Lets just say that if there ever was a race I was NOT looking forward to, this one was it. For many reasons but mostly because if I don’t see anything FUN or EXCITING in it, then I get pouty and turn into a big baby about things and, yea….that is basically how I felt about this race for months. Probably not right, but hey…brutal honesty is all your going to find here with PPMR, especially at our own expense..
Its hard to get excited for a race that is on the roads you run every day. Its hard to get all pumped up knowing that the hills will suck and the wind will blow and that my kids will be at mile marker 6 so if I look like death, they will see and, being my kids who inherited a lack of verbal filter from their mother, they will tell me I look like death.
I also knew if I didn’t run I would regret it and a good friend was the race director and she needed and deserved the support of the friends/runners in our little community so I made the decision I was going to do it.
I am so glad I did. I have never been so happy to be wrong. Could be because I am not often about things….oh..
The wind blew, like I knew it would….it was ONLY a headwind the last 4 miles or so….it was a cross wind till that point. The hills sucked, but they always do. The friendship was amazing, the atmosphere was great, the organization, awards, attention to detail was beyond what could have been expected from basically a one woman show in a town of 154 people, down a one lane oil strip in the Sandhills of Nebraska.
We were bussed to the starting line, and thankfully Heather, who occasionally gets motion sickness, commandeered the school van that was also getting people out there and we kinda sorta took that over for our local runners. Yes, I know, not the nicest thing ever but hey….everyone else was already on the big busses and frankly, if Heather did get sick, well…..at least it would only affect 8 people instead of 50.
Not only did we have a nice chat on the way out to the start BUT we also suggested that instead of pulling all the way in to turn around, he should just turn at the end of the drive WHICH resulted in being first in line for the porta-pottys WHICH, now tell me this isn’t incredible and awesome, were BRAND NEW. I don’t mean newly dropped off new…. I mean never, ever been used before, ever. My husband does not see the excitement in this that I do, but he doesn’t utilize porta-potty’s like I do…he just finds a tree or a bush or something.
ANYWAY, the race got started and the first thing we did was climb a hill, shocker I know. I set waaaaay to fast of a pace and thankfully, the voice of reason…aka, running buddy Jolene, informed me that there was no way she was going to hold a 903 pace for 13.1 and if I wanted to run with her, neither was I….she was right so I backed way off….or so I thought but the voice of reason had to chime in a few more times before I got the hint. By mile 4 I had settled into a nice 930 pace and held it fairly steady there, until we turned a corner at Mile 9 and the wind became a factor. Then I started to fall off pace a bit but I knew that was going to happen and my plan was to just climb the last hills as steady as possible. Did I mention that they were 3 of them within a 1.6 mile stretch. BRUTAL.
I hit the top of the last hill and knew I was in good shape…it’s a really nice, LONG down hill slope to the relatively flat finish line. WITH a water station at mile 12….which is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL thing.
I caught up with Kimberly, who was running her first ½ and kinda motivated her along to the finish. Which means I had on my bossy pants and told her I was not crossing the finish line before she was so she better get moving. Then I told her she could punch me at the finish line if she wanted. We ran past our town Sheriff, and then turned to see the finish line and it was a beautiful thing. The park had lots of people, the food smelled amaze-balls, and oh yea, THE CLOCK READ 205. I never, ever thought that is the time I would pull on that course. No way. Not with the hills and the wind. I was hoping for 210-220 so I am beyond thrilled with that time.
All in all, it was a great, great day. My parents were able to be here and see me run a long race for the first time. My kids were on the course and didn’t tell me I looked like death. I had great friends to run with, great friends to cheer in after and great friends who crossed before I was able to catch up with after the race. PR’s all over the place, and just great running and conversations to be had.
From a race I had a really, really hard time getting motivated for to something that I will NOT miss in the future. A course I dreaded to a course I now want to dominate because, well, I have an advantage that I did not utilize this year. I had a great race. Now, I’m simply more excited to see what I could do on that course if, instead of dreading the fact that I run on it every day, I will be using that to my advantage and own those hills.
Before I stop, I just want to say how ridiculous proud I am of each of the ladies in this photo. These are some of my running buddies AND I’m so happy to call them my friends outside of running as well. Every one of them is local. Several running their first ½ because it was close and maybe some peer pressure, lol. They all made it across the finish line and I know a couple are already looking for another race. It’s not easy to run. It’s hard to race. It’s really hard to race for first time in front of people you know. They did it and I am so proud of all of them. WE are all proud of them. Just what our town needs….MORE RUNNERS. The best part is that we had even MORE runners out on the course at water stations who, for reasons from pinched nerves to newborn babies, were unable to run with us this year. Next year, the above photo will grow as our community of runners grows. That, I cannot wait to see.