Three Races One Week

Seriously?  Is this post for real, you’re wondering.  THREE races in one week?  Um, yeah, I’m totally serious, and I totally did it.  A 10K, and two half-marathons back to back … I know, who does that?  Not “normal” people … I’m not a “normal” person, so, I did it.

Let’s start from the beginning, or the first race …

Monday, May 30, 2011 … The Inaugural Stockton Rotary Run.  I picked up the pamphlet on this run while at Fleet Feet Stockton, picking up something.  I’m always at Fleet Feet, so it’s not a surprise that I can’t remember what I was there for.  I think it was for Chris’ packet pickup for The Avenue Of The Vines Half.  I remember perusing the pamphlet, and thinking that I worked the Sunday before the race on Monday Morning so I wasn’t initially going to run it.  I ended up signing up probably while half asleep because I still wasn’t thinking that I would run a race after working all night.  It wouldn’t be the first time though.  With that I tried to recruit as many people as possible to run with me … It was for a good cause – Run to Eradicate Polio.  I know … Polio?  Yes.  Polio.  Not all third world countries have eradicated this disease, and it still afflicts many children rendering them with paralysis.  Read about polio here.

The race was to be held Memorial Day Monday morning.  This normally would not be an issue, except for the fact that I will have worked all weekend long … and this included the Sunday night before the race.  12 hours, on my feet.  Hmmmm.  I’ve done it before, just not to where I’m cutting it so close.  Start time was 0800, and I get off work at 0730 and I work about 20 minutes away … Yeah.  Lucky for me, although the night was busy,  I was able to  leave work a few minutes early and hightail it over to the race start.  The running/race Gods were with me … because there was no traffic, and parking was not an issue!

Linda and I ... =)
Panda Girl Erika, Linda, and I ... Pre race.

I met my running buddy, Linda V., at Starbucks by the movie theater.  She had a last minute race cancellation on Saturday, so she decided to run with me that morning.  My friend, Erica decided at the last minute to run also, so she met us close to the start because she needed to finish registering.

This was an inaugural race.  Usually, that word “inaugural” is synonymous with “lots of issues.”  That day, I found none.  It was cool, but not freezing cold.  We were greeted warmly by Fleet Feet owner, Tony Vice, and by the director of On Your Mark Events.  The opening speech by Kerry Kreuger was inspiring, as was the countdown to the start by a woman stricken with polio as a child.  It was nice to know that the race was put on to raise funds for a good cause.  This race had a 5 and a 10K … I had signed up to run the 10K.  Eek!

The race for me, was actually not a bad race.  The course is FLAT as can be, and it’s part of other courses of races that I had run in downtown Stockton before, so it was slightly familiar.  It started at DeCarli Square, right in front of the movie theater between El Dorado and Center Streets.  Surprisingly, I was “awake” and ready to run.  Running a 10K is different from running a 5K or a half marathon.  It’s not quite all out balls to the walls, and it still must be run somewhat conservatively.  Per Squatch’s advice, I was to warm-up with the first mile, then progressively get faster.  I was not to look at mileage, but at time.  (i.e., I can run this in an hour. Only 1o minutes left.  Etc.)

It was a double loop run … but I didn’t feel too bad.  Erika and I ran together for the first three miles.  She’s faster than I am so I was pacing with her, trying to keep up with her, but something happened after we laughed and waved at the Good Day Sacramento Camera man … She started to fall behind.  Not far behind, but she was no longer beside me, and I was still running thinking the whole time that she would eventually blow by me.  At mile 3.5 my goal was to start targeting people and catch up to them and/or eventually pass them.  I waved to Erika to get her to get her back up beside me.  She was close, but I was alone in my game of cat and mouse.  I felt good, and I felt strong, so I just kept going.  At mile 5 I  knew that I had to gun it … so with each person that I caught up to, I encouraged them to come with me.  Only one did, and he raced me to the finish where I encouraged him to GO!  Literally as soon as crossed the finish line, I had an overwhelming sensation of needing to hurl!  That’s my indicator that I know I pushed hard.  My friend Linda caught my finish on video … super cool.  I need to figure out how to upload it …

Best part of the entire race … placing third in my age group.  I got BLING, baby!  In this race, bling only goes to the top 3 finishers in each age group.  It was a nice surprise!  10K, 55 minutes!

