Saturday, December 8, 2012

Run Like the Dickens

With the void left by not being able to kick out my Turkey Trot and get a PR, I took to the streets of Holly, MI this morning with just that goal in mind: PR that sh*t.  Mind you, this race was not on my radar.  The Santa Run is usually my bookend for the year, and I usually don't even think about any more races located in this calendar month.  Last night I saw there was a 10K for this race, and got a little twinkle in my eye, though.  I decided to text J about it and, told myself, "If he texts back that he could go and wanted to go, it's on.  I'll take another swing at PRing the 10K"  I don't need a running buddy for every official race, but having him join in pushed me over the hump.  I was on the fence, and I probably wouldn't have went on my own.

It's better with friends
Parking and registration was quick and painless for us, being 45 minutes early, but I'm sure it was a little harder for those that came later.  There was a good chunk of people wearing festive attire.  I was as well, but it ended up hidden beneath my new waterproof jacket, due to the rain/sleet that turned into snow that began just before the race (I was being a wimp).
Just Before Race Start
When we started it was a little crowded, but cleared up really nice, really quick.  Probably because it was a pretty fast crowd out there, and I was in the back.  My goal was to keep moving as hard as I could and bank a little time.  Then J passed me, and I thought if I could tail him, I would easily PR.  That didn't happen.  I started losing ground to him by the second mile, and then I had to stop and retie the drawstring of my windbreaker pants.  By then he was gone, and within the same mile I had a shoe come untied.  So I stopped to tie it and double knot that one and the other.  Pretty much every race I make sure everything is in place and tied tight and my shoes are doubled so the don't come undone, but, nope, not today.  

At this point I'm figuring a PR is out of range.  I thought about slowing up and enjoying the run, but I told myself to keep pushing and think positive.  That didn't work.  I felt exhausted after 3 miles.  I could feel my strides shortening and my pace slowing, but I kept pushing myself anyway.  At this point I'm thinking there's about a 4% chance a PR is on the table.  I was just mentally and physically in a bad place, and I figured my time was going to turn out equally poor.  

By 4.5 miles, I wanted to be done, but I saw someone's "If it doesn't challenge us, it can't change us" quote on the back of their shirt, so I kept pushing as much as i could.  By mile 5 I still wasn't doing much better, but I decided to see if I could kick it up any, and I was absolutely shocked when I could and started picking up some people that just passed me.  I thought I saw the street with the finish line at probably 5 1/2-5 3/4 and made a mistaken mad dash toward an oasis of "plenty more race to go you idiot," and had to back off a bit.  

Finally we made the last turn, and I saw 5-:--, with the rest of the numbers being pretty much indeterminable from where I was, but I knew I was still under an hour.  I also knew I just needed to beat a 59:20.  I gave about all I could down the stretch, and crossed right about in that 59:15-59:20 range on the clock.  I figured with chip time I probably had it, but I was too busy sucking air and feeling my muscles burning to think or talk to J, who met me at the end.  

We went inside to grab a water and some of the holiday goodies (apple and orange slices, bananas, cookies, cupcakes, etc.).  I went apple, orange, chocolate coconut cupcake (burned calories recovered).  I didn't sign up for the heavyweights to avoid any potential prizes we had to stay for, and we didn't even look at times.  I've made J late for work twice already by suckering him into runs on days he has to work early afternoon, I wasn't going to make him late again.  We left almost immediately.

I didn't know my time for sure until about an hour ago, but I got it.  I ran a 58:46, which isn't a big chunk off of 59:20.  I'll take it, though, especially on a run that felt horrible the entire time and one where I had to stop and tie my stuff up twice.  I can't believe I actually got it, but that's why you keep going and don't give up, even on the bad days.

Everything's wrong....well it's all right.  

Nail a 10K PR up next to all the distances I've improved upon this year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Frehley Claus is Coming to Town

The Flint YMCA Santa Run was a fantastic experience as always.  It's just special to go out and do a run, and know there's no time going on your permanent record.  You can go out, dress up, have fun, and be merry.  This year I decided to separate myself from the masses a little bit, and add a little more flair to my Santa suit.  Last year I saw a little personalizing of the traditional suit by people, and I thought I would do a little of that this year.  Then the little seed in my head grew a little out of control, and I decided that I was going to go for being a ho ho holiday version of Ace Frehley.

