Sunday, March 26, 2017

race recap : doc lopez run for health

The alarm on Saturday, March 18th came way. too. early.

For a weekday, 6:15am isn't too bad. On the weekend? It's just brutal. But that's where I found myself last Saturday. With a husband who's chronically late, a race an hour and a half away, and a caravan with my parents set for 7:30am, that wake up time was unfortunately, very necessary. 

The Doc Lopez Run for Health is held every year in Elizabethtown, New York (not Kentucky) right as winter is coming to an end. Four days before the race, Winter Storm Stella plowed through and dropped lots of snow up and down New York State. Albany got nearly two feet of it and Elizabethtown looked like it got more. Thankfully, the roads were clear and dry the morning of. I just wish the starting temp wasn't 13°F. 

That's freaking cold.

But there wasn't wind so I considered myself lucky. #smallvictories

The 5K course is a fairly easy out and back along Route 9 with only about 50 feet of elevation gain. My only wish is that the roads were closed so we could run on flat pavement and not the uneven shoulder. I mean, it's not like it would impede traffic that much. I think I remember all of four cars, MAYBE, during the time I was out there.

I didn't do or wear anything special for this race. I kept running everyday and stupidly did some fartlek running the day before. I wore the same thing I always do when it's cold outside: two sets of leggings, a long sleeve compression shirt, and my running jacket. Most of it being UA cold gear stuff. And I even ate the snack-sized trail mix from the swag bag as my breakfast that morning. Which, in hind sight, was not the best idea.

Going into the race I was very excited. Ryan had offered to pace it for me so I could shoot for a sub-thirty minute race. Although, with the temperatures as low as they were he cautioned that the day might not be the day for a PR.

photo by: Shawn Michener (2017)
At the race line, I gave my mom my phone, waved to both my parents, and the nerves settled in real hard. I had to pee (it was cold). I had to poop (I was nervous). I was freezing (it was 13° afterall).

At the whistle (yep, someone blew a whistle), we were off. My thoughts went something like this...

     ▪ Ryan's actually running with me!
     ▪ Are we going to PR today?
     ▪ I don't know if I can do it.
     ▪ But I'm keeping up with him...maybe I can?
     ▪ Holy crap, I thought going out there weren't any hills.
     ▪ What the eff was that little hill?
     ▪ Jesus Christ, I'm dying.
     ▪ "Ryan, please take these gloves."
     ▪ Yes, I can definitely keep this up without the gloves.
     ▪ "Ryan, can you please take the hat?"
     ▪ I'm sweating so bad.
     ▪ How fast am I running?
     ▪ Ryan tells me not to look at my watch.
     ▪ Damn, I'm running really fast.
     ▪ I'm still keeping up with him.
     ▪ Yes, one mile.
     ▪ There is no way I'm running this fast on the way back.
     ▪ Seriously? A truck driving down the middle of the road?
     ▪ Picture time! Smile!
     ▪ Almost halfway.
     ▪ "No water, thank you."
     ▪ Why am I so tired?
     ▪ My legs feel like lead.
     ▪ Thank you Mr. State Police.
     ▪ JFC there's no way I'm breaking thirty.
     ▪ Nope, just lost him.
     ▪ He's such a trooper.
     ▪ I suck at running.
     ▪ No, don't cry, just keep running.
     ▪ I want to walk.
     ▪ No walking, just keep running.
     ▪ Picture time, again? Try to smile!
     ▪ Definitely not catching Ryan.
     ▪ Oh look, a senior citizen is passing me.
     ▪ "No, no water, thank you."
     ▪ He's stopping?
     ▪ He's stopping.
     ▪ He's waiting for me?
     ▪ No crying. No crying. Just running.
     ▪ "Yep, let's just finish this."
     ▪ He waited to finish the race with me.
     ▪ He's so good.
     ▪ Okay, downhill then last hill, run it.
     ▪ Last hill, last hill.
     ▪ Short, quick steps.
     ▪ Big steps, muscle through.
     ▪ Okay, just a little slow run to catch your breath.
     ▪ Be strong, stay strong.
     ▪ I should've eaten some chocolate.
     ▪ Smile for dad!
     ▪ Sweet relief, I see the finish line.
     ▪ Oh God, don't die.
     ▪ Smile for mom!
     ▪ YES. I DID IT.

And then after a time of 32:20.71, I collapsed into a snow bank with my medal, bottle of water, and a box of chocolate milk.

I was disappointed in my performance considering I PRed the course last year with a 30:47 and really wanted another good performance. But not every race is a PR race. Especially when you have your head up your ass.

I can't say enough about the event coordinators, Susie and Christine. They really pull together a great event and put together awesome swag bags. They never do the t-shirt thing, instead doing branded items like gloves (last year) or multi-use head scarf (this year). I also get pretty pumped for that Ben & Jerry's coupon. Seeing Gatherer's in there this year was also pretty cool, with it made in Schenectady and all.

But overall, a great race with beautiful scenery. I mean, what's not to like about the North Country? I'll be signing up again next year. Hopefully running it without the jitters though.

Until the next race recap, peace out, lifers.

- Allison Rae

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