Race Report: Cleveland 10 Miler 2011

Sorry for the insane delay on the race report. Hopefully everyone has been enjoying the guest post, I know I did!

As you might know I am graduating in a few days…the reason for my slacking. This past week was my last at my internship, I am taking the state exam for my license on Tuesday and the graduation ceremony will be on May 7th. SIX DAYS. It’s been a mix of excitement, fear and everything in between. Now, the report…

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Saturday morning I woke in  fairly good mood. I actually crashed at a friend’s place since it was closer to Edgewater than mine. Let me ask you something. How many of you adjust your clocks to play “tricks” on your mind? If you do not, allow me to explain the standard version. Some people will set clocks faster than the actual time. For example, the clock might read 7:00, however the REAL time is only 6:50. It makes it look like you’re waking later than you are OR like you have less time and forces you to “hurry up”.

Well my friend has their clock set in an entirely different fashion. I woke up at what I thought was 6:45, giving me about 15-20 minutes to get dressed. Everything else I can do at the site, I didn’t want to miss good parking! I get up, go to the bathroom and go downstairs. I know this could not have taken very long…I look at the clock and see 6:57. WHAT? It does NOT take13 minutes to pee! In a hurry I throw some clothes on, arrange my bag and run out the door. Not exactly the way I wanted to start, but what could I do?

I arrive at the parking lot, wait my way through a sea of cars, and meet up with Gale. Next to my car a girl is taking her own picture. I offer to help and she declines, saying it’s sorta her “thing” to do self pics at races. We joke how camera phones should know this by now and why don’t they create a phone where you can see the picture on the back? She takes the following pic of me and Gale pre-run and we all wish each other luck.

Walking to the start we realize it might not be rainy or windy or cold as the weather had predicted…and we weren’t planned for anything else. We stretch and talk and wonder…and then it’s time to go!

We pace together for a few moments, going down the hill onto the main street. I’m feeling good, but pushing it. I see a girl I think is a fellow blogger and I sprint ahead to try and see her bib…no name, must be late registration. I slow my pace to fall back into what I’m comfortable with and notice I was ahead of Gale. We were both a little shocked. According to my good friend Garmin, I clear the first mile in 9:50.

At some point after the first mile I start to feel like I need to slow down more and more. Part of me thinks it’s from the trail run on Thursday. Part of me knows it’s plain being under-trained and not running on roads…well really at all!

I end up next to a girl who is a fellow Grunt Girl, sans uniform and we exchange hellos. Along the course I get many “GO GRUNT GIRL”s yelled at me. Not sure how many know what our group is and how many just like to read shirts. Either way, it makes me smile and makes me wanna run just a little faster and a little smoother…after all…I’m being noticed.

Water stops are every two miles and for the first 4 miles I take walk breaks at the aid stations. Nearing station # 2 and the turnaround my feet are numb. Something I’ve resigned myself to get used to. A woman I do not know appears out of nowhere next to me as I am sipping water. “OMG you’re Julie, right?” I answer “yes” and she exclaims “It’s so great to meet you!” and disappears. Does it count as meeting me if I don’t know who you are? ( ; According to my friend, yes, she met me, I just did not meet her. Ah, good point! One of the perks of being a blogger and in the running community…people just know you!

After this aid station, another girl runs up to me and asks if I’m on the GG team, I tell her “yes”. She says she just joined and was excited. I find out her name is Jill and I wish her luck as she runs off ahead. I want to try and catch her, want the company and distraction for the long flat road, but I don’t need to get sick. I can still PR if I try.

At this point I know I’m in a little bit of trouble…as I near mile 5 I’m happy with my pace, but I’m feeling ill. As I said, we did NOT plan for nice weather. And this weather was HUMID! My salt/sweat situation was not good and I didn’t have anything on me. It was ONLY a 10 mile run! I end up walking a lot on the way to mile 6.

At mile 6 I drink Gatorade and wear some water. It helps. I continue to take 30 second walk breaks at every mile. Especially as I wait for the the refreshments to kick in. Nothing special about the rest of the out and back, other than starting to feel less dizzy. Right before mile 8 I see the first port-o-potty. Pardon my language but I am PISSED when I see it. I had to pee so badly since the start. I didn’t stand in the atrocious lines because I read on-line there were ports along the course. No time or purpose in using one at mile 8!  Now that I think of it…this was also the race where one year they didn’t offer GU until mile 8. Weird.

Up a slight hill and then around the corner and I know I’m on the home stretch with almost 2 miles to go! Down a slight hill, into a neighborhood and along a walk where I can see the water, see the finish party and hear the music getting louder. I hear them announcing what must be names as people finish. I still have not passed marker 9. I see it, and I tell myself I will get there in my own time. At this point it’s questionable if I’ll PR, but I can at least come in under 2 hours.

Mile 9 takes you down under a bridge and along a nice hill for a quick second. People yell to echo in the tunnel and everyone acts like the downhill is this amazing gift. Must be first time on the course runners. After the hill you cross the highway and back into the main park. It’s a long and slow trek along the “jogging path” up another hill to the finish. The wind is heavy and it seems never-ending. I know I won’t PR so I don’t worry about a walk here or there. I finally attempt to sprint into the finish and I wanna be cool like FAST CORY so I do what I think is a sweet jump. Well, either I don’t jump after 10 miles like I think…or the cameras don’t like me. I might go with the former.

Here are the “official” race stats

Age: 180/193. Overall: 1489/1624
First Leg : rank: 170/193 time: 54:28.75  pace: 10:54
Second Leg: rank : 181/193 time: 1:02:33.79  pace: 12:31
Chip time: 1:57:02.54  Gun time: 1:57:42.61

Here is Gale finishing…her pic plan worked better than mine!

Overall it was a lovely race. It taught me to plan for the unexpected, taught me I’m stronger than I thought at the moment, and I don’t hate roads TOO MUCH. Most importantly it reinforced the same lesson Beth over at Shut Up and RUN learned. Cross-training can make you strong, it can make it so you get to the finish line of the race. However, if you want to do WELL if you want to have the most FUN and if you want to feel GOOD nothing can take the place of actually running.

I leave you with this…what I saw when I drove home. Could life be any better? Emme says “Nice work Mom! Now, let’s PLAY”!

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