Being a man, I've never painted my face, and also, because I'm a man, I didn't really think of how I'd be modifying the outfit, or if I'd actually do so at all, until i got out of work on Friday.  Luckily, I was able to make use of a previous year's Santa suit, an old space blanket, the left-over Halloween Wayne's World wig, and some silver duct tape and made something presentable the night before.  The face painting, I decided, would be left to my wife in the morning.

The only problem with that was, she was really tired, and I decided just to leave her alone and try it myself, which, even in my head, sounded like a horrible idea at the time.  However, I thought I did a really decent job of making a red and white version of the spaceman make-up.

J got here, saw my madness, and then we left, hoping nobody would pull over two Santas, one of which was all painted up, for looking suspicious.  On the way there was a part of Court Street blocked off for an accident investigation where an MTA bus hit a 72-year-old woman who, last I heard, was in critical condition.  Hopefully she makes it.  When I saw it, I was sure she was already dead, but last I checked the news she's still holding on.  That with the other blockades that came up late, blocking most of the decent parking, made it hard for us to get anywhere near the run.  So we just parked out on the other side of Saginaw and started running to the YMCA. As I was running, I was mistaken for a "Juggalo" by a Flint Security Guard.  I immediately said "OH HELL NO..." and explained myself, and what I was supposed to be, and expressed my displeasure with ICP in general to him.

For the record, I'm actually really happy Juggalos are listed as a "gang" by the FBI, because this is the first time the American government has discriminated against someone, not on the basis of race, sexuality, or any of the other things I feel discrimination is unwarranted, but on the basis of stupidity.  I'm proud of my country for that.  It might mean we're starting to get things right.

Anyway, we got to the YMCA 5 minutes before the 1 milers started, and I was trying to find some of my other friends while people kept asking me for a picture with them.  I grabbed one with J along the way, so I would at least have one of me before the run, in case my face got ruined along the way.

Then I saw a Slash Santa, and he wanted to get a picture with me as well, so that absolutely had to be done.
Guitarist Santas Unite!!!
Shortly after getting that photo taken, I found the rest of my people...

After that, there was less than a minute before we had to start.  I haven't timed out a 5K in a while, and J hadn't run in a while, and my other friends are not regulars, so it was kind of a crapshoot how it would go.  I really didn't care, I just wanted to try to run semi-hard, and enjoy it.  I was surrounded by a record number of over 2000 Santas (yes, it pretty much doubled again this year), so it would be hard not to enjoy.

Of course the enjoyment proved a little more difficult once I realized that a sweaty man and face paint for a run may not mix too well.  My paint started melting before a mile in.  It was over 50 degrees out, and I was wearing a fairly warm outfit, over track pants and a shirt, with a space blanket on my shoulders.  I could see paint running off of me, and see some of it bubbling and cracking.  Then I realized I was starting to get a little bit in my mouth, along with the red lipstick I had going, so I had a lot of good red spits along the way.  About 2 miles in and I was starting to get a little in my eyes, so I throttled my speed down just a bit to stop melting so much.

By the time I saw my mother-in-law and wife at the side of the road, I knew it was pretty bad, because while cheering me on, they were both laughing that "oh god, you poor man and your leaking face, but that's hilarious and this is what you get for being such a dork" laugh.  Oh well, I only had a little hill to run up and get this thing done, and I came in with the clock reading just over 26 minutes.  So, even though it was not chip timed, I still ran decent, and got some style points.

Here are some aftermath photos of me...

I'm melting, melting, oh what a world....

Me and the lady
 Afterwards, we grabbed some food and beers downtown at the Torch, after watching a little of the parade. No, I didn't bother stopping home to wash up first.  Why would I?  It's fine.  There were other Santas there anyway.
Not one of the "other Santas" I'm referring to
Me at home just before washing all of this off
If there's one thing I've learned from this experience, it has to be: don't use face paint in a road race, even a 5K.  It is a bad idea.  This is my public service announcement to you all.  Stay safe, and keep your digestive tract paint free.  Frehley Claus out.

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