Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Amazing Race

     Well, I have to admit it.  Out loud.  This running thing is really addicting!  I went to Albany this weekend to run the Freihofer's Race for Women.  My cousin and best friend have previously run this race and I knew it was a good one.  It's an all women event, where about 5000 of us took off yesterday to race through the streets of the Capital, and beautiful Washington Park.  There were some stellar "elite" women there including last year's female Boilermaker winner and Emily Chebet from Kenya who came back to win again. To be even starting a race in the presence of women like that I was inspired.
      The race activities began the night before with a packet pick up at the Convention Center and health expo!  I wasn't into having my fat analyzed, but I bought some nice running goodies!  A really cool head band/sweat catcher from a small business called "Hippe Runner", and also a little running fanny pack of sorts to put my phone, a key, and to hang my bib from.  Since I chafed my arm up with my arm band phone holder, this was genius! And a shout out to the Lara Bar people for all the free samples.
    We streatched well the morning of and took a walk to get warmed up, but the day had already started to heat up on it's own.  My weather app said it was going to be near 90.  We were sweaty just walking.  After a light breakfast of Lara bars, and some water, we headed out for down town Albany.  Security was strict as we made our way down to the course and lined up by times.  I was purple, in a field of runners allegedly my pace.  Being OCD, I lined up early, but was pushed and shoved by rude people trying to get near the front of my pack.  I planted my feet and stood my ground.  It was a sea of runners for sure.  I saw runners of all body types and didn't feel so self aware of my own body type.
      I knew we wouldn't be running at first, but I anticipated a jog by the time we got up the hill and thinned out.  We walked the first 800 yards or so just trying to weed out, but I was quickly frustrated by the people that clearly had no intention of running, they were walking from the start, even when we thinned out.  We were still running shoulder to shoulder when we entered Washington Park, and there were spectators everywhere.  By the first mile, it was clear this was a scorcher.  The first water table ran out of water and I had to wait a bit for some, but I knew I needed it.  I already saw people down on the ground with heat issues.  There were many walking by mile marker one and many that just walked the whole thing, so it was hard to get a good pace/time going because I had to navigate around all the walkers. It was kind of a good feeling though.  I was the one still running!  I ran till mile 2, got my water, then we left the park and hit open hot city blacktop.  I almost couldn't breath and knew I needed to walk so I could finish decent.  I walked about a block, then got back to work!  My cousin had told me the lay of the land and I knew we were cruising into a downhill finish.  Between the hill, the crowd, the person with the " Random Girl You are a Rock Star" sign, I was pumped up to finish.  I was also dying of heat and wanted to get it over.
          I cruised down the hill into the finish area and was elated to be passing so may people with green bibs.  They were people with better race times that started in front of me.  Go me! Slow and steady finishes the race.  I skipped the fire truck cool down ( really, a blast of water if you wanted it), to go find my daughter.  I was worried about her in the heat.  I found her struggling on the sidewalk, slightly dehydrated.  She said she threw up but finished!  That's my girl.  Even in the heat, throwing up, she finished in 30 min, behind 1200 people but ahead of 3000 other women! We all finished well, and I am proud of us.  It was horribly hot and packed.  Hard to get a personal best, but a great race none the less.  There was a party like atmosphere on the concourse, by the water fountains. We were treated to some nice healthy after race food and just enjoyed hanging out with 5000 other women who really just wanted what we wanted.  To run, to have fun, and to just finish.  It was an amazing race.


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