This morning was the Dam to Dam 20k. I had decided to just run for fun- gasp! I know! I had good intentions of taking a few weeks off from running a lot of miles after the marathon, but, well, I think I’m failing at that. I can, however, put pace goals aside and just run for the fun of it- which is why I love this sport and why I am failing at taking some time off.
The alarm went off at 3:45 am and I hit snooze once… getting up the second time it buzzed. Groggily I started going through pre-race prep: eating my rice cake and peanut butter, taking a quick shower to wake up, pinning my bib on my shirt, and packing my gear check bag. I let Bisou out and realized I had overdressed. I had a thin long-sleeved shirt on and a running skirt and it was a pretty mild morning- I could tell once the sun came up, I’d regret the long sleeves. So, a quick change and re-pinning of my race number and it was time to go! My friend Jen picked me up and we headed downtown to meet Kate W., some gals from her running group, and Andrea J. to hop on the bus that would take us to the starting line.
As luck would have it, after riding the bus for what seemed like quite a while, a girl near the front calls back “does anyone know the course? the driver doesn’t know how to get to the start!” Seriously? That is NOT what you want to hear… we looked back and there was a line of buses following us. Thankfully, one guy called out directions and although it took us an hour, we arrived at the start line with about 30 minutes to spare before race time.
We dropped our bags and got in line for the port a potties. A very long, not moving at all line. Finally, after standing in line for a good 10 minutes and not moving any further ahead, Andrea went to check out if there lines around the corner. She came back and motioned for us to follow her so we ran around the corner and found a ton of porta potties sans line! We were soon headed to the start line with 3 minutes to spare. We nudged our way into the crowd, but were still pretty far back. I couldn’t even hear the National Anthem as it was being sung and would’ve missed the gun signaling the start if Andrea hadn’t pointed it out. It took us a while to actually cross the starting line and activate our timing chips I’m not sure what time it was by the time we actually started the race and once we did start, we were going slow at the back of the crowd- like an 11 min/mile slow.
Slowly, we started making our way through the crowd. Andrea took off and I was running with Jen trying to keep an eye on Kate in the crowd. As we continued to wind through the thick of the runners, I was taking elbows left and right! I was thinking at that point I was going to end this raised black and blue- all for the love of this sport :). Somewhere, Jen and I lost Kate. I couldn’t see them in the crowd anymore – I figured if we just kept going, they would emerge from the thick of the crowd like we had.
All of a sudden, we were at mile 2 already! I have to say that this race was not my fastest in terms of pace, but it was the fastest in how the miles just flew by! They all just kept flying by the entire course! I mentally started a countdown of how many miles left and ticked them off as we passed the markers. What’s more, I felt great! I was not trying to control my pace, rather I was just running by feel. If I felt great, I let my legs carry me. If I was going up a long hill, I chanted a mantra of “power power power” and pumped my arms until I had powered up it. I still felt great and it hit me- this is what they must mean by finding your “happy pace.” 🙂
For me, this was such a fun run! I accomplished exactly what I had set out to do- enjoy the run :).
Next up on today’s agenda- SWINE Fest with my friend Masha. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. A combination of 2 of my favorite things- running and wine :).