It was a cold morning when we woke up, and while I hadn’t gone to bed too late I was refusing to get out of bed. It was warm and comfy, and I wanted to ignore the alarms coming from my phone. But then I realized…wait! This is the morning of the race I have been pining for since January!
DUN DUN DUUUUUN!!!!! The Gate River Run 15k! (dramatic enough for you? teehee!)
Heather had arrived later than planned the night before and I waited up for her to get there. She brought me circus peanuts and we chatted for a bit before I headed to bed. I asked her to add music to my player while she was updating hers before crashing. It was an early start to the race and an even earlier wake up call. The Gate is such a popular race that if you didn’t get down there to get a good parking spot early (and by early I mean at like 6:30am even though the race doesn’t start till 8:30am) then you will be stuck in long lines of traffic trying to get to ONE spot.
When we woke up, I pulled on my outfit. My usual, and now beloved, running bermuda shorts and my blue tank top. Heather and I matched in color, but not in style at all. Hair up in a pony tail, which I never do. I packed my bag and made sure we had all that we needed (ribbon, clippies, tutus, stars, scissors, extra safety pins, ect) before heading out of the condo and down to the Stadium. Brian was standing there staring at us like we were idiots. I didn’t care. We ALWAYS do the Gate in costume.
When we got to the stadium, we parked near the bathrooms like we usually do. Then, while Brian was snoozing in his car, I jumped in Heather’s to work on our hair pieces. I used the ones I got gifted to me by Tiffany and just added a ton more ribbon to them. Then, Heather added a star to be attached to our head. We also added some stars to out tutus. Heather was also able to score some arm warmers that were all rainbow colored from an actual Rainbow Bright costume that she had in storage. It was cute, and people recognized that we were rainbow bright! Yay!
As we stood outside the car in the cold air getting ready, people recognized me from the blog! Readers – don’t you ever hesitate to come up to me and say hi! I LOVE that it happened and I LOVE meeting people who read this little ditty that keeps me sane. If I had my wits about me, I would have gotten photos with all of you.
We lined up for the start of the race and felt pretty nervous. I did anyway. I knew I had a goal I wanted to make and after some really shitty comments from people (you read about that in a previous post) I knew I wanted to kick ass. The cannon went off at 8:30am for the seeded runners, and we moved forward. Kat was a seeded runner, and we wished her luck before getting into the gray wave, so I said a silent “KICK ASS” because she was chasing some demons this race.
Then we waited. Our cannon would go off at 8:36am. I put in my earbuds after giving Brian a kiss good luck (our race ritual) and got focused. Heather laughed at me because she said it looked like I was praying, which made me turn to her. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then recited one of our Jewish prayers for doing something for the first time. Tiffany and Chrissy who were standing behind us looked at us funny, but that’s okay.
I said I was going to run the first two miles with Tiffany. And I did mean to. But when our cannon went off, and we took off, I just went. I felt good, was breathing awesome, and didn’t feel like I was running hard. Heather paced me most of the first mile, and then when I looked behind me to find Tiffany….yeah. She wasn’t behind us. Then we crossed the first mile marker. 10 minute mile!? Damn!! I had to slow down if I wanted to make it through all 9 including the bridges. When we hit the first bridge, I slowed down significantly. When you have the IT problems, you want to be careful going up hills…or in this case, bridges.
Heather took off ahead of me, and while I appreciated her turning around and looking for me, it was also irritating. I waved to her to just go and she stuck with me a bit longer. (By the way, the off ramp of the bridge narrows drastically. Not a great thing when you have 20k runners trying to get over it) We crossed the first water stop and then I waved her off. I had to stop and breath for a second, the cold from the morning was quickly turning into humidity and I hate it. So she took off.
The rest of the race, I focused on my time, my breathing, and my music. I kept a close eye on my milage and my timing. I did the first 5k in about 34:05 and pushed it hard. When we crossed about mile 5, we ran into Atlantic Blvd. Usually, this is a decent part to run. It’s straight, flat, and people line the road to cheer you on. However, it had gotten hot, there was no shade or clouds, and absolutely NO BREEZE. I knew that this was where I was going to lose time. It was so hot, and if you remember me talking about the Gate a few years ago (you know, the one I ended up almost taken to the hospital because my body temp shot up to 108 degrees?) I can’t handle the heat well. I walked a good part of this route, but tried to do a mini Galloway method. Run 30-45 seconds, walk 15.
Once we made that right hand turn into the neighborhood, I was instantly covered by trees. There was a water stop, a man who was watching was spraying water into the air so it fell like rain, and someone (GOD BLESS THESE PEOPLE) was handing out Otter Pops cut in half. I drank some water, ran through the water and when I grabbed that blue icy wonderful Popsicle, I ended up walking and eating it. I forced my breathing to slow down and I ate every bite of that frozen treat to get my body temp down and to regulate my heart.
Once I was comfortable again, I ran. I crossed the 10k mat at 1:10:18.
I took it easy through the rest of the neighborhood knowing that the Green Monster was coming up. I was bound and determined to run up that damn bridge and did all I could to make sure I was able to. When I got to the bridge I looked at my watch. I had a little over a mile and a half. I had 15 minutes. I could do this. Sadly, I had to walk a portion of the bridge. I tried my damndest to make that Green Monster my bitch but it was so hot and I was trying so hard, but I had to walk a little. So I did mini walk breaks like I did before.
I crossed the final mat at 1:48:08, 3 minutes shy of my goal time and of my sister. 30 seconds faster than my husband. It wasn’t my goal time, but I’ve never been more proud of myself. I did it, I didn’t die, and I PR’d the race. Last year I did it in 1:56: 29. It’s a 8 minute PR. I’m proud.
After the race, we met up with some friends, spent some time in the VIP tent (yay station sponsor!) and then went home. My legs hurt from pushing it as hard as I did, and I was loving it. This “fat girl” who wasn’t able to push herself hard enough, or run enough, or whatever else those nay sayers had said to me the previous few weeks had said DID IT.
She ran the race that you didn’t do. And she impressed those who did run it. And she’s PROUD.
That’s all that matters.
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