Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CARA Lakefront 10

The alarm goes off at 5:30am. I hear rain rapping against my bedroom window. It's overcast and quite gray.

In a few hours, I'll be running the CARA (now with FirstMerit as title sponsor) Lakefront 10.

I get dressed, check the weather and start texting. It's cold and scheduled to rain most the morning. I'm being a whimp. I need to be talked in to this.

After some convincing by Kim S, I grab my bag and umbrella on my way to the car.

I drive down to the start line and find a parking spot. I'm early, just as I like to be the morning of a race.

I sit in my car listening to the radio and watching the rain. My mind wanders and I think "I don't have to do this race. I could just go home and back to bed."

Then I remember the F^3 Lake Half Marathon earlier this year. It was cold and icy then. Or the Chicago Half Marathon in 2008 during the monsoon. I was soaked before reaching the start line. I'd run in worse conditions than today.

I walk to the start area around 7am. The rain has eased up. I'm glad I thought to grab an umbrella and happy to see Joel and Kim are set up under a tent. As we get closer to 8am, the rain stops and we head to the start line.

Kim and I look over the participant pool. This is a small race. It's likely many people whom registered opted to not run this morning on account of the weather.

Shortly after we cross the start line, Jen finds us in the crowd. She'd stayed back at home hoping the weather would break before coming to the race. We laugh and remember many mornings where Jen arrived just in time to start a CARA training run from the same location. Those summer Saturdays will be here before we know it!

We discuss our race strategy. We're out here just to do it today (and hopefully not get rained on...too much). We bob and weave around the northern part of the path, crisscrossing Cricket hill around mile 4. Passing over Cricket hill is not a problem this morning. Come to think of it, I think that's the freshest my legs have ever been going over that small patch of grass between Montrose and Wilson.

The wind plays in our favor, then works against us. I hope that it's direction doesn't change because as things look at the southern most end of the course, we'll get a push back. There's a slight drizzle for a moment or two around mile 7.

I look at my watch around mile 8 and figure I'm averaging a 10 minute mile. I'll take it. I'm not out here to prove anything, right? But then something gets in to me as I reach 9. I grab a cup of water and keep moving through the last aide station.

I pick up the pace heading in to the last mile. For the first half mile or so, I feel pretty good. I can hear the megaphone. I know the finish line is very close. Then I pass a volunteer saying I have a half mile to go. Uh oh, maybe I went out a bit too fast. This is what happens when you don't memorize the course map! Well, I committed to picking it up to the end, so I better just keep going until I'm finished.

I cross the finish line to see Jen standing on the sideline. She finished just a few moments before me. We head to the last turn of the race to cheer Kim to the end. By the time we get in position, she's running past. The wind starts picking up and we decide it's best to head back to the tent and wrap it up for the day.

Thanks Mother Nature. You were a champ today.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Katie Perry, Get Out of My Head

Shortly before the start of the Lakefront 10, Kim and I stood near the start line. As usual, upbeat music was played leading up to the gun going off.

The song of the moment was "Last Friday Night/TGIF" by Katie Perry.

The gun went off. For the next ten miles, my internal soundtrack had been set. Katie Perry. One hour and forty minutes of Katie. That's a lot of Katie.

Friday night was stuck on repeat for some time. Then it shifted from "Teenage Dream" to "California Gurls" then to "Hot and Cold."

Wow, who knew I could sing so much Katie Perry to myself?

It seemed to do the job, so I kept going. Now I was searching for a new Katie song.

I pulled out "I kissed a girl" from the memory bank and saved "Waking up in Vegas" for the home stretch. Which, ironically, started playing as I crossed the finish line

Saturday was a Katie Perry kind of day.