Race Superlatives

5 Apr

Jamie from From Couch to Ironwoman  recently did a post about race superlatives.  I LOVED the idea, so I stole it. 

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Eric and I race a lot.  We’ve really cut back a lot, and I think it has improved my racing tremendously.  Having just a few key races to focus on during my training has really allowed me to hone certain skills needed to set PRs in pretty much every race I run.  It doesn’t hurt that I started from the very bottom of the barrel and have been steadily working my way up (or should I say down in times??). 

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In any event, without further ado, here are my race superlatives!

Most Fun Race

Muddy Buddy

When Eric told me he won a free entry into a duathalon adventure race where one person biked and the other ran for a mile, then completed an obstacle and switched jobs, and continued leapfrogging and switching for 6 miles, my first thought was “who is going to do this with you?”  Thus begun my intro into bike-riding (I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a kid prior to this).  We biked to the beach for ice cream and home, I did several bike-a-mile-run-a-mile-bike-run stints, and we tried hills in the park once (I think this is when Eric knew he was in for it).  I ended up walking a good deal of the ski mountain (I’m not kidding), particularly when it was my turn to bike.  But the obstacles were SUPER fun and crawling through a pit of mud and then hosing each other off at the finish was one of the most fun experiences ever. 

Honorable mention to the GVH Mudslog, which was also amazingly amazing, but not my first “adventure” race, so I picked Muddy Buddy.

Most Difficult Race

Dirt Cheap Stage Race

This race was a couple of weeks after my first marathon.  And it’s not 1 race.  It’s 3 trail races at Mendon Ponds Park, which is a relatively hilly, technical trail system.  Saturday morning, a 3 miler; Saturday afternoon, a 5 mile time trial; Sunday morning, an 11 miler.  I wanted nothing to do with this (still early on in my trail running days and right after my first marathon), but Eric promised if I ran the 2 shorter runs on Saturday, he would do the entire 11 miles with me.  I said ok and by the end of the day Saturday, I wished I’d said no.  I had read that sometimes elite marathoners will count their steps to distract themselves from pain/fatigue, and I’d used it as a strategy in marathon training/racing, so I tried it on Sunday.  Somehow that morphed into the f-bomb every time my right foot touched the ground, all the way up an agonizingly long, slow hill.  Eric asked what I was doing and I think I probably told him to shut up.  After we finished, I told him this race was just preparation for when we someday have kids and I’m in the throes of labor.  I didn’t know if anything could compare to the exhiliration/sense of accomplishment of Corning, but that day, after Sunday’s run, I felt like the most badass woman on the face of the planet.  Also the smelliest.  It was a good feeling.  Especially after I showered.

Most Scenic Race

 Any trail race

The first few times I ran trails, I was miserable.  I still get frustrated on the trails, but I really love them for the beauty.  We are facetious sometimes about trail church on Sundays, but it’s got a grain of truth to it.  I’ve never felt more spiritual than I have when I’m out on a trail, running, wind through my hair.  It’s the best feeling in the world, and my legs feel so much better after a trail run than after a road run. 

Most Boring Race

Johnny’s Runnin o’ the Green

For some reason, this run bored me.  It’s an out-and-back, so I think that’s probably part of the problem.  It’s been a while since I ran this (the past 2 years, we’ve done Buffalo’s Shamrock Run instead), but I am not sad that we are missing this one for Shamrock Run (which is SUPER fun).

**I can’t even find any pictures from this one.  To be fair, I wear the T-shirt from this race ALL THE TIME.  I keep looking at it to eliminate it from my T-shirt stash, but I can’t bring myself to toss it.

Most Nostalgic Race

Corning Wineglass Marathon

There’s always going to be a special place in my heart for my first marathon.  Really, race day is important, but the race day is just the culmination of the hardest training I’ve ever done for anything.  The pride doesn’t come from just running 26.2–don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome.  But the training miles/hours that go into getting through 26.2 are way more important in so many ways. 

The morning of the race, it was cold and rainy and the weather couldn’t have been more miserable.  I ran the first half in a PR and excitedly began dreaming of a 4 hour marathon finish.  By mile 16, I knew there was no way I would come close to even 4 hours.  My skittles (race food of choice) had frozen and I had to keep taking my gloves off to get them out and try to eat them.  The gloves, however, were soaked, and I kept putting them back on anyway (clearly my mind was not working right) til I finally dropped one on accident.  I picked it up and it dawned on me that my hands were warmer WITHOUT the stupid gloves.  I then carried them a little ways, feeling bad about littering, but eventually got over it and just tossed ’em. 

By mile 23, I hit a water stop with no water left in any of my bottles on my belt.  I took one off and clumsily unscrewed the top and handed it to a guy who took it and filled it and handed it back.  I could not get the lid on.  He watched me struggle, then took it and did it for me.  I just stared at him.  I must’ve been a sight.  Finally he said, “Do you need me to put this back on your belt for you?”  I just nodded.  He did.  I swear he was an angel.  I came around the final turn and had about a quarter mile to go.  Some guy was taking pictures.  I wanted to break his camera, but knew I couldn’t run away from him if I did that, so I just let him take yucky pictures of me.  I crossed the finish and found Eric and he hugged me and said “How does it feel to be a marathoner?”  I sobbed “It hurts so fucking bad.”  And then I laughed and we walked away into the sunset in our matching space blankets. 

[Side note: I couldn’t walk for 2 days after almost at all and for a week after I was hurting.  I am thoroughly hoping this time around I am a little less sore, but I am anticipating a miserable 2 days post-race.  Luckily, the new season of Arrested Development hits Netflix that weekend, so I can spend a lot of time on the couch being miserable but laughing.  haha.]
Best Post-Race Party

Boilermaker 15K

I don’t need to say anything other than at the end of the race, there is a huge concert and tons of beer trucks passing out as much free beer as you can drink.  It.  Was.  Awesome.   I’ve always said I don’t think I’d like a big race (too much commotion), but this was amazing.

Best “Feeling of Accomplishment” Race

Corning Wineglass and/or Dirt Cheap Stage Race

I’ve talked about both of these already.  The runner’s high from both was amazing. 

Best Time at a Race When Not Racing 

Segahunda Trail Marathon

Eric and I spent the day driving around and cheering on our friends from #TrailsRoc.  I was so inspired by their commitment and total badass-ness.  I ran almost 20 miles the weekend of the Dirt Cheap Stage Race and thought I was tough.  They did 26.2, all at once, on SUPER hard trails.  The energy and inspiration I got that day was indescribable.  🙂

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