RMRR Trophy Series – 5 Mile: 00:59:01 … :) May 4, 2008

11 05 2008

(Sorry for this being so late … had some stuff I had to take care of)

Third Race in Three Weeks … this is NUTS! Ok – so my sanity has probably always been in question!

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do and part of me didn’t really want to go – but I had it shoved onto my race schedule, Alicia was driving and, most importantly, I was bringing the coffee! I kind of have a clue as to how a race is going to go by my night before, but this was a nightmare! I’d been working on this paper for school and my house a *complete* disaster to the point that when Alicia came to get me, I was still looking for my socks! We got over to the Starbucks across the street and they hadn’t told the ladies that I’d moved the pick-up time from 7:30 to 7:00 … so they were jumping through to get two travellers ready … but gave both of us free coffees with soy milk. Ok – go-go juice!

We got in the car and although Alicia (in the photo with yellow jacket and purple sweats) had printed out the directions to where the race was to be, they made no sense to me! I’d hoped to have gotten out to the old Stapleton Airport to check out the 5 mile course, but time got away from me. My personal anxiety level kept increasing as we were going deeper into the new condos and buildings. We weren’t sure where we were going until the new tall flags for the club caught my eye … they’re yellow and flapping in the middle of new developments! Ok … start breathing again Shep!

The Road RunnersStartare really a nice group of folks. After a couple of years of volunteering and this year starting to race I’m starting to feel more comfortable. Alicia was one of the first people to befriend me at one of the first monthly races I volunteerd at and she’s been a rather huge advocate of my racing … I’d say she’s got her foot in my butt – but she’s shorter than me, so she just pushes! We parked, Mick came over to say hey and was roped into carrying coffee duty and off we went. Going to the picnic area, I was waylaid by Tom. He’s a really wonderful friend who starts off everyone and works the end with Rosalie. He and Rosalie have been in the club for forever and are the best of pals … roughly in the same age bracket. I’ve not seen Rosalie much because her aging Mom (94!!) was having problems in New York. The last Tom and I knew, Rosalie was getting Mom and moving her out here. Tom had a look of concern on his normally relatively impassive face. “Lis – did you hear from Rosalie? Her Mom …” I’d not … in fact at the Sneak the previous weekend we’d both been concerned that we’d not heard anything. I decided I’d text her after this race if Tom hadn’t heard anything. Well … sadly … he had. To make a long story short, her Mom had taken a turn for the worst and was in hospice on the last legs. Tom promised to show me the e-mail after the race.

I just stood there in the bright morning sun and nothing mattered but what Tom was telling me. No people, no coffee, no race. I knew my New York bud was having her heart torn asunder so far away and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing … but maybe put the coffee away and get my race sticker. 

In a little daze, I wandered over to get my race number. Strange – I was on the *other* side of the table! I’m usually giving the racers their stickers. Speedy runner Karen Voss found my sticker … first time I’d had one! And smiled broadly “Good Luck LIs!”  I signed in, thanked her and grabbed a pin. I wasn’t really there. I was thinking about my pal.  Rosalie’s a pretty private person, and I’m pretty protective … she might even kill me for listing this in my blog … but she’s always full of life and telling stories about her visits to “Maahm” and her grandkids in her thick New York accent. I came to as I stabbed my finger with the pin as I was obviously trying to pin not only the tag to my shirt, but also my right hand!  Rosalie would have fallen over laughing saying something like “Lis … you’re not supposed to pin body parts to yourself! You’re supposed to pin the tag! You’re going to need your arm silly!” 

I decided warming up might be a nice way to get my brain into the right space … for some reason, however, I just wanted to run as fast as I could … yes RUN … when I was a kid I’d clear my head by running a short distance – to cause enough body anguish to block out whatever so I could think clearly. I stretched out my legs for about 100 meters (yeah I said meters … I’m slowly getting it …) along the waterway. Mike Blanchard (who racewalks competitions internationally and knows I’ve got a target on his butt for the 2009 Trophy Series) teased me with a loud “HEY LIS – LIFTING … LIFTING … LIFTINGGGGG … DQ … DQ … DQ!” I couldn’t stop laughing and said “Yeah … kinda crappy form, eh Blanchard?” It did feel good to clear out … but the sprained knee I’ve got right now was probably started there with my slamming my 167 pounds into the Earth!

I tried to pay attention as Deb was talking about the course and other things … I couldn’t really hear and although I was standing in the sun with nothing but open space and parking lot around me, I felt like I was caged. My head kept slipping off to my friend in New York … and wanting to text with just a smile or something to let her know she’s loved … she already knows that, but little reminders are really wonderful. Of course, my phone was residing on it’s charger on my bedroom floor under the bureau where I’d knocked it trying to find my shoes! I had no clue where I was going … so I figured I’d do what I do best … play follow the leader and hope I don’t run into any hills!

How the races work is they’re on a handicap system. I’m just starting to get it myself, and completely depend on John Lyle, Ed Guff, Q and the Eagle to let me know what to do. From what I can gather, the predict time is based on how you did in the previous race and if you beat that, it keeps going down. From a points point of view, they’re awareded by how you do in relation to that predict time. I smashed my January predict time in April, so I got a lot of points. Sadly, it won’t count this year as I’ll have missed 3 races by October. I just wanted to finish because … as I say … three races in three weekends … and I’m starting to race each one hard. The little sticker tag is how things are tallied and on there are a mess of numbers that my dyslexic brain couldn’t figure out. All I know is I start at 00:00:00 … right at the beginning … between Ed and John … and go from there.

Tom’s start of race ‘duty’ is he calls off the start times for people. As I say, my friends and I start when the clock is at 00:00:00. Blanchard starts like 10 minutes later and friends like Q and the Eagle start after I’m about 1/2 way done … and beat the stuffing out of me anyway! You race against yourself and the times are adjusted accordingly by the computer.

