Okay, look people, I don’t have a lot of time to fire this one off. In 17 hours, I have to be down on West End in Nashville preparing to run a half mary carrying a 40-yard dragon. Between now and then, I have some seriously important chores to finish including scrubbing some bathroom tile, vacuuming one of our cats, and possibly coloring my hair, though I’m in vanity limbo as to whether I should just let it go white (I bypassed grey and went straight to, “Oh dear, look at that old hag!”) or continue pretending. Opinions are welcome, but cheerfully ignored.
Anyway, I thought I’d do something “fun” and “different” this month, and run 4 races in four weekends. I know some of you crazy kids are out there are saying, “Big whoop, granny!” but I haven’t even run 2 races in a row since I ran Boston in ’08 followed by the Country Music Half Marion 5 days later. That was kind of miserable, so I thought I should certainly do something akin to that again. Of course, this string of races doesn’t include a marathon since, as we all know, marathons are stupid.
So 2 weeks ago, I ran a 10K. I like to stomp around and announce that 10Ks are my favorite distance, and then I only run one every 2-3 years. But, really, I do like 6.2 miles. It’s short enough that you never reach the Why Oh Why Am I Doing This? phase, but long enough that you can calm down a tad and maybe find a rhythm unlike (for me, anyway) in the manic fear and loathing explosion of a 5K.
That being said, I went out in an utterly ridiculously too-fast first mile. Or, rather, I should say an “udderly” fast first mile since this race is called the Dairy Dash and features a lot of cow-oriented stuff. HA HA HA HA!! Ahem. So, there I was running my first mile in 5K pace and panicking all the way to mile 3 where I calmed the fuck down. At that point there was a mile or more of out and back wherein everyone passes each other going in opposite directions.
I kind of like that in races and kind of hate it.
It’s always great to cheer and be cheered (well, “cheer” is a bit of a misrepresentation. It’s more like breathless rasping. Or, perhaps, half-uttered [uddered!] inarticulate gasps of goodwill). However, invariably, someone gives you confounding information or orders that you wish you hadn’t received. I got both “YOU CAN CATCH HER!” and “20 YARDS AHEAD!”
What?? There were at least 15 women ahead of me and 3 over 40. Catch who? Twenty yards to what? A mile marker? A martini lounge? A talking grandfather clock? What? This perplexed me until mile five. I felt oddly guilty for not catching some random stranger and for not enjoying that nebulous point 20 yards ahead of me a half mile back.
But then I was in the final mile and feeling pretty good in spite of my shameful start. I hadn’t run a race over 5K in nearly a year, so I decided not to be too hard on myself for automatically going into 5K mode at the sound of a gun. So, the finish line came around the corner and I saw some dude dressed up as a huge cow which oddly inspired me to pick it up for the finish which is a true rarity in races for me anymore. Generally, I’m more in the mindset of There’s the Stupid Finish, and I just want to get it over with. But this was actually exciting. A loud crowd, a decent time, and a cow standing on its hind legs clapping.
Yay 10Ks! I even won a cowbell for being 2nd GrannyMasters. A COWBELL. Don’t even try to deny your jealousy.
Last weekend wasn’t as jolly. It was a 5K that Cheryl and I run every year. It’s always small, and in the past I’ve come in 2nd (to Cheryl!) and 3rd before, but this year it was seriously small (maybe 70 people), and I won it. I know, I know. I should be thrilled beyond wearing pants to have won a race, but the overall experience was just kind of depressing. The race was pretty much treated as an afterthought by the organization that was using it as a fundraiser. It was totally thrown together this year at the last minute…No mile markers, no chip timing, a mis-measured course, and no awards. I still don’t even know what my actual time was, because that was effed up too. I won. Yay.
After the race, I made a comment on a message board of imaginary friends who discuss semi-imaginary races and assign imaginary awards about the fact that I was tired of 5Ks being “glorified bake sales.” This seemed to translate as me complaining about winning a cake at this race (?), but what I meant was that 5Ks, in particular, are the new bake sales. The race itself, fairly often, is waaay secondary to the fundraising efforts. It’s a moderately stale cupcake that you should be happy about eating because you helped a cause.
Don’t get me wrong. The race last weekend was for a cause that’s important to me, but I wish the organization could fathom that the bake sale with homemade baklava is going to raise more $$ than the one with a bag of month-old Chips Ahoy. If a 5K race is the treat you use to raise funds, at the very least, present a decent and well-baked 5K race. Geez.
Well, then. That leads us to this weekend where I’ll be, yet again, amidst the 30,000 (shit) people “running” the Country Music Parade. I mean Marathon and Half Mary. This year, I’m in the mindset of If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!! That’s why I’ll be traipsing along at an 11:00-minute pace looking like this:
“Have you no shame, Tanya?” you ask. No, apparently not.
And then next weekend, another goal 5K. There are some Top Secret plans in place for this race, possibly including an important and helpful appearance by a local living legend who is, impossibly, both cryptic and forthcoming.
Curious about the outcome of me hauling a dragon across hell’s half acre? Wondering WTF that last paragraph was even supposed to mean? Stay tuned, then, for more stuff about ME.
(And, yes, I vacuum one of our cats. He likes it.)