The D. L. Half Marathon is done and in the books. So many things to discuss, so let’s just get to it.
- The actual race is called the Dick Lytie Spring Classic. When my alarm went off and I turned on the TV to check out the temperature so I knew how to dress, imagine my surprise when I saw the wind chill was a negative 8 degrees. What?? It’s spring for lord’s sake. The word spring is even in the name of the damn race. What the hell happened? Someone needs to do something about this climate change. So far, I’m not in agreement with it!
- We arrived at the race early because we had to get our bib numbers and t-shirts. The minute I walked into the registration building, the nerves jumped into overdrive. Why, I ask, do I get so damn nervous? It really was nothing more than a 13.1 training run. But call it a “race” and throw in a bib number and I just want to spit up in my mouth a little bit.
- This is a small race and the start was more casual than a large road race. As a large group we all walked about 100 yards down the road to the start. The start was moved a bit this year due to the 18 inches of snow we got earlier in the week. Knowing I had a really good chance of coming in dead last, I wanted to make sure I claimed my spot at the back of the pack early on. So I wanted to make sure we started behind all of the other runners. As we were walking to the start we were among the last runners and were just milling around when all of the runners turned around. Apparently we were walking to the starting line but then had to run back the direction we just came from. Basically what I’m trying to say is that we were now at the very front of the pack a place I had NO BUSINESS being. And when my husband pointed it out to me, I actually shrieked and quickly bolted around everyone to get in my rightful place… behind them all! Hubby was not impressed with my very audible shriek and the fact that I probably moved to the back of the line quicker than I’ll move for the rest of the run.
- A horn blew to signal the start of the race and we were off. Off like lightning. Actually me and my other fellow back-of-the-packers were off more like molasses. There was no sense of urgency from me or anyone around me. It definitely made me realize I was with my rightful comrades… the slow folks.
- It was some where in the 2 mile range when I was about to turn right and embark on our first climb that I realized half of my home boys at the back were leaving me for the 5K route (they didn’t turn and instead stayed the course) and weren’t going to be with me for the full Half. Damn.
- The first climb was a windy and steep climb but it’s relatively short, about 3 quarters of mile in length. I felt good going into the hill and I felt better for each person I passed. And I passed a lot of people. But I should clarify when I say a lot, it’s not like it was 20 or 30 people. Hell, the whole race had only 300ish, and considering a lot of them were running the 5K and the other bunch were WAY ahead of me… the number of people I passed in reality may not be too great. But basically I passed anyone that was currently on the hill within 50 yards of me. So, I think I probably passed at least 6 people. This to me is a lot.
- At the top of the hill we took a left turn and was greeted by the wind. Well hello there Mr. Wind… so nice of you to make an appearance today. How long will you be joining me?
- The race then took another left and we were running down a hill, just to take a right into the wind again followed by another right and up our 2nd hill. This one is a bit longer probably about a half mile and one that I’ve been training on and one that has routinely gotten me gasping for breath at the top of the hill. I wanted to stay strong on this hill but not over do it because we were only at mile 4 and had a long way to go (did I mention the cross wind that was just smacking me in the face at this point? Again, Mr Wind, pleasure!). But again, I didn’t want to slow down and not try and I sure as hell didn’t want to walk like I saw some people doing. Not sure what made these people enter a race just to walk the hill by mile 4. Mile 4!?!? Did they not train at all? But that wasn’t for me to worry about at this point. It was just a pleasure running past them all. I was just hoping they didn’t kick in it once they got to the top and fly past me. Because that kind ticks me off.
- I was at mile 4.5 when one of my “motivational” songs “Ladylike” came on my Ipod. I KNEW this song would be a great one to help me get up that last hill. But that hill is 3 miles away. So, I had two options, keep my Ipod going and know that I would not have this song to motivate me up that last hill because by the time I got there another 9 songs would have come into rotation by them. So I chose option 2. I turned my Ipod off and ran in silence for 3 miles.
- The 3 miles in silence wasn’t as tough as I thought because a lot of that time was spent running into the wind and the wind was so loud that I really wouldn’t have been able to hear too much of my music anyway. Plus we were running along Nicolet Drive and there are some really beautiful homes on this road, right on the water and I was doing a lot of sight seeing at this point and we all know what comes with sight seeing beautiful homes. Envy and judgment!
- As Brian and I were critiquing the homes (okay, I was critiquing and Brian was not really even listening as much as he was nodding and inserting the appropriate “yep” and “ah huh” as needed… comes from many years of pretending to pay attention to me) I realized we had another runner following us. He was definitely our yellow shadow (he was wearing a bright yellow jacket). And it was so awkward to have him so close to us and yet not pass us or drop back. And by this point, I had been running into a strong head wind for way too long and letting this guy draft off of me for way too long and I was getting pretty pissed. I am not a patient runner. I am an extremely anxious runner and the fact that this guy was on me like white on rice… had me preparing my confrontation with him. I was preparing the proper verbiage in my head. It had to be polite but stern enough to get him off my ass. But just as I was about to say something to him… right turn.
