I ate my breakfast of Kashi cinnamon Autumn Harvest cereal, water and my obligatory DoubleShot (this combo was definitely a "double shot" to my colon - heyo!) and felt well fueled for the race.
The only thing that did not go as planned on Saturday morning was my walk with Emma. Normally she is up and ready for the day around 6:00am, but on Saturday I could not pull her out of bed. We had 8 kids from Chad's youth group over for a cook out on Friday night, and I could really tell on Saturday morning that she was exhausted from Friday's late night (...as in 10:00pm - late for me and Emma!) festivities.
So I decided to forgo the walk with her, leaving her to rest up for a trip later in the day to the dog park.
Saturday started out at a pretty brisk 40 degrees, but the morning quickly warmed as there wasn't a cloud in the sky, letting the sun come out in full force. I debated endlessly over what to wear during the race. I knew if I wore a light jacket I would be comfortable before and after the race, but likely get too hot during the race. But then I was afraid of being too cold in just a t-shirt. I ended up wearing the light jacket - I began to feel like a furnace at mile 2.5, but it wasn't too bad.
I arrived at the Lions complex area at Masterson Station Park at about 8:20am - leaving plenty of time to get checked in and hit the restrooms (which were nice, new and heated - definitely a bonus!) After picking up my race packet I headed back to my car to drop off the race t-shirt, get some water and do some stretching. I always feel a little weird and self-conscious when I go to races by myself. I don't want to be the one sad person standing there alone, so I usually try to keep on the move! I ran a few warm up laps, went to the bathroom 2 more times, went back to my car, did some stretching, etc. I did find a co-worker I knew who was running the race, so that really helped to know a familiar face in the crowd. I'm not sure how many people were in the race (I'm hoping they'll be posting official results soon at lionsrunforsight.com) but I would venture to guess that there were about 75 runners and walkers.
Everyone began to line up at 8:55, preparing for the 9:00am start. I can't help but "people watch" in these type of situations. All kinds of people toe the line at local races, and I am happy for each and every one of them - it takes guts to get out there and do the race, no matter how fast or slow you may be. However, there are always seem to be a few people there who don't really know the rules of running etiquette. Or have any common sense in general. One such girl was right behind. She decided to put her iPod ear buds in about 3 minutes before the start and crank her music to full volume. She then proceeded to carry on a conversation with her friend while screaming at the top of her lungs. She kept pointing to her ears, saying "it's turned all the way up!" and "my music, (more pointing at her ears) I can't hear you, am I talking loud? I can't hear you!" It was very ridiculous and awkward - everyone was turning around and looking at me since I was standing right in front of her. I have no idea 1) why she had the volume so loud 2) why she had her mp3 player on at all before the start of the race 3) why she couldn't take the ear buds out and 4) why she felt the need to carry on a conversation at the top of her lungs. But I digress.
Right at 9:00am the bullhorn sounded and we were off. My only goal of the day was to finish the race in under 25:00 minutes. I tried extremely hard to not let my adrenaline get the best of me and go out too fast at the start. I settled into a comfortable clip and swallowed my pride as people passed me. The course was pretty simple - one lap around the Lions compound track, then out into the park for an out and back stretch, then back into the compound for a final lap around the track. I wasn't familiar with the course at all, but I had heard that was a little hilly. When I came to mile 1 I was shocked to see that I was doing a 7:35 pace. I felt good, but knew that I couldn't sustain that pace for 2 more miles so I backed off a little bit and settled into an 8:30 pace. There were hills on the course, but they were like long, slow inclines - nothing too steep, which was nice. With the nature of the out and back course, the down hills became up hills and the up hills became down hills, so looking back, I guess there were a lot of hills! At about mile 2.5 I could feel water bouncing around in my stomach and thought that I might throw up. I was really heating up at this point (and regretting my decision to keep the jacket on!) but I dug deep and picked up the pace a little, looking forward to finishing the race so that I could lose some layers and cool down.
As I was nearing the finish I could tell from my clock, and watch, that I had missed my 25:00 goal. But I was pretty close - I finished in 25:45. I was happy with this time - I accepted a bottle of water from a friendly volunteer and staggered to my car. I stripped my pullover off and wiped my face with a cool, wet towel. I leaned against my car, ate a strawberry ShotBlok and generally regained my senses. I called Chad to tell him my time and let him know that I was finished with the race. I told him that by some grace I may have placed in my age group, so I was going to stick around for the awards ceremony. After cooling off and regrouping, I walked back into the Lions complex to watch the remaining runners and walkers finish. I found a comfortable spot right on the edge of the track - it was a good spot to both encourage runners/walkers as they entered back into the complex for the final lap and to watch the finishers.
So there I was, just standing there, when I heard the sickening shuffle of the feet of someone who is about to go down hard. Sure enough, I turned around just in time to see a lady (probably in her early 50's) trip over her granddaughter and fall face first down onto the asphalt. Her arms stayed by her side the whole time, and it was not unlike watching a penguin slide off of the ice into the water. She fell so hard that her Walkman went flying - batteries popped out, her earbuds were ripped from her ears and flung outwards with astonishing force and a water bottle went flying. Anyone who knows me knows that I am definitely not the one to be around in a situation like this, as my coping mechanism/knee jerk reaction when witnessing terrible things happening to people is usually to laugh. So I gathered up her batteries, ear buds and water bottle, laid them at her side and slowly edged away from the scene. She had rolled over onto her back and was just laying there, all sprawled out.
By this point about 6 people had swarmed around her - each time she tried to get up they would demand that she stay laying down. She kept saying "I'm really ok - I'm not hurt, just embarrassed. I didn't collapse, just tripped over my granddaughter" and they would not let her get up! I was pretty surprised that she hadn't busted her chin open, I mean she really went down face first, but I thought that the people who wouldn't let her get up were really overdoing it a bit. I understand the whole liability/suing thing, but she seemed fine and just wanted to get up and finish the race. Eventually they let her get up and she went around the track for her final lap.
All of that excitement helped to pass the time until the awards ceremony. Pretty soon everyone was gathering around the awards table and they were announcing the overall winners and age group winners. After hearing the 3rd place overall woman's time, I think that I may have been the 5th or 6th woman finisher, overall. Once they post the results, I'll be able to figure out my overall placement. I did manage to get 1st place in my age group though!! I was really excited and pretty proud of that. Races in Wilmore and Nicholasville usually have small fields and are fairly easy to place in, but I didn't think I would ever be able to AG place in a Lexington race...so that was pretty exciting!
The official results have been posted on the website, so here are my stats from the race:
Age group placement: 1st out of 11
Overall women's placement: 7th out of 65
Overall race placement: 36th out of 124
I'm hoping to do another race in Lexington next weekend - the AVOL (Aids Volunteers) 8k. Since I've never raced an 8k before, my time will be an automatic PR! But it will be nice to get in one more longer local race before the Derby half-marathon in 3 weeks.