Race number 2.  Half marathon.  Saturday 04 June, 2011.  Brazen Racing’s Nitro Trail Half Marathon.  Mac and I registered for this race in February after the New Year’s Half marathon that we ran.  We enjoyed that one so we thought we’d run another.  Little did we know that June’s weather would be similar to that of our New Year’s Half.   Wow.

Too bad this wasn't on the registration ...
Running BFFs!

Pinole, California is located close to Richmond, in the Bay Area.  It’s a beautiful area.  I was thankful that my friend, Erika Rae offered to drive as I felt bad asking Chris to take the day off for me.  So off we went in Erika’s van  – Erika, her friends that she was able to convince to run, Cindy, and Christina, and my friend Judy.  We made it to Pinole with about 30 minutes to spare … enough time to use the portapotties and to grab our race bibs.  Whew!  I caught up with my running BFF, Mac, and our friend Mel just in time.  Thank God!  It was cold, and drizzly at the start, but it was all good.

We all started together.  It was funny how we all laughed at the lady who suggested that we take a course map along with “a plastic baggie to keep it warm.”  Huh?  The map?  What about us?!  Really?  The course was literally loops – one little, two med, or two of each … Ah, I can’t remember!  We lost Judy and Mel, then Erika by mile 3.  It was

"Look! Camera! Let's start running!"

Mac and I together for the remainder of the run which was fine by us.  We were just running to run and to be together.  Plus, that course wasn’t easy with the weather conditions, multiple loops causing dizziness, and some hills.  Seriously … mile 3 was uphill into a headwind. Mile 5 was severe wind blowing from the left side.  There were multiple muddy parts that we were lucky not to slide into or slip.  The best part?  Having to do it again …

Mac and I spend a lot of time catching up.  I love my Mac, she’s an awesome running BFF.  I don’t get to see her nearly enough, but I hear from her at least once a day!

The trail run was nice.  It started POURING buckets by mile 11 until the finish!  We walked a little here and there, enjoyed the scenery, and the company.  We love Brazen Racing.  They have the best aid stations – always smiling volunteers, lots of water, Gu, gummy bears, cookies, chips … seriously, at every aid station.  Mac and I finished at about the 2:30 mark.  This was an improvement from our New Year’s half which was almost 3 hours!  Lol!

And lastly … Race #3 … See Jane Run, Alameda, CA.  Sunday 05 June 2011.

This race was a crazy idea that I had while on the spin bike next to Erika Rae.  What was I thinking?  I don’t believe that I was thinking.  I believe that I was oxygen deprived.  She was telling me how she was not going to be able to run for the next 3 months and how she was gonna miss running, etc.  So I blurted out, “Well, let’s finish it off with a BANG and run a back to back!”  I was kidding, but again, I wasn’t.  Usually my mouth thinks faster than my mind does and it usually speak the truth.  So I’m sure that this was not an error on the part of my brain that controls the part of my tongue that gets bitten when it wants to say something stupid!  I already decided I was “IN” and registered that day after talking it over with my hubby who thought it was a good idea.  What?  Erika was not in … she had another obligation that she had already comitted to do.  However at the last minute … something happened and she was able to go.  So she registered at the last minute, and we headed off to packet pick up Saturday after our trail half.

Since Pinole, CA and Alameda, CA are close together, I thought for sure we’d have more of the same weather that we had on Saturday … I was prepared with a rain jacket, hat, etc.  Thankfully though, it was gorgeous, beautiful weather.  In fact, it was even a little hot in the mid 60s!  We both took separate cars since our hubbys and youngest children came along, and we were both LATE for different reasons.  (Note:  Erika and I both run on the same schedule, and we are chronically late individuals.  Together we make a great team, but, geez, we have to get our Filipino and Mexican timing down in the future!)

