Monday, December 12, 2011

Madison Christmas Rush 8K

On Saturday, I had enough nerve to go run the Madison Rush to Christmas 8K (Madison is supposed to be historically significant; Wiki says kind of otherwise). I say 'nerve' because one, I registered on Wednesday. Two, I hadn't run since my Sunday run in Central Park last week, and before that hadn't run in 4 or 5 days. My training's been waning, to say the least, so I figured I'd use this race as a push to see where I'm really at in my training - what am I actually capable of doing?

I considered it mandatory!
This run is actually a 5K and an 8K. 5Kers go first, they finish, generally clear out the area and then it's the 8Kers turn. I mis-read, or only read, part of the race details, and I saw "9 a.m." written there. So, the morning of, I haul myself out of bed at 6:50, hit the road by 7:45 (after stopping by Kroger to get a Santa hat!), and am in Madison by 8:20 am. Only to find out I have to hang around until 10 am to actually do anything. Bummer. It did give me good time, however, to get my shirt, sit in the car warmth for a little while, and then go back outside during the 5K to get used to the brisk (but beautiful!) morning outside. I think it worked in my favor.

At first, I was the only Christmas-spirited fool who made the effort to dress up -- yes, I say dress up. Half the fun is Christmas spirited running outfits, no? So here I am, the only person walking around in red and white striped socks, red shorts, green shirt, and a Santa hat. Got a few compliments, a lot of "Really?" looks, and was generally feeling pretty self-conscious about it. And then... they showed up! These girls (a few of them), had also been at the Jack 'O Lantern Jog I did on October 30 in Athens, at the Nature Center, and they had run the race as nerds; I had talked with them a little at that race, but didn't really make much of it. Well, they were the only ones dressed up here, so I had to make it a point to go talk to them, and am so glad I did!

Race time: I was a little nervous. I hadn't done a good long run (aside from my casual Central Park 6.5 mile stroll) in awhile, but knew that I wanted to make this count to see how well I could push myself. I was talking to another woman as we watched the 5Kers run in, and verbalized to her that my goal was 50:00 -- that'd give me a good 10' mile, which I could handle, surely. That made it real. Could I really do it in 50 after not running seriously for a few weeks? We could only find out in one way.

I stayed toward the back of the starting pack - the first 100 yards or so is all uphill, and I tend to get carried away the first 500 yards of every race I do, therefore wearing myself out. This time, I needed to test my lungs, not my energy bursts! I made it a good pace, but not even before Mile 2 was hitting that mental block. Problem. I wove in a few dashes of walking inbetween my runs, but was having a heck of time. The course was mostly flat, with a few rolling hills, but took us down some beautiful country roads in Madison. It really was a gorgeous morning (at least by 10 am) and I was at least thankful I was chugging down the road instead of wasting it away at home.
Such a gorgeous day!

At the 3.5 mark or so, I was playing tag with another women, and we took turns taking the lead every 50 yards or so - sometimes I like having a rabbit to chase. Sometimes... it just makes me more tired. We ran together a little while, and then I stopped for a stint of walking. She was about 50 yards ahead when she waved at me to catch up and keep moving! At mile 4, I was at 41'58". I actually had a chance to make the 50-minute goal, or at least be really freaking close! I told her the goal: "Can you make it?" "I'm at 42." "Oh, girl, you can totally do it! GO!" And I chugged on -- so fast, in fact, I lost my Santa hat. She picked it up for me (thank you!). In true Megan fashion, I chugged so hard, I was close to out of breath at 4.5 and stopped for a moment to walk and catch up. And then, realizing I had less than a minute to go, took off.

Mind you, I played soccer for 16 years - I sprint by nature, none of this long-distance business! Every race I've done (save for one), I sprint the last 200 yards or so to the finish. That last burst of energy that gets me there and makes me say "YES! I CAN!" And true to my style, I did! 51:13. So. Close. Normally, I'd say I was unhappy I didn't make my goal, but given that again, I haven't ran seriously in a little while, I'm happy I was able to finish under an hour!

I found my elf friends, talked with them a bit more, and they offered to let me run with them. This year, they did one race a month, everything from Tough Mudder to 5Ks to a tri (long-term goal). We exchanged information, got a few photos, and parted ways. Happy day! Athens running friends, hopefullly!

Lessons learned, because there has to be: I'm 48days away from the half  marathon that I would really like to count as my first half marathon. This run, as intended, served as a reminder and a swift kick in the butt that I've got work to do! I can do it. I know it. Just need to get movin'.

Just got a little work to do, that's all.

For now, that's all friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment