Friday, November 8, 2013

Esprit de She...

I don't know what is going on but I have managed to find some running speed here lately.  Last night was the Esprit de She 10k (fancy name, huh?... ha ha).  The race was held in Piedmont Park which is downtown Atlanta.  On a Thursday night, you can rest assured that meant there was some traffic on the way there.  I was meeting friends, one of which was running the 5k which started at 6:30 pm.  I left my house at 4:15 for what should have been a 30 minute drive.  I figured I would just hang out.  I would rather get there way too early than at the last minute.  At 6:00 I inch my way closer to Piedmont Park and am frantically trying to find a place to park.

Downtown driving does not agree with me.  Give me a nice open parking lot with lots of spaces and I am a happy camper.  Ask me to find a spot on a side street in an area where I am not familiar and I may just turn around head back home.  Parallel parking and I are not friends. If Parallel Parking tried to friend me on Facebook I would click "ignore".

Anyhow...  after texting my friend in my stressed out state, she told me where to go to find a spot.  I made my way there, threw the car into park and ran from the car to the race site.  Whew.  Made it just in time to pin on my bib and watch the 5k start.  The 10k started 30 minutes later so my friend Sarah and I hung out and waited for our start.  She just finished the iron distance at Beach2Battleship a little over a week ago so it was kind of impressive that she opted for the 10k - but then again that girl loves her distance running :)

My plan was just to use it as a training run.  I had 7 miles on the schedule for the day.  I figured this would be close enough.  As Sarah and I were standing around she mentioned that she had seen little to no course markings or cones earlier when she was checking out the course.  My over 40 eyes don't see that well at night and being as the course was on a path that was dimly lit and/or not lit at all we thought this should be interesting.  They had sent an email earlier to let us know it would be dark and to wear reflective clothing.  I brought my clip on light for my hat just in case.

So the race takes off and I am pretty much at the back of the pack.   Not that there was all that much of a pack - maybe 150 or so.  Anyhow.  Announcements, National Anthem, count down and we are off.  I was feeling pretty good, passing people up a little hill and into the park. Once into the park it was pretty dark but there were enough people on the first 5k loop to be able to follow and not worry about getting lost.  I was kind of amazed how dark the course was - there were several places where I would not have been able to see where I was going had I not had a light on my hat.

I knew I was doing pretty good but it is so dark I don't bother trying to look at my watch and the 10k people are mixed in with the 5k people at this point in the race.  I get to a little out and back turn around and see a motorcycle coming out.  Hmm.  That's weird there is a motorcycle on the course.  Oh wait.  That is the first place runner.  There is the second place runner.  Annnnnd then there is me.  No way.  It is dark.  I must have missed another runner or two in there.  There had been some 5k people in between.  Totally possible I missed someone.

We get to the split off where the 5k people head to the finish and the 10k people start the 2nd loop.  It wasn't all that clear where to go so I had to ask the volunteer.  At that point the motorcycle was far enough ahead that I couldn't follow anyone so I was just running and trying to remember which way the first loop went.  (There were quite a few forks in the path).  For most of the next two miles I wasn't even sure I was running the right direction.  Occasionally I would see a sign or a volunteer to help but there was no one ahead of me close enough to see.  I wanted to keep my pace the best I could just in case I was in 3rd.  I passed two volunteers and one of them says "just damn!  that girl is run-ning!"  LOL.  I finally got to the out and back again and there was the motorcycle.  One runner.  Two runners.  Me.  Holy Moly.  I am 3rd!  Cannot even believe it - I was sure the one a couple weeks ago was some weird cosmic alignment but here I was again.  So surreal.  I knew I had about a mile to go.  It was cold out and my lungs were starting to burn a little.  Just hung on and tried not to get lost in the darkness on my way to the finish :)

Me with my cheering sign my friend made for me!
After Sarah finished, we went and found a couple of our other friends and cheered for runners on their way in.  I still wasn't sure if I was 3rd but we decided to wait for the awards.  As they started announcing, we were on the other side of the field and made a mad dash so as not to miss it.  As we walked up they were announcing my name.  So exciting!  The official time is 42:20 but I think that is generous.  I kind of think the course wasn't QUITE 6.2 miles.

Podium shot with our flowers and gifts :)

I know some of you all win these things all the time so it is no big deal.  I am trying to figure out where this faster pace is coming from.  Maybe I just need to convince myself that I am running for a podium spot every time as that does seem to be able to get the legs moving a little faster!  Seriously though, I have been doing more running than anything else in the past few weeks in preparation for Disney so I would imagine that helps.  On my longer runs, I have stopped doing the run/walk this training cycle.  (I have done a run/walk for 5 out of my 8 stand alone marathons and am going to try to run Disney without the run/walk this time around).  Maybe that is building endurance too.  Who knows.  As someone who is used to being firmly planted in the middle of the pack, it is definitely a confidence booster to see that a faster pace is possible. Shocking really, as you might be able to tell from my surprise at the finishes lately... I promise to be less blown away if it happens again!  :)

On deck for this weekend is an 8 mile run on Saturday followed by a 25k race on Sunday.  Hope you all have a great weekend!


              



11 comments:

Kate Geisen said...

Holy cow, that's awesome!! And smokin fast! Way to go!!

Matthew Smith said...

Wow Nelly! That is so fast! Way to go, Karen! You rock!!! Congratulations!

Mike said...

Congrats on the 3rd place! That is a smokin fast time even if the course was a little short.

ajh said...

A HUGE deal! Wow! You are fast and be proud!

I would ignore City Driving on Facebook. Period.

Colleen said...

WOOHOO! Girl, that's awesome! Soon, you'll be just following the motorcycle! :)

I hate city driving too... it's even more nuts at night!

Carolina John said...

Wow sweet! Great job. I'll take a 42 minute 10, any way I could find one, but I think it might take a bike at this point. Wonderful!

B.o.B. said...

Holy crap! They weren't lying about all that hot nasty speed! Congrats!!!

P.S. I would totally ignore a friend request from parallel parking too. Ha!

Suz and Allan said...

Congrats Karen! What a fast race!

Kevin said...

wow.Congratulations. You are doing something right. Keep it up

meghan said...

Holy moly!! You're so speedy! Congratulations!! And Atlanta traffic is just the pits...

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

So exciting to place again! Keep it up!