This morning was the 1st annual Weimarruner K9 5K to support the Iowa Weim Rescue. They held 2 races- the first was “elite” (don’t let the name fool you!) and was for runners only- no dogs. The second was a fun run/ walk with dogs. It was held on the Raccon River Park’s 3.1 mile loop around the park and lake- nice and flat and shaded! I signed up for both so that I could “test” myself during the first run and measure where I’m at for pace. The 2nd race was a no brainer to sign up and run with Bisou and Tawnie!
Unfortunately, we’ve had severe heat and humidity across the Midwest lately :(. Which means at 7:00am, temps are mid 70’s with 80% humidity, making it feel more like it’s mid 80’s- low 90’s. Not ideal running conditions. I hydrated and rested last night and got up feeling ready this morning.
There were 31 runners for the “elite” race and most were chatty and excited as we lined up at the start. I was trying something new and running with my iPod, hoping fast music would help me keep a fast pace. We started off and unfortunately, I got caught up in the excitement and ran the first quarter mile at a 6:48 pace- yikes! I know I am not that speedy and I could not keep that pace for 3.1 miles. I slowed to a 7:40 pace and held it steady for the next mile. The air was thick and I felt like my chest was tight and air was not getting into my lungs to alleviate any pressure. Plus, for a gal who’s allergic to nearly everything outside (trees, grass, etc…), breathing in the scents of the “outdoors” wasn’t pleasant. It was so thick, it was like you could almost taste the outdoors. Around mile 2, my body slowed down and I started to question whether I should keep pushing it. I looked down and I was at an 8:40 pace- I had dropped a minute! I knew this was not good. I had been keeping an older guy with a bright blue shirt in my line of vision to “keep up with” (although, I was clearly not doing a good job) and I was starting to lose sight of him on the curves. I told myself to suck it up, this was worth it. I thought there were 2 gals in front of me, which would put me at 3rd overall female finisher and I wanted that spot. About a half mile from the finish, I heard someone breathing just as heavy as I was coming up behind me. It sounded like a woman and it was enough to push me back into high gear. But man! It felt hard! I looked down at my garmin and I was up to a 7:30 pace- no wonder it felt hard! I pushed it in. Other people on the trail were walking the opposite direction and staring at me. I tried to smile, but I didn’t feel like I could get my face muscles to pull up while I was breathing so hard. I had this mental picture in my head of what I must have looked like- gasping for breathe, dripping sweat, mouth open, pumping my legs and arms as fast as I could. I wanted to shout- really, I AM having FUN! I know it doesn’t look like it- but I am! Actually, one of my favorite songs had come on my playlist and I was really enjoying it! I kept going and soon I was coming in to the finish line. By this time, I was not happy with my time. Could I have pushed it harder? Probably. I guess I’ll never know. It was not a PR, which I set out for. And if it’s a true indication of where I’m at for pace- I have a LOT of work to do in the next 2 months before the Women Rock Marathon. I was shocked when they posted the results and saw that I finished 1st in my age division (my time was 24:14- 7:49 min/mile) and that I was 2nd overall female finisher.
My mom, dad, Tawnie, and Bisou came shortly after I finished the first race. We walked around and greeted all the other weims and dogs who came to run and soon it was time to line up! I placed the 3 of us near the start so that we wouldn’t get bottlenecked behind walkers. Once again, we started out pretty fast. It wasn’t long before I heard Tawnie breathing hard and I asked her if we should slow down- she immediately said yes. We were about a quarter mile into the race at this point. We slowed it down and watched some of the other runners come up from behind. Bisou did not know what was going. At one point, she even stopped and looked back at me, which could have been a disaster! Luckily, I caught myself as my feet tripped up and I gently pushed her to keep going. Tawnie started asking for a water stop about a half mile in. I promised her we’d stop at the water station at mile 1 and take a short break. It was hot, she was keeping a good pace- about 10 min/mile and she was breathing pretty hard. About 3/4 mile, she started whining more. I promised her if she could keep going, we would not only break at the water station, but we’d walk a little bit past it. That seemed to satisfy her and I started counting down the tenths of the miles until we were going to get there. Once she saw the water station, she sprinted ahead. We stopped, got some water, gave some to Bisou, and started out walking. She has decided she wants to run hurdles so we talked about what that would take and I told her about Des Moines native, Lolo Jones who just qualified for the Olympics. At 1.25 miles, I told her we had to get going with a run. I promised if she could run it into the mile 2 water stop, we’d do the same thing. We got to 2.5 miles when the whining started again. Actually, this time it was more like a soft whimper. I told her we were going to start our positive self talk to get through this and I told her over and over how amazing she is! She was not believing me. At 2.75 miles, I explained that all we had left until the next stop was how far we walked, which wasn’t far! The mile 2 water station had bowls set out for the dogs and a 6 month weim puppy! So adorable and a great excuse to stop and play :). When Tawnie was ready, we set out walking for the first quarter mile. When it was time to start running, we were nearing the end of the shaded trail. Tawnie started in again that she wanted to walk more. I started the positive talk, telling her our bodies are stronger than our minds think we are and she was strong enough to finish- I’ve seen her do it before! It was not working. She was whimpering again and I started to question whether I was being mean? What if she really was hurting? What if she ended up in the hospital later this afternoon because I pushed her too hard? I caved and told her we would walk for a tenth of a mile, no longer, and then we were running it in. I told her she was strong and she didn’t want to be crying when we crossed the finish line! When it was time to start running again, I started out slow, thinking that is what she would prefer. That stinker went from nearly crying, to sprinting! I called after her that she was going too fast, the finish line was further than she thought. Then, I saw what she saw- my mom standing on the course cheering her on. She just kept on sprinting! I looked down and I was at a 7:15 pace, so I could only imagine what she was running. I kicked it up then, knowing she was not going to slow down and tried to catch her. We past my sister cheering us on, Tawnie still running strong ahead of me. Once we crossed the finish line- she turned around, BIG smiles and shouted “I beat you!” What a stinker! I do not know WHERE that burst of energy came from- it was so great to see her transform in that last half mile. And my fears of being a meanie are long gone- that girl is stronger, much stronger than either of us had thought she was.
And guess what? Tawnie took 1st place in her age division :).