Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Race

  I hopped out of bed at 6:00 and threw my clothes on for the Amy Thompson Run (benefitting the Brain Injury Association), made coffee, fed the dogs and let them out, and didn't waste any time heading out. Over 2,000 people registered for the race—a record, I'm told—and I didn't want to have any trouble parking. For my efforts I was rewarded with a truly spectacular sunrise: a "God sky" with beams of sunlight streaming dramatically through the clouds. Quite a nice way to greet the day.
  I arrived at Loose Park early enough to have a banana and take a stroll through the rose garden, which unfortunately was already waning. Last year's roses looked much better for the holiday.
  Larry Moore from KMBC did a great job as emcee, as always, and a young woman nailed the national anthem. The spirit of the crowd was palpable, and I reminded myself to take strength from it... Races over 5k generally aren't my thing.
  Shortly before 8:00 and the start of the 8k, busses carrying 250 soldiers from Fort Riley arrived, mostly young men and a few women. They wore different t-shirts according to their unit, but all were easily recognizable by their neon yellow belt. Most lined up at the back of the pack and intended to run in formation. (I was leading them the whole time, and didn't see them cross the finish line.) There were a few, faster soldiers that ran ahead, so I had a chance to thank a few as we were running. There were a lot of younger kids running the 8k this year. I wish I'd had that kind of determination at their age. Towards the end, a lot of them were slowing down and walking, and I made to sure tell them all "Great job!" as I ran by. Hoping that with a little encouragement they'll stick with it.
  I never saw Amie, but I ran into Fred & Ben during the race just as I had last year, said "hey" to Al Mauro at one of the water stops, and at the finish line I found Brett & Mary, and Joe Griggs. It was nice to see some familiar faces.
  It was too hot: 75 degrees and cloudy at 7 am, and close to 80 and sunny by race time. (Anything over 50 degrees is too hot in my book!) The open, unshaded areas were brutal, though the breeze helped. With less than 2 miles to go I was able to run through someone's sprinklers and that gave me the boost I needed to finish strong.
  Overall, I finished 450 of 1265, with a time of 46:12 (slower than my time of 44:26 last year). I finished 20th out of 107 in my age group, and 131 out of the field of 662 women.
   I'm still pacing slower than I was last year in general, having some trouble with shin splints and not wanting to overdo it on my hips. But given that I'm running and feeling pretty great without surgery, I'll take it! I saved just enough energy to do a long sprint to the finish line, with the crowd cheering me on.
   After the race I walked through the chute and down the line to pick up the usual post-race treats: a banana, some chocolate milk and banana milk from Shatto (yum!), and a granola bar. The next table stopped me in my tracks: heaping trays of crab rangoon, with Costco-sized bottles of Heinz Ketcup. I've seen (and avoided) post-race doughnuts before, but... crab rangoon?! Really?!!?
  So I headed over to Eggtc. for my favorite breakfast in KC. They were as busy as always, but had a seat for me at the bar, and Jay-Z was playingClearly they were expecting me! I chatted with the folks around me and had a great time.
  Now I'm at home, sitting outside on the deck with my coffee and the newspaper. It's shady, breezy, and perfect. If you don't hear from me soon, come over and wake me up!
  Actually, Tay already took care of that. He climbed up on my lap and started licking my ear. I'd like to think it's 'cause he loves me sooo much. But I was probably a lil' salty.