Monday, May 14, 2007

In December of 2006 my family moved to Maryland from Florida. My husband received a promotion so off we went. Unfortunately our home in FL has yet to sell! Anyone interested, let me know!
I had to get used to the colder weather running quick and actually felt very invigorated by the cooler temps. It was really nice not to have the sun beating down on you and sweat stinging your eyes constantly. I also had to get accustomed to the hills. But, like the weather, I found ways to make the experience a positive one.
I set off to familiarize myself with local groups, stores and races. I decided my first local race would be the Cherry Pit 10 Miler in Edgewater, MD. It was scheduled for April 1st. I trained solidly for this race and the week prior to the event my lung collapsed for the fourth time. I did what I would never recommend, and that was nothing. I had not established myself with a pulmonologist here and wasn't even sure where the ER was. I monitored myself and could tell from the past experiences that it felt about the same in severity. All week I was wiped out and any hope I had of mustering some strength to run the 10 miler was gone. I was pretty upset and immediately began looking for some race, anything, so at least my training wouldn't be a total waste.
April 21st I jumped into the Earth Day 5k at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. It was a sunny but chilly morning and I had zero expectations since it has been a few months since I had done any racing. The course had some short rolling hills and winded through the paved trails in the wooded park. Very pretty. The biggest hill actually came about 400 meters into the race and surprised my legs a bit. But I went out easy knowing it was there.
The 5k was a small race, a couple hundred folks I would guess. A group of kids shot off like they were on fire when the race started. I caught all of those boys, except one. He may be the runner in that mix. Well, after the first half mile I found myself within eye sight of the lead women. I was in about 5th place. I easily caught the next two ladies and kept the lead two close. I started thinking that perhaps I could win this race. During the second mile I decided to pass the lady in second place. She didn't give me much of a fight. Stayed with me for a bit and started to drop off. Hmmm... could I catch the woman in first?
I told myself I probably could if I play the game right. Wait to pass her. So, I held back until I was about half a mile from the finish and I passed with confidence, even though I was starting to tire. She tried to hang, but after a short attempt receded. I was kind of shocked at how easy it was. Now I run with fear to the finish line. Scared someone will suddenly come up from behind and steal the race. But, that doesn't happen and I come in with a nice gap between me and the next woman.
My time was 22:38. For me, at this juncture, is satisfying. It is not close to what I was once capable of, but I am thrilled with winning (it's only the second time I have won a road race). Considering the move, lung collapses, etc.. I am pleased.
May 6th was my next planned race, the Governor's Bay Bridge 10k run. This is one of the area's largest events with tens of thousands of people showing up for the run or the walk across the Bay Bridge. It's a point to point, starting on Kent Island and finishing in Sandy Point State Park. I got up before 5 am to make it there in time to pick up my packet and get on the bus that would take us to the start. It was very windy and chilly that morning. In fact, windy doesn't adequately describe how breezy it was. It was blow-your-hat-off kind of wind. It was sand-blowing-and-stinging-your-skin kind of wind. It was not comfortable and people started mumbling that the race may get canceled.
As I sat on the bus, next to an older runner, helping him get his chip on his shoe, the bus driver came in and said the winds on the bridge were too strong and the race was canceled. I was on one of probably a couple hundred buses, all full with runners. This started a mix of mass exodus and then those of us who wanted to know if an alternate course (as stated on the site) would be run.
Well, after much confusion, it was confirmed that a race would be run in the park. First it was a 4 miler, that became a 5k, that actually officially measured out to be 2.93 miles. Whew! It was a mess but I tell you, some really neat people stuck it out. The real runners! :)
During all the confusion I went exploring and put in a good 3 miles. I was very warmed up when the race started at 8am. The wind was bad on the roads, but when we ducked into the woods it was calm. The park really is a nice place to run. My plan was just to have fun and enjoy it as much as I could and give a decent effort. I finished 5th female overall, 2nd in age group with a time of 21:55. I then ran an easy mile to cooldown and counted the day as a nice 7 miler.
I have to give my thanks to the people who volunteered and organized this race. I know it was as much a disappointment to them as it was to the runners.