Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Webster Education Foundation 5K 2014 (Runnin' On Empty)

Webster Education Foundation 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 11:33/mile

So I have to admit, last week was a rough week.  And I don't mean rough like "meh, I had a busy week and walked away feeling tired/stressed out". 

I mean rough like "OMG, I think I'm going to die, I am definitely NOT going in to work, DON'T talk to me, DON'T move near me, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T TOUCH ME!!!!!"

And then it ended with "OMG, WHERE'S THE BATHROOM?!?!?!"

Yeah.  Somehow last week I got the flu/a gastrointestinal virus.  I don't know how, given it's the middle of August, but I did.  I knew things weren't quite "right" on Tuesday when I taught.  Class seemed harder than it should, I was off in my cueing, and I was sweating way too hard for the effort I was putting in.

On Wednesday, I should have had a clue when I was sweating at happy hour, my booze didn't taste so great, and my joints were aching while just sitting - SITTING!!

By Thursday morning I was in all out denial and forced myself to go into work despite an upset stomach and a mild fever.  I even managed to "teach" that evening (although it was mostly just cueing, not so much doing).  I convinced myself a dinner of chicken broth and a bedtime of 7:30pm would heal all that ailed me, and I'd be fine in the morning.

By Friday, all bets were off.  At 3am I debated calling in sick, at 4am I wanted to call in sick, and at 5am I could barely manage typing an email saying I was calling in sick.  (BTW, you know it's a bad one when I don't get out of bed until almost noon after having gone to bed at 7:30 the night before.)

Yeah, I was more than just kind of sick. 

Not to mention, I was running on empty - over a 24+ hour period, I basically drank 3 cups of chicken broth, ate a few pieces of white bread, and had a little bit of cheese.

So, you know what sounds like a great thing to do immediately the next day (Saturday)?  Why, run a 5K of course!  Let's do it!!!!

Ok, ok - on a serious note, I had already paid for this race months ago.  It wasn't like I was going to let that money go to waste.  Plus, by dinner Friday night I was starting to feel OK and keeping food down, so I figured I was over the worst of it.  By Saturday morning I was feeling better, had no fever, and was actually hungry.  And since I was feeling better, I figured I would just go and see what happened...


As I mentioned in my recap last year, this race takes place in small town Wisconsin. 

I guess it shouldn't have surprised me, then, that when I showed up at check in and stated my name, I received a warm welcome from one of the race directors.  Here's how it went:

Woman A at check in: "Name?"
Me: "Natalie (spells last name)"
Race director A, overhearing me: "NATALIE?!  You are just EVERYWHERE!!!!" turns to fellow race volunteer "Oh, I just love her.  She wears funny outfits to all the races she runs, and they just make me so happy!!"

Always glad to hear that my antics amuse someone, after completing check in I tried to keep some pep in my step and make small talk with my new "fan".  In our conversation, I mentioned that I wasn't not so sure how this year would go due to my recent illness, acknowledging that I was happy to have won my age category at the race last year (and my doubts for a repeat).  As our conversation wound down, she wished me luck, and I quietly bowed out to go sit in the car with my husband and question my sanity as to why I am running this race mentally prepare for the run.

As I did so, I got my bib ready... and began to wonder.  Why were the race pins so big?!

At least you couldn't tell how large they were once I get them on... right?

Oh, right, the outfit.  If it looks familiar, this may be whyOr this.


With my gianormous pins in place, I shimmied over to the general area where we started in 2013 and bid my husband farewell (he was pleased that I gave him the green light to leave, since he wanted to go get coffee, which meant leaving the start area). 

Thankfully, it was a wonderfully cool but comfortable morning, which felt great on my post-flu/fever-flushed skin.  Feeling relaxed, I decided to burn time by mentally tallying up the runners.  I noted two things:

(1) There seemed to be fewer runners this year
(2) There seemed to be a couple of women in my age category, and I was already betting I could take them

Oh boy, competitive much?

I also noticed that, like in my 4th of July recap, there were runners present again promoting a local sheriff candidate... who himself was again running the race, too.  Although I know nothing about his position, I just love the way he promotes himself in the running community:

Ron's Runnin' for Sherriff

And regardless, props again to him for trying to stay active!

