Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Have Been to the Mountaintop and Back Down, and then Up, and Down

My quandary began with the realization that I was to spend some time before twelve noon on Saturday running six miles. I completed my scheduled forty minute cross training by finishing the laundry and cleaning the house most of the day (I'm not sure if that's cross training or some sort of penitence). At approximately, 6:40P on Friday, I decided to check an e-mail regarding a local run calendar. I looked up a run scheduled for Saturday, and saw that I had less than twenty minutes to drive to the Eugene Running Company to sign-up for the run. I made it, twenty seven dollars later, I owned a black, long sleeved t-shirt with a very “different” representation of an Irish icon and a chance to run 6.2 miles in the Lucky Clover race.

For some reason last night, I decided that 3:30A was a good time to wake up for this event. I tried and tried to go back to sleep, but my busy brain thought it was important to dwell on such things as when I would go pick-up the litter at the end of my street. The train whistles, the airplanes, the constant rain, and the paper person all conspired to keep me from being ready for that race. Hours went by, and I finally fell asleep about the same time the alarm went off.
Fortunately, I had set “all” of my running clothes out the night before. Normally, this can take some serious time in the morning. I have to decide which really bright shirt to wear, choose which non 80's shorts to wear, and find which pair of socks doesn't have a hole them. The list goes on, and sometimes it can take a half-an-hour to get dressed in my running clothes.
The race took place at Dorris Ranch in Springfield, a little drive from my house. But I made sure I was on time. I arrived over 45 minutes early. I sat in the van staring at the moss on the tree. This forest looked as though it was capable of eating me.
I then called my running friend to apologize and confess I'd signed-up for the 10K without her. I thought of calling some other friends that might be able to sign-up fifteen minutes before the start. Not likely. I was on my own.
So I left the van, then went back into the van. It was too early and too cold to go to the start. The bagpipers had begun pipping. All good St. Patrick Day runs have bagpipers piping. I stayed in my car until fifteen minutes before the start.
I had the sorriest looking warm-up. I never really ran. I only walked about a hundred yards, and moved my arms around to look as though I was stretching. I had to work exceptionally hard at smiling, as the rain (did I mention it was raining) kept-up a steady cadence.
I hadn't entered a 10K since my very sorry time last July at the Butte to Butte. In the Eugene area, everyone who's ever donned running attire runs the Butte to Butte. 
Maybe two hundred Lucky Clover runners showed up today. I didn't recognize any of them, but some looked like the exceptionally well trained runner-super fit and ready to splatter me with mud.
This race, The Lucky Clover was unusual, in that you could pick the first 5K to run, either on a bark path, or a big hill and streets. Hmm.
I choose the hill last, because in the Eugene Half-Marathon, the hill is about half way through the course. I ran on the path first, and it has made all the difference.
While at the starting line, I had put my earplugs in and started my Nike+. I stood there stomping my left foot with the "pod" in it. This was to fool the Nike+ lady into thinking I was doing an activity. But soon, the race started with “Ready, Go!” Although, I couldn't hear the “Go!” with my earphones in. Everyone started going, so I followed. I quickly realized that the old cross country runner in me had to hold back. Running on the path with those people in front of me was a real temptation, as I had miles to go but wanted to dash past them. The path had patches of sloshy puddles, and I even sank down to my socks a couple of times. I only passed one woman, but I was smiling.
The second 5K proved, interesting. The hill wasn't actually that bad on the way up. I was able to put one foot in front of the other while Sheryl Crow sang “Every Day is a Winding Road”. I then began peeling off layer #2, the long sleeve race shirt. I did not realize that I was wasting the free ride on the downhill bumbling with my shirt. As soon as the hit the bottom of the hill, BAM! To the right, a short steep hill awaited me. I might have laughed out loud. I can't remember which song helped me through this hill, but it was a High School Musical song that was playing when two young things passed me on the return trip to the other side of the big hill. After that, I was all on my own. The gals stayed in front of me about a quarter mile away, but not close enough for me to feel an impending need to race past them.
I came around the last corner with “Anthem”, by Superchick, playing loud and strong. My finishing time wasn't necessarily remarkable, but I had a great morning during that wet, muddy and cold race.
At the finish, I guesstimated that I might have actually won something for my age group. I can't recall if that has ever been a possibility for me. I stood there in the rain waiting for them to list the age group winners. It took forever for them to get to my age category. I was very wet, and my muscles were shaking like never before. Then, the man called my name! I was the overall winner for my age group!
Ok, so I was giddy for myself. I cheered for myself and did a little shuffle-like jig. They gave me an interesting looking medallion which I promptly put on. I politely stood in the rain for all the other age group winners to be announced. Then I waited through the Irish trivia contest. Finally, they were done, and I ran off to the van so I could call Paul to tell him of my victory. But Paul was on the phone! I then made about five calls until I was able to get ahold of someone who would listen to my story, my mom.


Indy4now said...

Wow Miss Nancy Pants Congrats!
You are amazing! I have been enjoying all your writings, even when not commenting, cause you make the details sound like we are having a conversation. I feel as though I was standing in the rain watching you finish the race. Which as you know isn't something I would really choose since it would require me to be outdoors. Thanks for sharing your journey, and being "real", in blogland.
Missing you all, hugs from your 'indoor' pal.

Cherie said...


Had I known there'd be bagpipes I would have gone down there and watched. Had I known you'd be running it I'd have cheered you on.