Monday, August 2, 2010

One last race in Virginia

     Saturday, July 24th, I finally got to meet Rich Walkden and his wife, Anne! They flew down from Vermont to run the Operation Homefront 5K on Fort Story, VA with me. On Friday, when they arrived in Norfolk, Rusty and I just happened to be at the airport picking up our rental car so we got to meet one day early, which was cool because it reassured everyone that none of us were axe murderers :-).

     Saturday morning I met them up at the Waffle House across the street from their hotel at 5:45, where Rich and Anne tanked up on coffee, and then we headed to the race start. Despite getting slightly lost because we were talking and not paying attention to where we were going, we managed to get to Fort Story in plenty of time to check in and warm up. There we met Sam, another barefoot runner, and headed off on a warm up. Again, chatter took over and we ran a brisk 2 mi. warm up before we knew it, oops, LOL.

     The race started at 7:30, which was a good thing because it was already stinking hot and sticky! I suggested an 8 mpm pace, thinking they guys might not want to run that slow, but they took me up on the offer and we joined the group at the race start. Anne is new to running so she placed herself further back. We probably should have taken off a little slower, but with a good warm up behind us, I thought keeping an even pace would be good. We were passing people fairly steadily when I heard, “Hey, I just got passed by a girl, in a pink skirt and bare feet!” I hollered back, “You also just got passed by a guy in a red skirt and bare feet!” which brought winded chuckles from the surrounding crowd. (Rich runs in a very cool sport kilt.)

     We sailed past the first water stop without partaking of the H20. I had a hand bottle and I think the guys thought they could just tough it out. About half a mile later, they were regretting it since we popped out of the shade and onto a very sunny loop. Somewhere on that loop we lost Sam. The heat had gotten him and he wasn’t doing well with the rough pavement. Apparently Sam is more accustomed to pristine asphalt :-). I thought it was a pretty choice course, but I’m used to a neighborhood with chip seal so apparently I’m a little tougher than I thought. While Sam tossed his cookies, Rich and I plodded on. Somewhere before the 2 mile water stop I lost Rich. I had been checking for him over my shoulder frequently, but as it got hot and I got more tired, I started focusing on my form and pace and the next time I looked back he was gone. Virginia Beach in the summer is a tad warmer than Vermont and the thermometer was on a steady march to “hot day in Hell” so Rich flagged and took a break.

      At about 2.5 miles I was a cooked goose. My heart rate was out of control so I decided to walk, catch my breath and let my pulse simmer down a bit. By the time I picked up the pace again, I had lost close to a minute and knew my goal time was history. I wasn’t too worried about it though. It was blazing hot and I had been sick all week on top of moving out of the house and into a hotel with only about 5 hours of sleep a night for the past week. Basically, anything below 30 minutes was going to be a victory. At the same time, I still wanted to do my best, and frankly the place medals looked pretty cool, LOL.

     I walked until I hit the shade again, and then picked up my feet for the final half mile. Fortunately, it was early enough that the pavement wasn’t hot or I would have turned that around and run the sunny part, walking in the shade. As hot as it was at not yet 8 am, the shade offered little difference in temperature, but it was enough to pop back to my pace and finish. They were calling out times as we crossed the line and I heard, “25:24!” WHOOT! I really didn’t care that the elusive “sub-25” slipped through my fingers once again. This race was about meeting friends and finding out just what I can do with a wicked head cold :-). Turns out, head colds don’t slow me down much! I even won the cool medal for 3rd place in the 40-49 age group! Rich finished not far behind me in 27:42, which I believe was a PR. Anne did great too, she was disappointed that she wasn’t able to run the whole way, but the heat really got to her too. She managed a good running finish though and was still ahead of several people in our age group, GO ANNE!

     We hung out for door prizes and Anne won a cool blown glass sculpture (which she then had to fit into her back pack for the trip home) and then waved good-bye to Sam before heading back to the Waffle House. We indulged in a hearty breakfast while talking each other’s ears off and then it was back to the airport for Rich and Anne.

     The whole day was a spectacularly good time. Rich and Anne are great people and we never ran out of things to talk about. It was the perfect break between the chaos of leaving one home and moving to another. I couldn’t have found a better way to spend the day!

1 comment:

C. Beth said...

Great race, Wendy! I think that's a fantastic time especially in that heat. I probably won't ever run a 5K that quickly! :)