After Saturday’s Winter Park Road Race 10K, I’m feeling a bit hardcore. I did something I’ve never done before (and something I was happy to never do) — I ran in the rain.
And it wasn’t fun.
The day started out OK. I was watching the weather like crazy because Friday was rainy (and we all know how Sunday turned out for me) but the weather people kept claiming that the rain wouldn’t arrive until Saturday afternoon. When I woke up at 5:30 Saturday morning and it wasn’t raining, I thought I was golden.
I thought wrong.
Victoria picked me up at about 6:30 and we headed toward Winter Park for the race. The 2-mile run started at 7 a.m. and we walked up to the start area just as the runners were starting to line up. It was a little warm but I’m a wimp, so it seemed just about perfect to me.
As we headed toward all the booths to take a look around and try to track down some of our friends running, I felt what I thought was the first raindrop.
A minute later, I felt the second, the third and before we knew it, it was raining.
We took refuge under a tent with some colleagues of mine, and a few minutes after the 2-mile run started, the skies opened up. It was POURING.
I realized I wasn’t going to be able to run with two crucial elements of my race plan — my phone and my Syracuse shirt. Since it was game day (our second game of the NCAA tournament) I suited up. And thanks to my near-fear of taking a selfie, I didn’t get a pre-race picture in all my gear. So, you’re just going to have to wait a few minutes to see the full outfit for yourself.
Thankfully, for a change, I had a charged Garmin and iPod. I would have risked the loss of my phone if I didn’t have those two. Victoria assured me that the Garmin would be OK in the rain and I had my Spi belt on, so I just tucked my iPod in there and under my shirt and hoped it’d make it.
Since the Syracuse shirt was a cotton one, I’d layered a real exercise shirt under it to help wick away the sweat. Once I realized running in the rain in the cotton shirt would be a disaster, I shed that and left it with my phone in the tent.
That means no race course photos for you! You poor things.
When it was about 7 minutes to race time, the lovely Carissa started telling us to suck it up and get to the starting line (OK, fine, she said it much nicer than that, but that’s what the voice inside my head was telling me).
I’m not going to lie — there was a minute or two when I seriously considering bailing. I’m not a run-in-the-rain kind of girl. It’s hard enough to get me excited enough to run under the best of circumstances; throw in some monsoon weather, and I’m out.
But then I realized how lame that would be, so I begrudgingly made my way toward the start. Victoria headed toward the big-girl running pace groups and I found myself a spot between the 9-minute and 10-minute groups. I’m no way a 9-minute miler but I’ve also done enough races to know that when you line up with the 10+ers, you get stuck trying to dodge walkers. And I don’t need another temptation to walk.
I was still debating how I was going to get my iPod turned on in the pouring rain when, just before it was time to start, the rain let up significantly. By the time I was crossing the start line, it had petered down to just a drizzle.
Thank goodness for small favors.
The first mile or so was spent dodging people and massive rain puddles. I kept a close eye on my Garmin because I tend to go out too fast and kill myself for the rest of the race. I ended up finishing the first mile in 10:05 — a bit faster than I normally run but not too fast that I couldn’t sustain it.
I was able to keep fairly close to that pace for the second mile, even when I started running into friends along the course. It’s always so fun to run up on (or get run up on) by friends. We’d chat for a minute or so, then continue on with our own races.
At mile 3, the hills and slick brick-lined streets were starting to catch up with me. That’s when I started running some intervals. I’d run for 5 minutes, give or take, then walk for a minute. I don’t know if I’d ever be disciplined enough to stick with a strict interval plan for a race but they definitely help I think. I also like to give myself markers such as, “I’ll run til the end of this song” or “I’ll run til I round that corner.”
For the most part, I felt pretty good for the entire race. I definitely felt stronger than I felt running it two years ago, and I tried something else new — I wore a pair of my friend Jeannie’s compression sleeves on my legs. Lately, my shins have been KILLING me for every run, no matter how much I ice and elevate them.
I don’t know if it was psychosomatic or what, but they felt really good during the race. Around mile 4, my Achille’s of all things started feeling really tight (the bricks? the hills? the compression sleeves?) but it was nothing compared to how my shins have felt recently.
When I ran this race two years ago, I finished it in 1:11:44.
I had a dream that I might finish under 1 hour for this one. OK, fine, it was more of a pipe dream.
I kept doing the math throughout the race (which is never an easy task for me) and for a little bit, I thought it was possible I might finish right around the 1 hour mark. But by mile 4.5, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Then, I just figured anything I could do to improve my finish time was good enough to me on a rainy, messy day.
And that’s what I did. Here’s I did this year:
That’s a 5-minute PR, pretty much on the dot. Baby.
And I even smiled for the camera at the end.
Shortly after crossing the finish line, my elbow and I found speedy Victoria. Seriously, three months after popping out a baby, girlfriend ROCKED this race. Read her recap here.
I seriously have to stop with the blogger hand on the hip pose. It’s so obnoxious. New rule: everyone please start putting me in the middle, like in this picture with Victoria and Jeannie, my running clothes fairy godmother. Yup, I was wearing her orange Sparkle Skirt and blue compression sleeves. Without her, my Syracuse outfit would have been nothing.
Victoria and I also were on a mission to get our picture taken in front of the race sign. It took two photographers and about 10 photos (apparently no one else in the world knows how to use my Droid) until we finally got one decent picture. My elbow approved.
We also tracked down our race announcer extraordinaire Carissa.
But thee was really only one person I was on a mission to find — my twin.
Don’t you want to eat her cheeks and legs? Too bad I made her cry. C’mon, Audrey, us Syracuse fans need to stick together! Thankfully, her mother still wanted to stand with my
elbow me after I made her baby cry.
Yup, another new momma who ROCKED her run.
But perhaps the best part of my day? CJ Fair, my outfit inspiration, had an amazing game that night and Syracuse punched its ticket to the Sweet 16.
CJ, you’re welcome.
Clearly that means I’m going to need to wear this get-up for every game. I’ll do whatever it takes, baby.
The second best part? When I finally got home about 2.5 hours after the race ended (I had to rush right from the race to take E. to piano lessons), I took my wet hair out of the pigtails. And well, this is about as close as I’ll ever come to looking like one of the “Friends” girls.
Granted, I look like Monica in Barbados but beggars can’t be choosy.
And for the race, as always, I’m glad I did it. All of those running chicks kept trying to peer pressure me to sign up for the OUC Half Marathon since they were offering a special early registation and discount to 10Kers on race day. Man, what happened to old-fashioned peer pressure over things like drinking and drugs? These runner girls are hardcore.
Don’t worry — I didn’t fall for their tactics. It’s going to take a lot more than a $5 discount to get me to sign up for a half. Maybe someday the desire will be there. For now, I’ve signed up for something else crazy.
Have you ever run a race in the rain? And do you wear compression socks or sleeves? I’m debating buying a pair after my good race and post-race experiences with them this weekend. And what was your biggest PR?