Sunday, September 30, 2012

Akron Marathon Relay - Five Fast Femme Fatale Freaks

Here we go again!!

The email offer from Daisy sometime in August.  She was requesting the prescence of 4 additional females to participate in the Akron Marathon 5-person relay.  The 5F have always put up a top 3 finish, even last year down one runner and with a turtle (myself) and I didn't want to be the reason they didn't again.  This year with everything that happened (Rev3, the accident and my eternal ongoing battle with my foot) I felt it best to be a smartass and volunteer to be the 6th (wo)man and I emailed Daisy my as such intentions, to which she replied with a welcome to the 5-person team. 

Aww, crap!  I had only ducked under the 8:00/mile (barely) barrier a handful of times all year and holy cow did it hurt not only my lungs, but my foot and most importantly my pride.  Every run I had indicated my glory days had come and gone.  She reassured me it was "for fun."  Ha!  I had run a 5k two weeks prior and knew I would probably be about a minute a mile slower than everybody else, nevertheless they kept the fat kid. 

I picked up my packet and a nice little pink outfit (it's FS women's sports from the national running center -- and I love it) at the expo as per instructions from our captain and took a few benadryl since I was still on nights and needed to catch a few hours sleep before the 4:30am wake-up call.  Everything was going smoothly until I realized I forgot the damn snap bracelet in the car and had to head back.  It was too much for my simple runner mind, a D-Tag, a race bib on the front, a race bib on the back, and a snap bracelet.  I was brain dead, but apparently that wouldn't be the only thing I forgot yesterday. 

We waited impatiently for AM and CV, but they had a mix-up with directions and with only 10 minutes to the start I headed out missing them (mind you I would be handing off to AM and I had only seen her for about an hour nearly a year ago on a trail run).  All I knew is I had to find a blonde in a pink shirt when I got to the relay point.

As in years past, the sun was not quite up when the gun went off.  I started somewhere near the 3:25 pace group and on the left.  I only wore gloves figuring I would be pretty warm once we got going.  The first mile was blissfully easy going downhill and flat.  I even held back and still passed Bill Rodgers running on a relay team.  My garmin split 7:22. 

I felt a little concerned as we finished the bridge and started to make the left turn through the neighborhood that I might blow myself up and tried to rein it in.  I was hoping for 7:30-7:45, but knew 7:22 would be a death sentence.  I was breathing pretty hard and just kept trying to relax.  Mile 2 split 7:52. 

I was uncomfortably okay and my foot was throbbing like a mo`fo.  I had gas in the tank, but my stomach was a little upset at that point.  I kept telling myself "it's supposed to hurt like this" and "keep going."  As we crossed back over the bridge I clung to the pace group to carry me through.  I tried to imagine I was running the full and I had to relax and stay on target.  We hit the end of the bridge and the only hilly part on my section of the course.  The pace group pulled ahead of me and I suffered climbing that little hill.  My stomach went south and I felt like I needed to poop, pretty bad.  I felt the ground even out and the cheering crowds helped me forget my pain and push a little bit.  I heard Daisy cheer for me and I waved.  I split 3 in 7:42. 

Just 0.9 miles to go and the pain would be over.  I felt mentally abused at this pace, after training slow and long all summer this was quite unpleasant.  I had looked over the final instructions and relay runners were to veer to the left.  My foot was screaming at me to slow down, I ignored it.  I saw the sign that said "Relay Runners" and ran for it, ripping the snap bracelet off my arm.  I finally saw the exchange mat, but no relay runner -- what the heck!?!?!  I crossed the mat and kept running, then I saw the runners standing in the rode ahead.  They had made the runners start way in front of the mats, grrrr!  Now I was on AMs time searching frantically for her.  I thankfully saw her up on the left in a YELLOW shirt and start screaming her name.  She screamed "yeah!!" and waved me over, bouncing up and down.  After and what seemed like the longest tenth of a mile I finally ended my torturous leg with my last mile being 7:47.  Garmin said 4.01 in 30:44, but my official time is 3.9 in 30:25.  AM went on to run a mile farther than me and in a faster time thankfully negating my turlteness on the first leg. 

I immediately jogged up the ramp and stretched looking for my friend who wanted some redemption in the marathon after suffering through his first in 90 degree weather.  I used the extra time to stretch, but man it was getting chilly, so I might have bounced around a little too.  My foot was aching, but much happier.  I saw him roll through and jumped in with him for the next 5 or so miles back to the start.  My foot hurt a lot less at that pace.  I ran into BB and we changed and got some coffee before tracking the insanely fast AM down (she ran 6:11/mile). 

Not sure how we were doing we headed into the stadium.  We headed down to the field to cheer for Daisy when she came in.  We had to wait less than 10 minutes before the blonde bomb shell came FLYING into the stadium.  We immediately started cheering and screaming her name.  We finished in 3:00:45, good enough for 2nd place female team (out of 192) and 13th relay team overall (out of 1225).  We found solar and got a group photo minus CV, who was missing in action in the stands. 

It was an exciting and fun day (as always) and I am super lucky to have such wonderful friends (and fast ones).

With the pain in my foot now spread up toward the front near my toes and surgery in less than a month I am closing the door on the 2012 race season, in hopes I will heal up ready for next year.

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