When I race, there is only one thing I can really control: the distance. Despite the training and the mental preparation that goes into each race, there is always so much that is left to chance. This weekend, my double-header weekend, proved that to be the case.
The first run was Saturday morning – The Up, Up and Away 5K Run in Findlay, Ohio. Why Findlay? It’s just past Detroit where the boys watched the Emergency Vehicle Parade on Friday night and en route to Mason, Ohio where Daddy planned to watch tennis on Monday. This run was the first half of Mommy’s big weekend get-away with the boys. The thought behind this was “Let Mommy race on Saturday and Sunday, and we can have fun the rest of the time.” Basically, it was the first of two races to keep Mommy quiet. What the boys didn’t know at the time is the races ended up being the best part of the weekend.
I had 3 goals to meet in Findlay: finish top 10 in women (doable), finish under 22 minutes (doable), break the master women’s record (doable). But, then there was the unexpected.
Surprise #1: Dinner on Friday night. Being lactose intolerant, finding dairy-free foods is always a challenge when I’m away from home. We decided to go with the basics: steak and potatoes from the Outback. While this may not be typical pre-race nutrition, it was yummy and, more important, I did not get sick.
Surprise #2: The Heat. This has been a cool, rainy summer but, this weekend, temperatures soared into the 90’s. By 9:00 on Saturday morning, it was already hot and humid. In fact, it tired my trio of male spectators out more than it did me. Now, how did that happen?
Surprise #3: Knowing the Course. I studied the map before we left home and I was prepped for the route by another runner. But I still almost ran into that dang pole – the metre high pole that would render any male childless – on the way out.
Surprise #4: The competition. I had no idea who I was running against, nor did I have any idea how I placed for an hour after the race. For me, this is the most suspenseful part of racing: at the start line, I’m eyeing every female as a potential threat; at the end, I wonder how many of those who finished ahead of me are over 40. It’s not until results are posted that I really know who my competition was.
Once results were up, I realized that I had met all 3 goals: I finished 7th, in 21:36 and broke the course record by 29 seconds. The only problem was two other women broke it before I did. The other non-master women ahead of me, by the way, were under 25.
That morning, I did exactly what I wanted to do. Nothing else mattered for the rest of the day – at least not until I had to start planning for the next day’s race.