Yeah, I’m one of those nut jobs (ok, some people say we’re nut jobs, but then again, I don’t like going to the mall, I hate high heels, especially those… platformy ones they look so… nevermind, everyone has things they don’t like or don’t understand… and well, I just like to run)…

Anyway, I like to run.  I don’t get to nearly as many races as a lot of people do, but I usually have a blast when I do get to them. I usually do a few 5K, and I have a 1/2 marathon, 25K, and marathon that I’ve done once or twice and like.

 

And while it’s probably more exciting to have pictures of the race and of the of the green plants and stuff we jogged past, you’ll just have to trust they were there.  The route is one we’ve probably shown already, basically it was on the rails-to-trails bike path heading up–river from the YMCA and back.  The 5K, the 10K, and the 1/2 marathon each headed out 1/2 their distance, and then turned around to the finish line.  (ok, the running scene has some weird obsession with using both metric and non-metric… 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, 10 kilometers, 1/2 marathons (which are 13.1 miles), marathons (26.2 miles)… etc.  … a 5K is about 3 miles, but who wants to use miles when you can use metric!).

Ryan and I have biked or walked the dogs along that path a few times, and it’s pretty darn flat.

So, here’s what I did manage to get pictures of without lugging my camera around while jogging.

These are from before the race, I changed into the t-shirt and then realized how hard it would be to get a picture of the back of the shirt.  I usually don’t wear the shirt, but decided I would today.

So, then there was the race.  It’s always the last 20 minutes before the race that are the worst, I end up having to zip to the ladies about 4 times in the hour or two just before the race, and then it’s waiting those last 20 minutes not knowing really what to do to kill time, and wanting to stretch and wanting to run and wanting to get started and just ready to go!

I’m not one of those people who plan race, and plan to try to hit a certain pace each mile, or be here by how many minutes, and then take a 3 minute rest or whatever, I just trot along at what feels comfortable… I just want to do my best and see how well I can do, how well I do against the clock.  Deep down inside there is a bit of competitive, but it’s more about running… it’s just my thing.

I have to say this too, I love the runner crowd. I haven’t spent much time in the say, yoga crowd or the soccer mom crowd or the bar trivia night crowd, but the runner crowd, at least the ones I’ve met seem to be mostly a pretty nice lot.  There are so many people who tell you ‘good job’ or ‘hang in there’ or ‘you got this’ or whatever when you pass them or they pass you. Yes it’s a race, but it’s a race to see what you can do, not about crushing an opponent.  So I just trot along, and try not to let myself slow down when I stop thinking about not crossing my arms over my chest when I run.  That’s something I remember my high school cross-country coach telling us, try not to bounce, you lose a lot of energy in the extra up and down you don’t need to be doing, and keep your arms moving parallel to your direction of travel,  not swinging across your body/path.  If your arms are swinging to the side, that sort of gently twists your body with every step so you end up not running in straight line, but in a ever so slightly wiggly line.  Wiggly lines are ever so slightly longer than a straight one. And in track, we talked about keeping your thumbs in generally sort of down by your pockets, so your elbows aren’t all crunched up with your hands up by your shoulders or wherever.   So when I get tired or start zone out and just trot, when get back thinking about what I’m doing, I try to check my arm swing.

So, I trotted my trot, and did a little bit of hm, can I keep in front, yep, or nah, that’s just too fast.  And in races like this, where there’s a group start for several distances starting at the same time, and then at different places in the race, people peel off for their distance.  So for me, doing the longest option, it’s always a question of I wonder if I should slow down or not, I’m comfortable at this speed, but hm… what if this is comfortable for like 3 miles and then after that…? Is this the 3 mile group?  They’re pretty zippy… And then I just figure, whatever, I’ll just trot my trot, and run my race.

I always try to thank all the people out to help make the race work, the HAM radio people and the people at the water stations and everyone.  Thanks to everyone out there who help with races and stuff, it’s appreciated!

And so I managed to finish under 2 hours, which is my little goal.  I decidedly wanted to keep it under 3 hours (my main goal), but 2 hours is icing on the cake.  There were about 20 people running, and I finished about midway in the pack, but I’m always more impressed with the senior crowd to manage to kick butt and take names, whether they’re slower than me or much faster, they … well, I just hope when I have that many candles on my cake, that I’m as kick-trail as they are! (and of course, that there is ice cream and brownie to go with the cake… I’m a dairy girl and brownies are amazing!).

