I ran a 10k this morning, the first run I’ve done since my last-minute 5k in the rain. I had high hopes for this race: it took place at the zoo, it was long enough to get me training, and there was a kiddie run component. I suppose that the shortest way to describe my experience is: yeah, no.
First of all, I totally screwed up training. I haven’t been running regularly this summer, and I caught my first cold of the school year two weeks ago, derailing my last-minute prep. It seemed like every time I would set aside time for a run, Mason would ask if he could do something totally reasonable and I gave up my run to watch the kids. As a last-ditch try, I was even going to run home from Bat Masterson on Thursday, but I had to go to a Parents’ Night right after school, then watch the kids on my own. So much for that idea. And in case you think I was constantly frustrated by the demands of family, there were many more nights that I blew off because I felt too tired to drive to the gym after dark and run the track.
So I headed into this run having set a personal record for the least amount of training before a major event. Not only hadn’t I practised the distance, I also didn’t run regularly. The only thing that kept me in it was the idea that I’ve run a 10k before, so how hard could it be?
Of course my day was complicated by two forces of nature: a constant rainstorm and my three children. Breakfast took so long this morning that we were nearly 30 minutes late to pick up my bib number. By the time I started running, half-dressed like a bee but eschewing antenna and wings for a jacket and hat, I was so far behind the event that the volunteers had taken away the mechanism that records the start time. So I may have run way faster than the people who were awarded first place and there’s no way for any of us to prove otherwise.
I ran alone, cheerfully, until I caught up with the truck removing pylons after the formerly final runner, and was able to pull even with the volunteers who were dutifully tailing this man. The three of us ran together until we all caught up with this man, and then they dropped to a walk to keep him company and I kept running. One down, and my mediocre goal of not being the last person in the race was satisfied.
The first 4 km was over gravelly service roads, which became a problem when mixed with the constant rain. I kicked up so much mud that I started to sand away the skin under my sock cuff. After about ten minutes of this, I was so desperate that stopped to rinse my ankle in a puddle. Ridiculous, but effective.
At the 6 km mark, I stopped to go to the bathroom.
Half a km later I ran past the family, cheering me on. I got a kiss from them all, and a chunk of fruit from Blake.
I finished strong, running through the hilly terrain as best I could. My one stitch was fairly early, and I ended with an unofficial time of an hour, even. That’s 12 minutes better than I did last spring, on the downhill course. I suppose there’s something to be said for not wanting to be the very last to straggle across the line.
marathon photos.com is not happy about me uploading this.
We visited some pavilions, and I reconciled myself to being cold and wet, as the rain was too intense for me to have any hope of keeping my new outfit dry. We all liked seeing the animals, and we were all pretty happy until it was time for the kids’ run. As soon as we walked outside, I remembered why I had wanted to look at chimpanzees under a roof. And of course, my kids are perpetually set on contrasting speeds, so while I was dragging Sage by the hand Blake took off ahead. We found them just before it was time to start, Blake worming ahead to the first row and Sage staying behind with me. I had thought that I would easily be able to keep up with the official slowpoke of the family, but he soon began to put on irregular bursts of speed and lost me a few times. By the end of the race, I didn’t have either kid.
After we rounded up both and got their official photos, we toured the African pavilion (my favourite) and then spent way too much money on a delicious pizza. Not waiting to eat turned out to be a good call, as we spent the next 90 minutes in traffic, trying to get to the Annex for a Gene Yang event. We made it just before the end of the talk, where I found out that:
- Gene Yang is delightful
- Gene Yang teaches high school (computer programming!)
- Gene Yang has a son Blake’s age, who was the inspiration for Prime Baby, and he only just started to let his son read the non-Monkey King parts of ABC
Everything else this afternoon was getting soaked by the rain and sitting in the car, inching forward through the rain. I’ve spent upwards of 4 hours in the car today, and I didn’t even go very far. Rip off.