Joe and I decided in all of our workout wisdom, to run a 10K (6.2 miles) on Dec 6th. So with the help of our dear friends, Brian and Kim, who let us drop our kids off at their house in the wee hours, the morning of the race, we were on our way to actually doing this! The race was for Toys for Tots and there would be food and beer and wine IF we made it to the end. Plus, I’d been wanting to see what all the race hype was about for myself. I really didn’t understand at this point why people would pay money to run 6.2 miles with loads of other runners when they could simply run the same distance through their neighborhood? The free food and drinks on this run were enough for me to want to see if I could figure it out.
And now here is why running in a race is better than running your regular route around your house…
1. People hand you Gatorade! And I don’t just mean, hand it to you. They hand it to you like you’re somebody! Like, “Hear you go runner! Don’t want to slow you down, cause you are in the middle of doing something AWESOME! So I’m gonna run this out to you while shouting “Gatorade” or “Water”! cause that’s my job today; I’m simply here to make sure you stay hydrated, cause you’re SOMEBODY”! Do you know what that’s like for a mother of 3 small kids!?! For just that one day, for that one hour, cute Marines no less, hurried to hand me gatorade when I needed it most. For this reason alone, I’m hooked!
2. Competition! So I can be a little wee bit competitive, and being surrounded by hundreds of other runners is the perfect opportunity to size myself up. I don’t think of myself as a runner. I think of myself as an undercover NONRUNNER, running in a race. But no one else knows I’m not a runner, until they talk to me that is, in which case the first words out of my mouth are, “This is my first race”. So as a nonrunner, I was totally sizing up people’s calf muscles as they walked in front of us to put their tee shirts in their car, to try and determine if they were real runners, or undercover nonrunners like me. Turns out that I was bad at sorting them out. But adding to this sizing up of the competition, is that people dressed up for this run! There was “Christmas Tree Guy”, “Ubber Tight Santa Shorts Guy”, “Jingly Shoes Girl”, and countless people running in tutus. Yes, I said RUNNING in those outfits! As if running is not hard enough! These people had to rub it in by doing it in head to toe costumes that I would’t last a evening sipping cocktails in! But it was cool to watch, especially that “Tight Santa Shorts Guy”! And it all made me push myself harder than if I were just running by myself.
3. People that Don’t Give a Damn! Then there’s the people that literally just want to say that they were in a 10K I think. That’s it. That’s the goal. Period. Like the guy that looked like my Uncle John and worn blue jeans and a long sleeve button down shirt and baseball cap, like he was going for a stroll around his ranch. And then he leisurely WALKED the whole 10K, start to finish. Took him over 2 hours. But he eventually strolled in, and got himself a plate of food, and then probably went home and told someone, “I was in a 10K race this weekend.” While the rest of us are all fretting about our time and pace, and if we brought the right running gear; all he was concerned about was doing the 10K. And he did it. I like that guy!
4. Crazy Ass Bitches! OMG! So at these races are a few super buff, silicone implanted ladies. They are usually in their 40’s, totally ripped, wearing hundreds of dollars in workout gear, have spray tans, and are running with their hair down. All this, so you can spot them next time you’re at a race. Cause you want to spot them early, cause they are crazy ass bitches and they are going to do some entertaining stuff! But be warned, keep a good distance. So being newbies, we did not know about this type of racer yet, and as luck would have it, we ended up running with a couple of them for the entire race. These ladies were buff enough to totally out pace me, I’m sure! But they didn’t, cause they were too busy being crazy! It started out with them just taking selfies at every single mile sign we passed. Then they started screaming out to runners as they passed them. Like a lot. Then they started taking videos of each other singing as they ran, and at one point one of them laid on the ground next to some road kill like a dead possum while the other took her photo. And finally, as they were running in across the finish line in this over the top dramatic, leaping way, one of them totally ate it and went skidding across the pavement on her face. Ouch! She had to even lay there a minute before she could get up and get medical attention. Runners High or Crazy Ass Bitches? First race, jurry’s still out.
5. Old People Rock! You will meet the coolest old people at races! Like the kind of old people that make you not scared to get old! Like the kind of old people that will kick your race time in the butt and hand it to you! Like the kind of old people that you can’t CATCH no matter how hard you try! This makes me happy! It makes me feel like I can just get better and better at something and age is not a factor. It makes me feel hopeful for a long, healthy life!
6. It’s peaceful. You heard me. Once the mass of runners had passed my slow butt up, it was just me and Joe running (cause he’s a sweetheart who chose to run with me at my pace, instead of getting a good time in his division), and once we got up that HILL OF DEATH and we were headed down hill in mile 5 and 6, it was so serene. Just us, on a country road, running through cow fields, and since we were going down hill I could even carry on a conversation every now and then, as long as I used no more than 5 word sentences. But Joe’s known me for awhile and we stuck to common subject matter, so he filled in the gaps that my short sentences left, and it was a cool time.
7. People Cheer For You and Announce Your Name! Man, coming in from a race feels good. You’re done, for one! But the people cheering and clapping and the radio announcer announcing your name and info like he knows you, like other people should know you, now that’s awesome! “Here comes The Shaw Family from Dripping Springs!” Best of all is your kids cheering for you! You feel like all those times they caught you sneak smoking have all been made up for when they see mom and dad running across the finish line after a 10K! Even better, is if your kids get to run across the finish line with you, like Loralai and her friend Lily did. Such cool parents, I tell you!
8. Food and Drinks. Of course this was a perk! There is definitely no cooler full of ice cold gatorade and beer, along with hot BBQ waiting for us after an at home run! We dove into that free beer stand like a couple of college kids at a frat party! Ah, we love you Firemans 4!
So what were our times, you ask? Well they were the same, cause Joe ran with me, and our times are only reflective of MY time, cause Joe ran with me. Got it? So 6.2 miles in 1:15:39!!! That works out to 12.5 minute miles. Through the hill country!!! AWESOME! My goals were, 1. To not come in dead last in my division, 2. Keep time under 1:30:00, and 3. Finish. I did it all! I measured up to the other runners as a completely unstunning, middle-low runner. And it felt so good!
The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out on the lawn at Spicewood Vineyards with our friends, sipping wine and beer, and watching the kids play in the creek and climb trees. The weather held up and it was a well spent Saturday in my book.
Then it was home, where either the wine or race had more of an effect on me than I thought, and I took a 5 hour nap. Sometime around noon, the next day, I could walk again. Joe fared much better than I did. He was even able to pull dinner together that night. Go Joe!
Will we race again?
We WILL! It was fun and I would never have run 6.2 miles otherwise! The most we ran to train for the race was a little over 4 miles. So now we have something else to do while on our RV trip; race!