Rock-n-River Race Recap
Second race. I secretly wonder if I am crazy for doing this as I wake myself from dreams of couscous at 5:00 am. Then I remember that I am significantly more prepared for this race than for my first one just a few weeks ago.
First, there is the training. I have been running with increased regularity and enthusiasm. I have stepped up my game and started incorporating hill training. No speed training as of yet. But I am able to run continuously for several miles. I am not fast, but I don’t need to be.
Second, there is the equipment. Yes, there is equipment for running and mine has improved significantly since the last race. I traded in my lame cross trainers for a well fitted and now well broken in pair of Asics running shoes. I swapped out my regular work out socks for my favorite running socks made by Thorlo. Upgraded my sports bra to a technological wonder from In Motion. Seriously, when D cups don’t move you know you have found an amazing bra. And finally…Body Glide. After the heart rate monitor chest strap incident at the last race, Body Glide is a must.
When I finish contemplating my sanity, I crawl out of bed and pad quietly down the hallway to quickly walk the dogs. There are a couple extras today but they are easy. The dogs are relatively quiet compared to the blender. Same protein enriched smoothie as the last race. It works well, why mess with it? I realize that I am not very hungry and half way through the smoothie jump in the shower then get dressed.
I double knot my shoe laces and do one last inventory of all my gear.
Cell phone. Check.
Amphipod waist belt. Check.
Race bib. Check.
I won’t realize that I forgot my water until I arrive at the El Dorado Hotel Casino twenty minutes later. As I search for a parking spot in the El Dorado’s massive parking garage I feel a deep sense of intimidation as small flocks of ultra fit women in pink and black spandex sporting bibs for the big races. I am almost afraid to get out of the car when I do find a parking spot. I am but a fat chick with a forest green 5K bib. I decide to stay in the car for a few more minutes. I text Nikki: It is running central down here. She says to meet her in valet. I tentatively get out of the car and join a mixed group of runners in the elevator, including a young guy that just ran the Boston Marathon. I am so not a runner.
My confidence is immediately boosted upon finding Nikki. There is safety in numbers. We make our way to the street to check out the start line and pick up some extra safety pins for Nikki. The music is pumping and the DJ has a great sense of humor. It is cold, so we huddle in the entrance to the casino with hoards of other runners. Slot machines chime and spin behind us and we can hear the DJ call for the Half Marathoners to get up to the line. The size of the huddle immediately shrinks. Fifteen minutes go by and the 10K runners get called up. There are just a handful of us left. Another fifteen minutes go by and we are called up.
By now, I am not nervous. Nikki maintains this is just an event. I maintain that it is a race. I am determined to accomplish my goals: run the entire race and finish under 40 minutes in the middle of the pack. And not fall.
We position ourselves in the cattle call that is the start line. We will run through the Reno Arch. From there, I have only a vague idea but am confident that it will be well marked. If all else fails, I will follow the person in front of me. The DJ gets the crowd bouncing. The countdown starts and we are off… Well, sort of. It is a stop and go sort of affair as 500+ people funnel down a two lane road under the arch. Eventually we get through it.
The course is a rather simple out and back. We run down Virginia Street and make a right where the Mapes Hotel used to be. Then we follow the river, turning left toward Reno High School. There is a check station with water and fruit about a third of the way through. I realize that I’ve lost Nikki but we had a deal. Start and finish, but in between we just go.
We make what for me is an awkward turn around through the high school. It is only awkward because I am terrible with uneven ground. I watch carefully. A little girl passes me. Nice. But I am in the pack and I have consistently passed people. More importantly, I haven’t stopped running.
I am focused on the trip back. I know I am pacing well and surprisingly, I feel great. The 10K, Half and Full folks merge into us. I stay out of their way but I am not intimidated like I was in the parking garage. Still no sign of Nikki but I suspect she is ahead of me somewhere. There are a lot of people. Almost 5,000. It is easy to lose someone.
I make the final turn back onto Virginia Street. The Marathon runners keep going straight. I can see the arch and start pushing. Not really hard, but a little more. My nose starts pouring out thick green goo. Dammit. I wipe my nose on my sleeve, frown at the transluscent smeer and keep pushing. Almost there…
And then, suddenly I am there. I am across the line and being handed the most amazing finishers medal I have ever seen. I have an intense desire to vomit, but the medal is far too pretty. It is heavy. I hang it around my neck and start looking for Nikki. I find her a few minutes later making the turn onto Virginia Street. I cheer her on to the finish line. Then we go back and look for her friend so we can encourage her as well. We enjoy food and drinks provided and celebrate our personal victories. It was a great day and I am very proud.
In the end, I finished 40 out of 80 in the 30-39 year old female class. I completed the race in 37:13, which is an average pace of 11:58. I ran continuously and did not fall. Plus I have this beautiful medal that seems to be saying, “Run, fat chick, run!”
Next year, I will run the 10K…or maybe the Half!