The race began last night, with the Pre-Race Ritual. This basically means that I find all my stuff, lay it out, and pack the bag because my brain is mush in the morning. The Famous White Reflective Hat from the first two tris is back in action!
Unfortunately, I tend to deal with nerves by becoming an obsessed control freak. Which explains how, at 11:45PM, I was looking for my sparkle socks and shaking my fist at the unfolded socks in the clean laundry pile. WHY MUST LAUNDRY EXIST TO THWART ME SO!
I get a little worked up before a race.
This was my first Aquafina Butte to Butte and many things went well.
First, for the first time in all existence, there were no lines for the porta potties and they had plenty of TP. This alone is a miracle. Bless you, organizers. You have mastered the portaloo formula.
It was super-easy to park and get to the shuttle location, even though we are still new to town. Yay, us! There were plenty of people dressed for serious running, and lots of people in goofy costumes. We ran near the Statue of Liberty for pretty much the whole morning. Red, white, and blue tutus were abundant, but I can't run enough bleach through my brain to erase the image of the red thong over the blue bodysuit. Why, why, why? The humanity! Next year, maybe I'll put some tinsel on my hat.
I really liked the clothing shuttle- you could wear your sweatshirt up to the start, and drop off your extra clothes to be shuttled down to the finish. We took advantage of this handy service, and let me tell you, it was really nice to be a little warmer at the start and to have my flip flops at the end. And now I know to put my name and race number on my bag BEFORE I leave home.
And then it all started. People told me that the first mile was entirely vertical, so I went in expecting misery and sadness and pain and suffering. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the first mile was actually more of a gradual slope- the real steep-suffering-pain-agony part is only the last third of the hill. This is another reason I love my neighborhood- we live in the Southwest Hills ourselves, reportedly on the other side of the Butte we ran this morning. Recently we started running hills workouts. By recently, I mean "last week", and by "running", I mean that I've never know such pain and misery. This means that today's hill wasn't all that shocking. I suppose camaraderie does a body good. I did slow to a walk for the very last bit of the hill, but recovered quickly at the top. One family was handing out donuts midway up, but I skipped them at that point. (IF they'd been a half-mile later....!)
It was all downhill from there.
Not in a bad-race sense, but I mean, literally. The course looks like this, so you pretty much coast for the next few miles. See? Downhill, mostly, and super-flat.
|See?? Isn't that course insane?? (Disclaimer: Not actually depicting Eugene. **)|
I was able to relax, keep M in sight, and look for spectators. I didn't see any of my friends in the race itself, but I heard there were people from Crossfit, Multisport, and St. Mary's all running. I did see my boss on the sidelines, and several parishioners along the route! The Boss missed M, who was a few seconds ahead of me, with flames shooting out of his speedy sneakers.
A word on speed: M and I are both running a pace that could be called snail-tacular. Here in TrackTown USA, we are so slow that most people don't recognize what we do as running at all. Small children regularly pass us. Heck, old people zoom by us... REALLY old people. (Last year's 70-74 age group finisher beat my time by at least 20 minutes.) However, last year, I couldn't even do a mile without stopping. So holding down 6 miles with no stopping and at a consistent pace: I call that a major win, baby, win. I take it where I can.
The only downside: EWEB was handling all the "Pure Refreshment" stations, and apparently they adhere to the proper sports concept that for workouts of an hour or so or less can be done on straight water. I have a bad time trying to eat much before a workout, let alone before a race, so I kind of rely on Gatorade mid-heavy-workout to keep me in balance. Trust me, after experimenting all last summer, I know what works foe me. The straight water was starting to upset my stomach by the end! I did not hurl mid race, but there were a few dicey moments when my stomach said "You witch! Where's my Gatorade! I hate you so, so much." My stomach can be very tempermental like that. It always makes up with me later.
All told, near the end, M (who'd been pacing ahead of me) started looking around for me. At mile 5, I finally caught up with him and asked him if he wanted to run this thing out together. He agreed. I think it's just really sweet when your beloved knows he could smoke you if he wanted to, but decides he'd rather finish the race with you.
We finished the race together, just a few seconds before the Statue of Liberty. I took the opportunity to go eat some carbs, yeah, baby, carbs* (whole wheat currant scone and a big cup of coffee with milk). We have declared this a fabulous way to start a Fourth of July!
*I have been really stripping down on easy carbs to focus on getting more protein and whole foods, to strip off some of this pudge before the fall. My body is learning to rely on fat stores for energy and overall, we both feel pretty good. But I think I am hardwired to love carbs, with great great warm squishy fresh-out-of-the-oven love.
|This was my last loaf of bread before starting on the new nutrition program. The sweet memories!|
**In the picture above, that IS actually Yosemite, with pictures of Half Dome. In the past week, the joke had been made that the Butte to Butte course was so steep that it had cables like Half Dome. It wasn't that bad.