Usually I write some feel-good post on New Years about everything I've accomplished and everything I'm hoping to accomplish in the prior and future year. Well, not this year! 2012 was pretty darn good, but also with lots of bumps. Since this is a running blog and all, I think it's time to throw it out there that I'm ready to KICK SOME BUTT! It seems, friends, that whether or not I wanted to admit it, that little bomb marathon in Wisconsin stole my running mojo.
And this past weekend, without even planning to, I stole it back.
I've been pretty sick with that lame-o bronchitis, and was not expecting much, racing wise. My leg of the relay was only 4.8, and the goal was to run it at tempo pace. I'll be honest when I say that our team wanted to WIN, and there was no other goal. However, I was the weakest link, also the only female. Not putting myself down, but I WAS the slowest one. The relay had 76 teams, and gender did not matter- one winner, regardless of who you are. Hard core! I was traveling back into town and missed the safety meeting the day before. Apparently, some speedy high schoolers were looking at the roster of teams and noticing the teams that had the last starting time. (Teams are assigned staggered start in hopes for everyone finishing together.) We were in the last wave, along with them. Clearly, they thought they had the whole relay in the bag. I think some comments were made about some of our teammates being old and having a "girl" on it. And then it was ON!
Race day brought us 20 mph winds, YIKES! We had our fastest two guys doing the longest legs, 1 & 2. We got started and within the first leg, the high school team made a THREE minute gain on us. It didn't look promising. Our 2nd guy made a little ground, but we were still in 3rd place and about two minutes from the high school team, and who knows form the other team. (They had sandbagged their times, and had started in an earlier wave.) Our third guy made some serious ground and came in less than a minute behind the high school team. TP passed the high school team during his leg, putting us in the lead. And then it was my turn.
My job was to stay ahead of the high schoolers. Yikes! I had only a 30 sec. lead when starting. Our fastest guy had only averaged 6:25 on his 8 mile leg, proof of how bad the wind worked against us. His advice to me was to start off easy, and work WITH the wind and bridges. My leg was on the interstate, yep, I-85...
I didn't dare look back. I was afraid of going out too hard and losing it early. I knew the wind would be coming in gusts, and the best strategy would be to push hard during wind break, and relaxing a bit during the gust, same for the bridges and overpasses. I hit the first mile in 6:29. It felt hard. I didn't dare look back, but ran with fear the entire time. I was able to work the 2nd mile down to 6:15 and started feeling strong. The team drove by in the van, but I couldn't hear what they were yelling. At Mile 3, I threw my gloves off at them. I still was ahead of high school boy, but I had no idea by how much. Mile 3 was 6:19, and I saw a HUGE overpass approaching. I literally thought I was about to get blown off. My pace went up to 6:45 and I thought the guy was about to catch me. After that final overpass, I was able to work it back down to 6:19s. At that point I was approaching the hand-off, and I could HEAR him behind me. Yep, I was about to get passed. At the final moment before the hand-off, he came tearing past me.
I was so disappointed, yet my team was going WILD. WTH? It seems the guy that caught and passed me in the final seconds wasn't from the high school team. I had increased our gap on the high school team to nearly 2 minutes- BOOM! A few moments later, the thin high schooler crossed the line and walked straight over to me. He offered me his hand and said, "Mam, you're an animal, mam." His friends were hysterical. There were comments about "couldn't catch the lady in the skirt"... "She even has on pink shoes..." and what-not. And I was a hero among my team. And my splits? My average for placed me in 4th out our 6 teammates. Not too shabby, FOR A GIRL. ;)
The guy that had actually passed me in the final few seconds said he threw down a 5:50 last mile to catch me. And my teammates couldn't quit talking about how I had "gapped" the high school team. And that, friends, is how I got my mojo back.
I'm ready to be fierce again. It's time to forget stupid Wisconsin, train like a beast, and kick butt like a GIRL!
Run Happy, Run Hard, Run FIERCE! Bring it, 2013!