So if I know my husband, and he stays typical to himself, he’ll probably brag about how I did… whatever, how well I do in terms of place is a matter of how many other people registered, not of how well I trotted against the clock, but then, he’s a sweetie and likes to be supportive!  So, here’s what I got (and hey, this race the put my gender down in the system correctly, last race I had a pretty cheap and temporary sex change until we did the results ceremony and noticed that the M on the paper should have been an F).

If you’re into times and stuff like that, I’m pretty sure if you use a search engine to look for smilely miles timing you’ll find the results for the race.  I’m pretty sure not only do they have my F where it should be, but they spelled my name correctly (hey, my handwriting is kind of ambiguous, and my name isn’t very common, so it’s easy to get things adjusted, especially if I am writing quickly because I didn’t preregister).

And of course, because it’s me, I’ve got my favorite sneakers… ask Ryan, and he’ll say you don’t want to go sneaker shopping with me.  I am totally opposed to spending like $130 on something that will last like 3 months… and I have always personally hated Nike as a brand because as a kid, I really didn’t like some of their advertisements… so like a true advertisement, it influenced my opinion, and I decided I wasn’t about to give a company I found annoying my money.  Plus, they just don’t fit my feet.  I’ve been an Asic wearer since probably high school, generally.  Just about any other brand just doesn’t fit my foot, so I go with what works… and so that puts a limit on the fun colors or whatever I can get and I get seriously crabby when store clerks come over and want to help me try shoes on (I am very much able to find a shoe in the stack of approximately the correct size, try it on, and then adjust from there…if I need help or have the vain hope that maybe they have a different size in back (generally nope), I can find someone and ask!).

So anyway, those are my shoes.  They ran the marathon last fall and then this might just be their last race, we’ll see.  I have a new pair waiting in the wings but well, it’s so hard to find sneakers.  Plus, I’m pretty sure these sneakers still work.

And yes, they wear weird.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I tend to keep my feet low to the ground and don’t really put my heel down.  I spend a lot of time in zero heel lift shoes/5-finger styles shoes, or similar shoes so I’m used to using my feet like they’re supposed to work… the side and ball of the foot catches the impact, instead of slamming the heel down and hoping your shoe cushions it.  That’s another reason I have trouble finding shoes.  And of course, I still actually (gasp!) run outside… on gravel and the side of the road.  So a lot of those shoes they sell with the foamy bottoms and stuff, well even if they are comfortable, they’re not exactly durable!  I promise you all, I am not eating my shoes, I just run differently in them, and although I try, on road stretches that are generally pretty well untrafficked, I’ll try to run along the right side, because running just on the one side/same side of the road (e.g. staying on the left side all the time, so the traffic only comes up behind on the other side of the road) trains the muscles and tendons in your legs etc. to be adapted to the contour of the road… which is generally sloped from center of the road to the edge so water runs off properly.  But, depending on where I run, the surface is different, so the leading edge of the shoe tends to wear more in some areas.

Yeppers, I’m a tad sore today (the day after) but I need to remember to stretch more properly afterwards.  I did at least walk around for a long time afterwards, because it’s totally a bad idea to just plop after a race if you’re able to keep moving.  But I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and have plans for other races in the next few months.

And for those of you who are thinking “Oh, I could never run that far” you don’t have to, but if you’re at all interested in getting into this sort of thing, here’s a few things to remember.  It’s not like high school, nobody is grading you, nobody cares what you’re wearing, if you fit into one of those tiny little pairs of leggings… nobody cares if you’re skinny or insulated or whatever.  In fact, the run crowd tends to be pretty darn supportive of anyone who gives it a go.  And you don’t have to run, there are a lot of races out there that welcome or even have a separate registration set for walkers… if you’re interested, give it a try.  Maybe I’ll see you one day on the course!

 

As for me, one day I’m hoping to hit the marathon in my home town, and if I have the time, I’d like to try something called ‘ultra running’ or ‘ultra marathons’ or similar… like going for reeeaaalllly long runs… and if that doesn’t feel fun, I’ll keep doing 5ks and 1/2sies, and marathons etc.

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