Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mysterious Bib Number - Falmouth Road Race Recap

The last time I ran a race was June.  That was the day I learned to love squirrels - anyone remember that day?  Needless to say I was on Cloud 9.  Since then, running has been ehh a struggle at best considering all the shoe issues etc.  But on Sunday I laced up and Aaron and I headed down in our death trap of a car (update on that, the transmission went and the wheel barrings are no good...so glad we drove 7 hours in it Sunday, uhh oops?) Anyways, the plan was like every year to meet our cousins and to drive to the starting line with them.

My cousin actually picked up my bib number for me as I was not staying down the Cape for the weekend. When I picked up the number though, something seemed wrong - maybe it was the fact that my bib number read 708 when it was supposed to be 706 and my name said "Kara Walsh." Which is not exactly Stephanie.  There was not much to do at that point so we let the mystery go and headed to the starting line, luckily it was the correct corral.  As I lined up in the starting line, my fully charged Garmin, you guessed it, died. Yup, of course. "You've got to be kidding me" I shouted to no one inparticular.  More on the death of my Garmin later this week.

There was not much to do so off we went.  The cool part about this race was apparently people thought I was fast and I was in the corral right behind the elite and really fast runners. I have to admit, I felt semi-special about this. But knew that it was going to be hard not to get caught up in all the fun and sprinting plus I wanted to try really hard not to weave.  In the end, no problem there because 20 seconds after crossing the starting line I felt something in my shoe, a tiny stick. I debated whether or not I could run the 7 miles on it.  I tried to see if I could get it to a point in my shoe where it would not bother my foot.  But then I talked some sense into myself.  We all know my feet have not been doing so well.  The last thing I needed was to alter my gait.  So I pulled over, took off the shoe, to reveal this tiny nothing little stick - hey, I am a sensitive gal!

I am right behind him I promise

Otherwise, the first mile was great. I felt good and was ready to run.  The worst part was that it was so packed that it was hard to move.  The streets are narrow at the start and pretty much all through Falmouth and for the first 2 or 3 miles it was so congested there was no where to go plus all the body heat was not helping.

I wish I could say all my miles felt like mile 1 but at about mile 2 I was not feeling so hot. Or rather I was feeling too hot. It was actually a cooler day but I thought slightly humid and that seemed to really take a toll on me.  So I hit the first water station and the genius in me thought it would be a good idea to pour water over my head.  This might have been good if I had not been wearing moleskin on my heel to deal with a blister that I had all week.  Here comes stop # 2 - again I debated, do I stop and fix the moleskin and hopefully prevent the agonizing blister (blisters really can be game stoppers) or do I keep going?  I tried to be rational - I stopped and fixed it.

Off again, but honestly I was just not feeling great. I don't know if I went out too fast and could not tell without the Garmin but I had to keep slowing down. I felt good that people in my corral were still around me but still not great.  At Mile 3, the course opens up to the beach and I just remember thinking where is the beach?!?! To keep up my spirits, I joined in with the crowd.  Falmouth is amazing! There are people lining the course, partying, cheering you on, giving you water, spraying you with hoses.  I high fived all the little kids, blew kisses to the camera, and yelled out at the crowd to cheer.  I may or may not have said "Come on, we are running a race here" and raised my arms to have people cheer.

So here I am at Mile 3.5 and you know it, shoe issue number 3 - why not right? This time my shoe laces were just too tight. This has been an issue ALL summer.  And honestly at this point I actually kind of, if I am being truthful, wanted an excuse to stop.  So I stopped retied it and went on my way (I promise this was the last stop).   From there on out, my mental game was not great. I tried to keep it up with the crowds and even encouraged other walking runners to keep going but the miles seemed to take forever, my legs felt like led, I was crazy hot, and had a stitch in my side.  I kept thinking never again, why the hell do I think it is a good idea to run in the middle of August, why do I do this race every year again?  Somewhere between mile 4-5, I convinced myself that the mile was so long I must have missed the marker for Mile 5 and was going to hit 6 soon. Uhhhh no, no luck, good one Steph.

The last mile is a bit of a b*tch (sorry) there is one more short steep ass hill at the end and it is a back breaker.   Every year though I point to it (just like I do to the stairmaster) and say YOUR MINE.  And mine it was, up I went and then I was rewarded with glorious downhill.  Once you are down the hill, it is still a bit of a straight away to pass under a huge American flag and the finish.  Galway Girl (my favorite motivational run song) came on just as I saw that flag and I booked it home.  When you cross the finish line, they make the runners walk almost a mile to the field where all the festivites were set up.  I had nothing left, why can't I be in that nice VIP tent right after the finish I thought?

Ok I can't help but give a play by play, Aaron was so awesome at picture taking.  This is a little after I came down the hill...watch me kick butt (sorry green shirt guy who was still in my corral yay...eek is that bad?)

 Scroll back up, who looks in worse shape me or the winner awesome dude from Kenya

 Ok so this is the same face I make in every race - it is my "in the zone" face as Aaron calls it...I call it the kill me now face just kidding...sort of

Oh well, I made it to the field and downed two fro yo pops (these things are amazing check them out) and then maybe PB, banana, animal crackers, coffee cake, potato chips, gatorade, and crackers - I can feel you judging me. Please don't, this is clearly a healthy post race fuel session!!!

Anyway, later that day, as I was incessantly checking times, the results finally came up.  I checked Kara Walsh - 54:55. YES I thought, no wonder I was dead. But then I realized the bib did not match. Ok, check out 708, my name is there 57:44  UGH, why can't I be Kara?!?!? (sorry Kara, wherever you are, actually I found out a lot from her number, it is kind of freaky actually!)  This is almost a minute slower than last year.  Aaron reminded me with all the stops, I can't complain - true.  But the whole bib thing was so weird.  We got the pictures today, what came? The wrong photos but look up Kara and there I am! Probably my best race pictures ever taken by Marathon Photo...hah figures!

Ultimately, was this hard, yes.  Did I want to stop, yes.  Did I want to give up, yes.  Will I do it again?  HELL YEA!

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