We arrived at the venue with a few minutes to spare.  I had enough time to run to the bathroom, then find Erika.  Once we found each other, we had enough time to sprint to the start.  Starting at the back of the pack is not normally our deal, because we despise weaving in and out of walkers, etc., but at this point we really had no choice.  We were both slightly tired from our run the previous day, so we were happy to mill along at a somewhat slower pace.  (Her “slow” is my gasping, just so you know.)

For the entire run we were basically side by side which was nice.  We did minimal talking because, well, for me, I was trying to “conserve” my energy.  The course was basically flat, and the scenery wasn’t dismal, but it wasn’t all that exciting except when we got out by the water.  A lot of people complained about running thru the industrial part of town, but it was such a small part of the course.  I grew up in Alameda.  I love that town, and I wish that I could spend some time there just getting reacquainted and visiting old stomping grounds.  Getting back to the run itself though, I felt as if I was holding Erika back.  I felt as if she could have gone much faster, and she should have.  She should not have “waited” for me, but for some reason, I don’t believe that she was.  Her goal is never to “just finish.”  Erika Rae is super uber competitive … she kicks ass all the time.  But she stuck by me for the entire time.  We finished within seconds of each other which was awesome.  She had a mean kick, and my strides are so much shorter … lol!

Haulin' a$$ to the finish ...

I have to say that the weather was perfect.  Had we not been so tired, I am sure that we both could’ve PR’d with this race!  We had fun though.  We spent some time milling around the post-race expo collecting freebies and our champange glasses filled with chocolate.

One complaint that I have was that there was no accessible water at the finish … we had to stand in line.  Seriously?  Water should have been handed out at the finish along with our medals!!!  The line for water and food post-race was LONG and moving slowly!  Geez!  Also, some of the medals that people received were not the correct medals for the race that they had run.  Meaning that some individuals who ran the half got a 5K medal, and vice versa!

I have to give Erika Rae props!  She ran the exact three races that I ran and did a rockin’ kick ass job

RowCoon and The Panda Girl

gettin’ it done.  She is one of the very few individuals who will help me execute some crazy ideas!!!  Let me tell you, I have some really off the wall ideas and she never (well, hardly ever) tells me that I’m insane, she usually eggs me on to get me to think of more.  Oh, but don’t let think that I’m alone in this, she has some crazy ideas herself, and she is just as OCD about working out as I am!  She’s an awesome workout partner … so THANK YOU, E-Rae! (I’m throwin’ gangsta signs at this point.)

Running back to back half marathons seems like cake now that I have done it, but in the past I never would have even imagined that running 13.1 miles would be a piece of cake, let alone on two days in a row.  What I have learned is that my body is pretty amazing.  I’ve learned that I am stronger than I believe that I am.  Running 13.1 miles …. pssssh!  I can do that in my sleep!  I know that it seems ridiculous to some, and unfathomable to others, but seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.  It’s a mind game.  You body, and those that you tell that you’re going to do it, will tell you that you’re insane … but if you believe that you can, then you WILL.  My mind told my body that it really didn’t have a choice, that it was going to do this, and then it told my body that it could, that it was an amazing machine … and my body followed the instructions of my mind, believed it, then performed!  Your mind is a powerful thing … and where your mind goes, where your thoughts go, your body will follow.  Don’t ever believe that you can’t because you CAN … you just don’t want to!

Bling Bling, Baby ...

Three races … one week … DONE!

One thought on “Three Races One Week

  1. Bazooka Joe 15 June, 2011 / 05:12

    Inspiring story Row. Never have been enamored with running, but it’s now a required part of my workout regime. Time to shift my attitude – where you look is where you go.

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