and I was fine, but he knew he had hurt me. I just wanted to be alone. All I could think was after this morning's shit he better go run an f#cking PR now.

I calmed down a few minutes later and gathered myself enough to go register and hit the bathroom. I saw the headmaster and his girlfriend in the pavillion area and talked with them for a minute before grabbing my headphones (yeah, I still wear them to warm-up and center me). I had about 20 minutes so I decided to run to the first mile marker and back. I went out slow and easy. I mean really slow. The first mile was about 10 minutes. My legs didn't feel a thing!! What was going on??? I should be exhausted. I noted the big hill at the start of mile 2 and did a u-turn to head back to the start at what felt like a comfortable pace and then picked it up for the last 200 meters. I checked my watch...8:20. What??!!! How could I be feeling this good? I went to the truck to drop my headphones and hit the starting line, but at the last second I changed my mind. I kept my headphones. Today I was going to break the rules and indulge in my bad habit.

I lined up with some friends. We had all run last night and were thinking this would be a hard recovery run, if that makes any sense. Somewhere in the back of my mind though I had decided I was going to go for it and see if I could pull a PR out of my arse today.

The gun went off and instead of starting out hard I fell into a nice easy pace. The first mile was fairly flat, shaded and quick. I ran about an 8:24.

The second mile started and so did the hill. I cut my stride length and dogged it up the hill trying to relax and use the beat to "Downfall" by Trust Company to carry me through. No problem. Crested the hill and started to catch people right away. I was feeling great. Mile 2 was about 8:46. Uuuuggghhh, no wonder I felt good. I had slowed a lot.

Mile 3 was uneventful. Grabbed some water. Maintained speed, tried to stay in the shade and still run a decent line. I did find this old guy ahead of me that had a red and gray shirt on that I had for some reason decided to use as my goal marker. He would get a little closer every step, but just not close enough to catch. Split was about 8:18.

Mile 4 began with less shade and more sun. I was getting a bit tired now, but I wanted to maintain my pace. I kept telling myself only one long straightaway mile to go after this. My friend C.S. was also running and I knew he was somewhere ahead of me. Our times were getting closer and closer every race and as a motivator I kept telling myself he was somewhere up there, so go get him! I grabbed some water at the last aid station before rounding the corner to Mentor Avenue. Last year I remembered there was construction the entire way up the road to the finish and this year was no different. The shade disappeared and I began to get hot. Mile 4 was in the 8:20's. I knew I was going to PR if I could make it through this last mile.

Mile 5 started with a rebirth of new energy due to the fact that I might PR. It lasted for about 2 minutes. I thought I slowed a bit and then a guy pushing a stroller passed me!! Oh hell no, this was not going to be the finish of my 5 mile PR. I pushed my pace onward and stayed with stroller pusher for about another 2 minutes before passing him. Good! I had totally forgot about the old guy in the gray and red. I did not know if I had passed him or if he had taken off ahead. Oh, well there was another goal ahead of me. I just did not know it yet.

I saw the sign for 880 yards to go and the race director jogging back. He did not see me and I did not want to waste any energy waving or saying hi so I pushed on, but then I saw the Walrus jogging up to him and they began chatting, probably about there races. I did not know if the Walrus had come back for me like he usually does or if he had wanted to talk to the RD. I didn't care. This was going to be my PR, my way, not to mention I was still a little angry and not up for hearing him talk me in to the finish. I also, assumed he thought I would be running slow and thought he had a few minutes to talk, well surprise, not today. I pushed forward even harder trying to get away from all the B.S. of the morning and on to my PR. Boy was he gonna be surprised when he doesn't see me coming. I knew I had less than 5 minutes of running, maybe 4 if my legs could maintain pace and my breathing did not go to hell. Then it happened!!! After months of joking about running C.S. down there he was. I passed him and it did not even register that he was the guy trudging along in the camo shirt that I had just passed. HOLY SHIT!!! I was so excited. I looked up for the finish and there was the banner. He wasn't moving very fast, but I was tiring and did not know if he would try to run me down. I regrouped and picked it up. I was not going to let him get me. I stared at the banner and ran for my life. I could feel him bearing down on me. I did not want to look back as it is usually read as a sign of weakness and I was full of it at this point. Run dammit. He is coming was all I could think. I got to the banner and no finish line.....oh no, they had moved the finish line up from the banner about 200 yards due to the construction!!! I waivered, I did not know if I was going to make it. He had not been running very fast when I passed him, but maybe he was storing it for some lightning kick at the end and drafting right off me now!!! Still scared to look back my pace faltered for a few strides and then I regained my composure. Not today, I would not quit today!!! There it was the finish clock. Run, Run, Run he is coming was all I could think. I was one step from victory when it happened. He buzzed me at the line, can you believe it???!!!!! I let out a loud "NO!!" as we crossed. People must have thought I was nuts. I followed C.S. through the shoot for about 2 steps before he sat down on the curb and began coughing and dry heaving. I asked if he was okay and started laughing at him. He of course was he had just pushed himself beyond what his body liked. Good for him.

We pulled ourselves together and compared perspectives and laughed. I was ecstatic with my official time 41:53!!! A new PR!! Yeah, biznotch!!! We cheered C.S. wife to the finish and then the Walrus found us about 10 minutes later. He looked confused. He asked if I was alright and if I had finished the race because he had gone back to get me and I did not come through. I explained to him that hell yeah I had come through in record time and had went after C.S. till the finish. He smiled and gave me a hug. He did not get his PR, but he ran a good race and was still happy for me and my PR and because I had nearly run his buddy C.S. down (side note: C.S. just "always wants to beat the girls"). It would be nice to beat him one day, but I think it is more of a joke between friends. Of course, the day his wife gets him I can't say I wont be calling the Plaindealer, hahahaha. The official results somehow got messed up and ranked me ahead of him, but I know in my heart he did once again beat me!!! Oh, well it's on NOW!!!

What a frickin' awesome day!! I ran a great race, PR'd and will never forget how hard C.S. pushed me (thanks, but look out :)

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