Thursday, September 20, 2012

The 2012 Tour Des Fleurs 10k/20k

As you may recall, a little over a month ago, I re-embarked on a Couch-to-5k program that would get me ready for the Great Taco Run. Well, what better way to train for a 5k than by running a 10k?

What's that, you say? Running a 10k as part of my training for a 5k is a dumb plan? Well, I couldn't agree more... but I did it anyway! How could I pass up an opportunity to race on a lake-side course through an arboretum?! Can you imagine a prettier run?! More importantly, I got to register for free because my company is a corporate sponsor of the Arboretum! It really was a no-brainer. Obviously, I just had to sign up for the annual Tour Des Fleurs!

I knew that I wouldn't be able to run the whole thing, so rather than push myself too hard, I just used the race as further motivation to keep up with my fitness/training regimen.

Which is different from a fitness regiment, as pictured here
(and discussed in this article).
On the night before, however, I felt that it was crucial to prepare as best as I could:
First, I drank lot of soda. Then, I helped my sister make cookies. I then ate a large steak, as most athletes do, and followed it up
with a bunch of birthday sweets (for my brother-in-law's birthday). After dinner, I went home and began assembling a playlist to listen to during
the race, and did some hard core research on running 10k races. What kind of research? Well, I watched the episode of the New Girl where Zooey Deschanel ran a 10k, then the episode of Up All Night where they all ran a 10k, and because I wasn't finished assembling my playlist, ended the evening watching the race episode of the New Girl again. 

After that, I was terrified that my race would be like this...

Maya Rudolph and Megan Mullaly seem so unhappy.
Up All Night
or worse, like this...

Being dragged across a finish line while I shout "MY SHOES
ARE FILLED WITH BLOOD" is unfortunately the only way I
could probably have anything in common with Zooey Deschanel
... other than the bangs, of course.
The New Girl
Despite my nerves, I actually got a pretty good night's sleep (like, at least five hours or something), woke up early, and made it to the race with plenty of time to spare. There, I met up with my co-worker, Robert, and headed towards the starting line.

Because Robert is a much more experienced runner than I am, he was giving me some of the tips that he uses during races (pace myself, listen to music, hydrate, etc.). Then, we started talking about our goals for the race. His goal was to beat his time from last year. My goal was to not cry. Well, that's what I said, at least. My real goals were to run at least two of the miles (which is what Maddy and I did at my most successful race - the Hot Chocolate Run) and to finish in less than an hour and a half. 

After turning on my brand spankin' new playlist (which is pretty fantastic and includes such hits as "Josie and the Pussycats" by Josie and the Pussycats and "Snakes on a Plane" by Cobra Starship) and stashing my phone in my fanny pack (I'm pretty cool), I counted down with everyone else and started running.

As I crossed the start line and passed the drum-line from a nearby high school's marching band, I already felt tired and was just certain that this run was going to be terrible, but after a few minutes, everything got easier (maybe warming up actually is important)! I kept running, right past a trio that had set up and was playing music for us, with an aim of running the first mile without stopping. As I approached the mile marker, I realized that I still felt pretty great and decided to keep running. Before I knew it, I had run the first two miles without stopping (I'm kidding, I was painfully aware of how far I'd run without stopping the entire time -
but I did get two miles before slowing to a walk). Once I saw that Mile 2 marker, nothing could keep a smile off my face. I decided right then that even if I ended up not being able to run another step and had to crawl across the finish line, I would call this race a success.

I recovered pretty quickly while I was walking, but I didn't want to push myself too much, so I decided to walk the rest of the third mile. While doing that, I took the opportunity to live-tweet my progress (but since I don't actually have a Twitter account, this involved just texting Hannah), and took some blurry pictures with my phone!

Here are a bunch of runners ahead of me!
And here are the runners that were so far ahead of me that
they were already looping back!
I was very impressed with this lady who was participating
in an athletic wheel-chair. She must have arms of steel!
Her friend's mobile elliptical bike was pretty cool, too.

Then we hit this... why there is a traffic jam in the middle of
a 10k course, I have absolutely no idea.

Anyway, I had decided to start running again at the fourth mile, which, to my utter dismay, started halfway up a terribly steep hill. Once again, when I started running, it was very difficult. I didn't think I'd be able to go much farther before slowing to a walk, but much like at the beginning of the race, I was fine after a few minutes. So fine, in fact, that when I hit the start of the fifth mile (where I had planned on slowing to a walk again), I kept running and didn't slow down for another mile! That's four miles of running so far that day!

I will admit, though, that I was running at a very slow pace (roughly 12.5 minutes/mile), which meant that anyone who was running at all could pass me. Some people even went so far as to pass me at least ten times. It's actually kind of funny, Robert had told me that morning that one of his tricks it to pick someone out in the crowd and make it his goal to pass them. If he then slowed his pace and his target passed him back, he would redouble his efforts. I'm pretty sure that is what this one girl was doing to me, because it seemed like she was always either walking or passing me for about a mile and a half of the race. Don't worry, in the end, I finished ahead of her (maybe... I don't actually know).

I slowed to a walk again at mile 6. After recovering a bit, I heard music ahead through the trees. "It must be the finish line music," I thought to myself as I sped up to a run. Unfortunately, much like at the Firefly Run, I was tricked into thinking it was the home stretch. The music I heard was only that trio that I mentioned earlier playing a cover of the Kinks! But oh well, even though the finish line was considerably farther away than I had thought it was, I kept running until the end. Eventually, I reached the real finish line in under an hour and a half! And up the hill to the after party I went.

And what an after party it was! It'll never cease to amaze me how much unhealthy food they cram into fitness-themed after parties. I decided to partake in a complementary slice of pizza from the Pizza Hut booth...

This is what fitness looks like.
... and some froyo from the I Heart Yogurt tent.

The Arboretum is featuring a Chihuly exhibit
for a few months!
I then pocketed (or fanny-packed) a chocolate-chip cookie from Tiff's Treats, decided to forego the apples and bananas, and left to meet up with my friend Mark for a post-race brunch!

The Results: Way better than I expected!

Total Race Time - 1:28:21
Place - 1268 out of 1393 (top 91.03%)
Total Time Spent Running - 1 hour and 2 minutes (previous record - 30 minutes)
Longest Time spent Running Continuously - 25 minutes (previous record - 15 minutes)
Total Distance Run - roughly 4.5 miles (previous record - 2 miles)
Farthest distance run continuously - 2 miles (previous record - just over 1 mile)

I may have come in the bottom 10%, but I'm pretty excited that I almost doubled all of my previous records for running.

The Aftermath:
Oh gee whiz! I was extremely sore Saturday evening (poor Teddy Westside had to deal with me complaining a lot)... then I slept most of Sunday! But all in all, I'm no worse for the wear, a little more prepared for my upcoming 5k.

Are you ever surprised by the sheer amount of junk food at fitness events? What do you do to prepare for races? Do you like my very stylish fanny-pack?

1 comment:

  1. I love the fanny pack! Not as much as I love your prep routine! If I'd have known that's what it took to get ready to run, I'd have been a marathoner my whole life. :-D