Here it is, Thanksgiving, and the male 3/4 of Team WestEnders has gone to visit Husband's parents in South Carolina for the weekend. As for me, this year I decided--what with the extra-crazy-busyness of my Fall--that what I would be most grateful for right about now was some good old fashioned...downtime. "I'll just stay here and relax," I thought to myself. "No cooking, cleaning, laundry...it'll be like an honest-to-goodness...stay-cation!" BUT...then I saw a reminder for the upcoming Gobble and Gorge event, the last leg of the amusingly-named Tour de Carrboro (which is the town that conveniently lies 2 miles from my house, making it an easy choice for races).
We had all participated in the first part, "4 (miles) on the Fourth" (of July), and prudently opted to skip the second, a 10k that we deemed "too much distance for us". This last one tempted me, but there were several...factors...I needed to carefully consider before committing.
1. It was on Thanksgiving. Actually, though, this wasn't such a big deal, since I'd already determined that I'd be remaining in town...alone. Never mind, check that one right off.
2. 8 a.m.--NOT my favorite time to run. But...I've certainly done it before, so I can suck it up, right? Sure...check.
3. Late-November--even in our region, could potentially be quite chilly, which is also not my preferred conditions. However, this offered me the undeniable opportunity to go shopping for appropriate gear--specifically a pair of toasty exercise tights (preferably fuzzy on the inside--if I'm gonna be working hard, I should at least feel pampered while doing so, yeah?) that I could then use all Winter. When I found some at Dick's...for half-price...it seemed like the Running Gods were giving me a thumbs-up sign that this was meant to happen, so: check.
4. The distance itself...8k. Gulp. We typically do the 5k thing...and even though I regularly put in 4 miles or so on my own neighborhood jaunts, to the best of my knowledge I'd never run 5 continuous miles...for any reason whatsoever. Well...no time like the present, right? I mean, what's the worst that could happen, I don't finish? Hold on--I'm waaaay too stubborn for that. Okay, then, maybe I have to walk part of it. Eh, who cares? After all, just because they call it a "race", doesn't mean you're actually required to, you know, "compete", or anything wacky like that. So...let's do this thing! (Check.)
5. Finally, there was one rather large obstacle that I had to address--approximately a size 7-1/2, that is: my left foot. You might recall that I went to the podiatrist about a week and half ago, and (foolishly, in retrospect) allowed her to apply a noxious chemical to the persistent callouses that periodically become bothersome, one near where the ball and arch meet (the very spot that incidentally strikes the ground on my running stride, naturally), and one on the outside of the pinkie toe where it bumps a shoe when you walk.
Both of them are quite uncomfortable when they build up over time...but not nearly as torturous as the "treatment" turned out to be. Suffice it to say I had to attempt to get around for 2-3 days without putting any pressure on that foot..at all. Yeah, I was a pathetically gimpy sight, I tell ya. For several more days, footwear of any kind caused agony. When I finally attempted a "let's see how this goes" run last Sunday, it was extraordinarily slow...painful...and difficult. And yet...on Monday...after I'd made sure my foot didn't fall off from the trauma, and I could still move...even if "gingerly"...I went ahead and registered myself for the punishment--um "race". (Because yes, I AM Just. That. Bullheaded. Check?)
Alrighty, then. Armed with some fancy-schmancy insoles the doctor had recommended to try and prevent this from re-occurring...and feeling no small amount of trepidation...I made my way to the Starting Line. And was immediately buoyed by the festive atmosphere that always prevails at these gatherings. There's music, pre-race snacks if you want them, (alas, no matter how yummy they look, I can't put anything more than a banana in my stomach prior to running) and of course the inevitable costumes. I'm not kidding, besides the tutus that are so commonplace I've become accustomed to them by now (although these were admirably adorned with an array of harvest colors to perfectly suit the occasion), there were MULTIPLE people in knit turkey hats. And my personal favorite: a couple of bold folks (adults, mind you) sporting a headpiece made to resemble a stuffed slice of pumpkin pie...complete with a dollop of whipped cream. Utterly. Priceless.
Oh yeah, then there was the day's activity! Given the challenges I described, my goals for this little folly were ever-so modest. Specifically, in decreasing order of importance: A) complete the course; B) run the whole way, if possible; C) clock in at 50 minutes or less. And I've gotta admit, it was a loooong trek for me. But I kept chugging along (sometimes literally--danged hills!) and talked myself out of slowing down to a walk several times. (Honestly, I wasn't hurting at all, just TIRED...and it came down to the simple fact that I didn't want to walk in front of the other runners. Even though others were doing so, and I have nothing but respect and encouragement to offer them. Um...I might have a teensy bit of a...competitive streak....just sayin'...) It was super-tough, no doubt. but I hauled myself past the blessed Finish marker at 49 minutes according to my trusty GPS watch, having averaged 9:47 per mile. As far as I was concerned, this was a huge W-I-N!
Later when I checked the results online, I found out that I'd come in 844th overall, out of 1,461, and 58th out of 111 for my age group. So I'd have to conclude that by cleverly setting the bar so low, I definitely exceeded my expectations for the race! Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely certain that I need to run 5 miles again in my life...I suppose we'll see how I feel about it when Turkey Day rolls around again next year. For now, it's awesome to have recorded 13,000 steps before 10 a.m...and to have earned whatever the HECK I want to feast on for the rest of the holiday! Mmmm....bring on those post-workout carbs, baby!