- The right turn brought us to our 3rd and final hill. I couldn’t concentrate on my yellow shadow and the hill at the same time. So my efforts went to the hill. And that was the right decision because kickin ass on the hill allowed me to drop his ass. And once I realized I dropped him, I set my sights on everyone within eyesight on that hill because I was bound and determined to catch them. The first dude I passed was about 20 feet in front of me. And when I passed him, I looked at Brian and I held out one finger to signify “I just passed one… let’s get the rest”. I then had my sites set on a person who was probably 20 yards in front of me. It took me awhile to run her down and pass her but I did. And then I looked at Brian and signaled “two”. At this point there were probably 4 more people left on the hill but they were way ahead of me. But I figured there were 2 that were still “catchable”. I’m guessing they were another 20 yards ahead of me but there wasn’t much “hill” left so to run them down would be hard. But I wanted them and I got them. And each one I passed, I put out the 3 fingers and the 4 fingers. I got to the top of the hill and I was so damn excited but that was secondary to the fact that I thought I was going to die. What the hell was I thinking? Who did I think I was? I don’t have the athletic ability to run someone down much less on a freaking hill. I was spent. And I was gasping for breath and I pretty much wanted to sit and rest for a while. But I realized I just passed a handful of people on the hill and I didn’t want them to see me vomiting from over exertion at the top. So, I had to suck it up and pretend like nothing was wrong. But I did spend the next quarter-mile (which is what Brian told me it would take for me to calm down and catch my breath) switching between a bit of pride in the fact that the hills were done and between all 3, I passed a lot of people and the fact that “I don’t do things like that”. And I wondered what the hell got into me. I for a brief moment had a bit of a competitive edge to me.
- At the top of the hill, as I mentioned I was wiped and I was hot and sweaty and we had the wind at our back. So, I decided to do a bit of undressing. I took my fleece off as well as my headband. The headband had to go because my head was SWEATY and I needed a breeze and to cool off a bit. But if anyone has ever seen me AFTER I take off the headband knows it’s a rare sighting. That’s because it is not attractive in the least. Let me paint a picture. My hair is completely matted down, it’s wet and sweaty and what’s not matted down and sweaty is frizzy and is flying away. If you think I’m joking about my hair, oh I wish I was. But no, I’m not joking and that point was proven by the comment of the gentleman at the next water stop. His comment to me as he was handing me Gatorade was “I like what you’ve done with your hair. The wet, plastered look is good”. I didn’t even know what to say to that. I tried to laugh it off but the damage was already done. And Brian knew it too. The guy manning the water stop runs the local shoe store where I buy my shoes. As we ran away from the water stop Brian looked at me and said “this is gonna make your blog, isn’t it.” “So where are you going to buy your shoes from now?” Brian knows that I can’t have someone make a crack about my hair, a topic that because I grew up with an Afro is something I am very sensitive about and still have frizzy haired nightmares about, and just forgive and forget. So, now I’m on the lookout for a new specialty shoe store. One that won’t go where no man should ever go… critiquing a sweaty girls appearance!
- The rest of the run was uneventful until I got to mile 11. At that point we were back on UWGB’s campus and no matter which way we turned seemed to be running into the wind. I just needed to be done running at this point and I didn’t like not knowing where we were going. I thought the route was going to take us back the same way we started. But instead we were winding around it was very confusing. I got very cranky at this point and very anxious. I realized I have a problem when I don’t have a clear understanding of the course/route. I think it’s the reason I have a problem on a particular 16 mile training route and why I had a problem in San Diego for the marathon too. Once I get anxious, it’s just shy of an actual anxiety attack (actually I think I did have those twice on runs). I couldn’t believe how upset I got and how quickly I become fatigued and emotional. It was weird. And not at all a treat for Brian. But now that I know I have this issue, maybe I can somehow work on overcoming it. I never realized how easily I can be “triggered” into anxiety by not knowing what was going on. So, while the last two miles were not fun for me or for Brian, something good came out of it. What is it they say… knowing it and acknowledging it is the first step to overcoming it, right? Or does that only apply to addiction?
- The very last mile, while fighting off anxiety I was also trying to drop another shadow. How the hell do I keep getting these people? Again, she was so fricken close I don’t understand why she didn’t pass. And because I was already in “a mood” because of the anxiety and because I wanted to shake this chick, I kicked it up a notch. My last mile was the fastest of the whole damn race. I took off about 40 seconds on my per mile pace just to get the hell away from this person. It’s amazing what a bit of annoyance can do for my pace.
- I was very happy to see the finish line and I enjoyed running under the finisher’s clock. But when I glanced down at my watch I realized we were short. And by quite a bit. So I kept running! I ran for 10 or 15 more yards PAST the finish line to get to 13 miles. Brian was more than embarrassed at the fact that I kept on running. I said he was lucky I didn’t insist on running until I came to the proper mileage of 13.1 miles.
- After I finished Brian ran to the car to get me a cap so I could cover up my obviously hideous hairdo. While he was gone I was standing outside watching the other people who were finishing behind me. I was so grateful to not have finished last. I got some good advice from a co-worker prior to the race and she told me to “not look back” during the run. If I don’t look behind me, I’ll never know if I’m the last one. So it was nice to actually have a chance to “look behind” and see that I wasn’t the last to cross the finish.
- So, while I didn’t finish last, I definitely finished towards the back. But that’s okay. Because I did it. I ran the D. L. I conquered a race that I’ve been fearing for over 3 years. It’s nice to train and actually accomplish something. But I think this race went well for another reason… I had a little guardian angel watching me run this race. And it kept making my smile knowing I was towards the back of the pack because that would have just meant “I made it easy for him to spot me because no one else was around”!
So, that’s my race recap. Now it’s looking forward to the marathon. A lot of training yet to do in 5 short weeks. The miles get crazy now and the marathon will be here before I know it. But hopefully the marathon will have the same outcome as the Dick Lytie… if I train the race will go well!
Until next time… gotta run.