Saturday, April 4, 2015

Historic McKinney Kiwanis Triathlon Race Report: Run

The exciting thing about the 5k course was that the first mile started on my usual trail and literally ran down my street and past my house. I took advantage of the porta-potty at the construction site across the street from my house, knowing from experience that a short pit stop could only improve my end time. My roommate was in the garage and waved as I passed. I briefly considered walking inside for a nap.

I shouldn’t have needed to pee. I needed electrolytes. The aid station only had water. I thought about the weather and the distance and figured I’d survive, but it wasn’t pleasant.

My legs didn’t seem to suffer the feelings described by other athletes as jelly or heavy. I was just so tired! I incorporated a lot of short jog/walk intervals, because all I wanted to do was walk the whole thing. But I had a time goal to meet. I didn’t know my exact swim start time, but it looked like I had about 42 minutes to finish the run. I didn’t feel like I could make that pace. I felt like molasses, like a 16+ minute mile. But I wouldn’t know until the end, so I just kept on, pushing the walks as short as I could stand to.

Around 1.5 miles, I first saw two runners behind me. Then I trudged slowly up the one big hill and told the volunteers at the aid station at the top how very happy I was to see them. One runner passed me around mile 2 and I gave him a high five. The other passed in the last half mile. I almost always “sprint” the last stretch in a race, but I had nothing left to give beyond my current pace. I asked a volunteer to point out where exactly the finish line was and was heartened to see it.

I ran to the finish, saw that the clock read 02:28 as I approached, and realized I might have actually made my 2-hour goal. I was given a finisher’s medal, water, and snack. I waited to see the friend finish, hoping to cheer her on. And waited. And waited. I had seen her bike still on the rack but not her gear. After a half hour or so, I was beginning to worry about my own post-race refueling, checking my phone, and wondering how long I should wait. When I checked again, her bike was gone. I’d been wandering the small festival area and hadn’t found her and had no missed calls or messages, so I decided to pack up and ride home.

But I couldn’t ride straight home because that was the run course for the kids triathlon immediately following the adults. I resolved to go the long way around; it was only a mile. Ouch, it hurt to sit. Luckily, I found a road that cut through and saved me a hill. I warmed up some burritos and watched some of A Knight’s Tale.
Fed, I wondered about my friend and how I’d missed seeing her at the end.

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