Eventually, the crowd was called to attention by a man with a megaphone who talked us through the race course (right, left, turn, turn, dance on your tippy toes and then ... what?!  Sh!t.  I don't live in this town, so I just trusted that there were good markers on course / wished for a guy in front of me who knew where he was going.)  With a few more general directions, finally it was time.

Bang.  The gun was fired, and we took off.

Immediately I saw my age group competition speed off into the distance.  Crap.  I told myself that there were only two ahead of me, so maybe I still have a chance for third.  I plodded forward.

Within the first half mile, we past the main street of town, where I was surprised to find my husband.  He was hanging out, sipping coffee, and making sure I wasn't dead yet.

He was not impressed that I was running this race.  True story.

I immediately felt vindicated that I had made it over half a mile, was still running, and I was there to prove it to him.  I am the RIGHT SPOUSE.  In your face, husband!!  I WIN!  (*sarcastic eye roll*) 

**Let's just ignore the fact that I'm obviously NOT doing well in the above photos, and pretend that no one notices the entire crowd was far ahead of me, with the exception of a few back of the pack runners and walkers who were still behind me ... barely.

Not far beyond the above photo, I made it to the section on course that was spray painted:

_____ONE MILE_____

...and was immediately defeated.  Seriously, only one mile!?  That was the worst mile of my life.  Regardless, I decided to enjoy a walk break and took that break time to celebrate: so far I had not thrown up or pooped my pants. 

Natalie - 1, Post-flu-body - 0.

During the break, a woman in a yellow tank top came up from behind me and ran by.  It dawned on me that she may be the #3 in my age category and I thought ... if I let her beat me to the finish and she takes the 3rd place medal from me, I'm going to be kicking myself. 

And so, my vow was born - do not let yellow tank top woman beat you to the finish.

Lucky for me, we were both struggling a bit with our run.  Every time I walked, she slowly jogged by.  Every time she walked, I slowly jogged by. 

It was a pretty good challenge for me to keep up.  Especially when I burped at mile 2 and the orange Gatorade I'd been drinking earlier (since it's pretty much one of the only things I could "eat" in the last 24 hours) gave me a tremendous case of acid stomach.

Regardless of the acid stomach, I still celebrated that I had not thrown up or pooped my pants.

I carried on.

Ms. Yellow Tank top and I played frogger for the rest of mile two until I saw the final stretch on the horizon, and then that was it.  I refused to have a weak finish, and decided I was gonna run that b!tch.  And so, I did:



 Yeah, just ignore the photo evidence in the background ... my PW 5K time of the season.  And on a fast, flat course to boot.  D'oh! 

As I pulled into the finish line, I heard "Yeah, Natalie!  Way to go!!!!!"  The race director from the beginning was cheering me on despite my less than impressive time.  Whoop!

Plus, just seconds after clearing the chute, I heard two women yell "HEY!  We saved a you a banana!!"


I actually got a banana post race when wearing this shirt?!  AWESOME!!

Just as I picked up my banana and a bottle of water, Ms. Yellow Tank pulled in.  I'm sure she was unaware that we were racing.  Exclusively.  Against each other.  Regardless, she seemed pleased with her time, and I was happy for her.

But then, my attention lost it's focus on my competitor and I got down to business.  Age category prize time.

Ages 11 and under...

Ages 12 to 16...

Ages 16-19...

Ages 20-29...

Ages 30-39...

Third place, second place... first place.  No Natalie called.

WHAT?!  No placement.  DAMMIT!  But seriously, I couldn't expect much with a 35+ minute finish.  I mean, really...

Besides, something odd happened this year, and all the sudden the competition got really fast.  There's no way I would have taken top three, even if I wasn't sick:

Disappointed, but only due to the fact that I was jealous for a medal, I headed out to the car and we took off for home.  There, I promptly remedied my sorrows with the cutest post race outfit yet. 

(No, the shorts were NOT included in the race swag).

And that's the story of how race bib # 47 joined my collection.  Which ends on a happy note - I'm not sick anymore!  BTW, I didn't bother with maps and charts this time, since my pace was so poor, and since I posted them in the 2013 recap - which you can go visit if you are interested in seeing.  Or don't.  Your choice.  Either way... here's to another race soon!

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