Saturday, June 2, 2007

One helluva race!! -- official report (now with pics!)

Oh my goodness, you guys!!! I had an absolutely unbelievable race this morning!! Almost too good to be true. Seriously. I am still giddy.

I was a little stressed this morning, as I had some weird race dreams last night. One included me running two miles in the wrong direction, only to have to head back and run the correct course. And that course ended up winding through some weird store over and over again, with no real finish line. Strange.

So rather than torture myself through dreams, I woke up about 15 minutes early instead. I ate some breakfast, surfed the 'Net and waited for the alarm to go off before getting ready. I wore the same running pants that I wore in the Foggy Bottom and Avenue of the Giants races. I think they are turning into my lucky pants. But it was a good day to wear pants, since it was cold, cloudy and there was a little mist in the air.

Tim woke up and got ready, and we headed out the door around 8:40 a.m. The race wasn't slated to start until 10, but it takes about 40 minutes to get there. We arrived around 9:20 and found the starting line (and porta-potties, of course). The Arcata Farmer's Market was just two blocks away, so we walked there to kill time. Tim's grandmother Betty has a stand set up there, so we chatted with her for a few minutes. At that point I wished I had some money to buy some fresh produce with. It all looked so good!!

We meandered back to the area where everyone was gathering for the race. It was hard to tell how many people were there, but I think more than 200 women ended up running both the two- and five-mile races. The time seemed to pass quickly and before I knew it I was lining up at the starting line. There were no timing chips this time around, so I wanted to start close to the front so I could get a more accurate gun time.

They counted us down and we were off. I swear, the ladies surrounding me all took off like rockets!! I was running almost as fast as I could and I was getting passed by women pushing jogging strollers! Dang!! But I just kept running like there was no tomorrow and kept up with some of them for a while. About 1/4 mile into it, I looked at my Garmin and my pace was 7:40!!! Holy crap!!! That was crazy!! I knew I couldn't keep that up for long.

But I kept the pace up, and I knew it was probably the fastest I had run in my adult life. When mile 1 was over, I looked at Garmin and I could not believe my time: 9:28!!!!!!! OMG!!!!! Woo hoo!!!!! Well heck, all I had to do was run an 11-minute mile and I would beat my goal of 22 minutes by quite a bit!!!

At this time, the racers split into two segments: those running the two-miler, and those doing the five. The two-mile course broke off from the other and started heading back to the finish line. I noticed as I turned the corner that A LOT of the women running in front of me had gone the other way. There were not many two-milers in my vision at this point. That was exciting! I knew I had a chance to break the middle-of-the-pack barrier for a race! I kept running, eventually passing a lot of slower runners and walkers on the way back. There were some teenage girls running in front of me and I really couldn't keep up with them, although I tried.

Finally, I rounded the last turn for home. In the distance, I could see Tim standing there with the camera. As I got closer I could see the race clock. Do my eyes deceive me? It read 19:45 and I was almost to the finish line!!! That made me run a little faster (although I got passed by this lady who was running like her hair was on fire -- she had quite the kick!!). I touched the finish line when the clock read 19:56; my Garmin read 19:55. Wow. Just wow. I was tired, but something special happened to me today. And Tim was there to see it. That made it that much better.

There were people at the finish line to take the name tag off our numbers so they could determine the order of finish. Then some other volunteers handed all the finishers pink ribbons and long-stemmed flowers. I thought that was a nice touch. I met up with Tim and just felt amazing. He said he was proud. *sniff, sniff*

They started putting results up, and we made our way over to the table. I saw my name; I had finished 27th!! There were about 140 women who ran or walked the two-miler, and only 26 of them were faster than I was!!

But then the real surprise came. They had awards for the first three finishers in each age division. On the results table, you could see each person's age next to their name and place of overall finish. Tim and I looked for anyone else in my age division ahead of me, and didn't see one single person!!! That's right, I took first place in my age division!! And I know there were at least three women in that division because they awarded prizes for second and third, as well. That just capped off a wonderful race for me!!

I got a pin that said "1st" on it. :-) Is that cool or what??

Oh, the only slight bummer was that my official time read 20.01 when it was posted. There was a guy at the finish line who had some hand-held device and he pressed a button on it whenever someone crossed the line. Apparently that device was not synced with the clock and added a few seconds to my time. But still, even if I did a 10 minute/mile average, that is still a lot faster than any of my previous averages.

I am still waiting for them to post the results on the Internet. It will probably be later today.

Race stats:
Atalanta's Victory Run and Walk (women only)

Distance: two miles
Time: 20.01 (official); my goal had been 22 minutes
Pace: 10 minute/mile

Finished 27th out of 146 participants in two mile (waiting for official results to be posted)

Finished FIRST out of 15 in age division (30-34 years)

Oh, here are a few pics. :-) Click on them to make them larger.

Goofing off right before the race started (I'm in the green T-shirt, No. 209):

And we're off (I like the way I look in this pic, LOL!):

Me coming down the home stretch (it is blurry because our camera doesn't like to zoom properly for some reason):

Me crossing the finish line (and turning off my Garmin):

Me with my flower and ribbon:

Check out my new pin!! Yes, that is my hand. I never realized how long and thin it looks!

The results table. They actually took the name tag portion off the bottom of our race bibs and stuck them to tape in order of finish. You can see my name in the second column, four up from the bottom:

A wider view of the results table. There were many columns that we couldn't squeeze in the shot:


Tim said...

I'm *VERY* proud of you. :)

Becky said...

Way to go!!!!! You rock! I can't wait to be as fast as you :)

J~Mom said...

Congrats!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you!!!!! This opens the door for more rocking fast speedy races!!!

Marcy said...

OMG HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!!! I had a feeling you'd kick some ass!!!! ;D ;D ;D Great, great job Michelle!!!

Jason The Running Man said...

WOW WOOHOO! Michelle, I am proud of you! First place and 27th overall is huge! Your rock! CONGRATS I am so happy for you!

Randy said...

Way to run Michelle, you rock girl...first in your age group that is sooooooo awesome......Major ^5's.....Speedy Michelle!!!!!!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Great job!!! Yes, racing is addictive.

Laurel said...

WOW!!! That is so awesome!!! Congratulations!
FIRST PLACE?!?!? How great that has to feel!