It was warm – and I’ve been having hydration issues … so I had my 2 bottle Natan on. I love that thing! The 00 Warriers were all waiting to start and there was some timing issue. Ok – this is just perfect! Ed was laughing with me and John was just to my right … and I wanted to pace again.  I was just about to ask Ed about the course when I heard a “Um … Hi Lis…”. I almost laughed to see the Eagle next to me … “What you doing waaaayyyy up here?” I sassed as I noticed he wasn’t in his singlet and shorts but several layers … as he starts among the last to. The check-in was really appreciated. He quietly gave me the heads up about a small hill under a bridge on the far side of the course. Oh my gosh it’s great to have friends looking out for you. He probalby knows how much I needed the warning! I showed him the tag and knowing all I really need is what to shoot for said something like “Ok – your predict is 12:38, you’ll blow that out of the water. Just go and have fun.” Next thing I knew … *pouf* he was gone .. flew away … He probably turned sideways!

“00 … ok Three … Two … One …” and we were off. Adam Fierst – who usually starts with Q and the Eagle and the rest of the speedy sneaker runners – was off and flying. He had an appointment. A couple of other runners were there and Ed had taken off too. I wanted to keep Ed firmly in my sites as I figured he wouldn’t get lost. I don’t know if the 00 start was as goofy ‘trash talking’ before, but it is a fun group now! One guy I can’t remember the name of spotted my water bottles and said “Hey Lis – making Margaritas in there?!” I couldn’t stop laughing and said “Nah – I’m looking for James Bond and making Martinis … Shaken Not Stirred!”

Around the first corners and I knew I was moving too fast. It’s become a bad habit of mine on shorter races to try to get myself warmed up. I’m used to taking the first couple of miles easy in my longer races to really check in … but for some reason, I just wanted to push it. I have had just too many things on my mind and I wanted to just kind of check out and push myself as hard as I could.  I passed the mile 1 marker and saw Betsy (John’s wife) walking along coming from one of the construction Blue Palaces. “Hey Betsy!” It startled her but “Hey Lizzy! You’re doing really good! You okay?!” I laughed, relaxed my shoulders and said “You know, Bets, I think I’m moving just a little too fast right now!” Good laugh all around.

 HERE COMES ED! Look at that smile! We went around the park for just a smidge over a mile and circled back to where everone was getting warmed up to start. A frienHere Comes Ed!d of mine pointed out if you look way in the back by the trees … there’s a gal in a blue skirt and white shirt back there … wonder who that is? I knew I would be passed by my friend Jan Hill – who is an awesome racewalker and whom has been doing this for some time … but I just wanted to keep pushing along. If I was passing the club, I wanted to look decent. My pride knew two of my closest pals & supporters probably hadn’t started yet – & know to try to look at my form … so I didn’t want to look like I was dying … they’d see that soon enough when they passed me … but they’d be clicked into their zones and it would be my turn to observe their running.

I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going because I realized Ed was so far in front and most of the Speedy Sneakers hadn’t taken off Here I come!yet. I checked in with myself and other than my protesting lungs, I was OK. Hips doing things right, ankles feeling good, knees comfortable, shoulders out of my ears … breathing out of my mouth because that’s what I do … Right about where the photo of Ed was taken, I could hear Q playfully yelling his trash talk! I know I trash talked Q right back. Gotta love your friends! BUT it was proving I wasn’t killing myself! They told me later that I looked like I was in pain. I was moving faster than I ever had before and I think both of them knew it. I can’t remember right now, but they’re both blog readers so I’d love to have them remind me. The guy in the reverse ball cap is Bob Basse … I’ve referred to him as my Race Good Luck Charm because I usually feel like I’m OK if he’s in the race for some reason. Just an amazing person who has finally and completely questioned my sanity when he realized I was walking the Goofy. The only reason I’m smiling is that I saw my buds and I was going directly at Deb who was saying “SMILE FOR THE PICTURE LIS!!!” Ok Deb! I’ll do what I’m told! Around the corner and we were on our way to the 2.5 mile turn around.

I was so incredibly thankful for the course briefing the Eagle had given me as I saw the bridge he’d mentioned and the ‘hidden’ incline on the far side. Ok – I was going to lose timHere comes Jane here. I’m fine with that. Jan came up from behind with a really encouraging “You look GREAT Lis! Great form Girl! Keep going!” best thing a racewalker you admire can say! (the photo is Jan – you go Girl!) I knew Blanchard would soon be blowing by. I was OK with that also. I knew I was moving faster than I ever had and if I could keep it up, I’d be proving to myself I can …. probably spiking my handicap, but the boys would help me out with that. Blanchard came up and sauntered on by … giving me encouragement also. You know – maybe I do belong around these people. Alicia gave me some amazing encouragement … she always does …

Was in some trouble … yeah. I knew it too. I got to the 2.5 water stop, flipped around with some gatorade from Stephanie who was race directing and womaning the furthest out water stop, got an extra jolt of encouragement and was on my way back. A lot of faces I knew were coming in to that water stop — “catching up”. I knew I’d soon be passed, but I didn’t want to come in last … I’ve got just a smidge too much hard-headed pride for that. I started out fast — I’m going to finish strong … but maybe not die trying.  I saw the boys racing along … YEAHHH!!!! Go Guys and Gals!!!

John wasn’t that far behind me. I saw him right after I’d turned around. He looked pretty darned good, but not sure how he fared by the end because I didn’t get a chance to talk with him after the race. He and Betsy flew away even before the results were in.Here\'re John!!!

Closing in on the curve before that final mile loop to the finish, I hear Janet L’s cow-bell and hollering. She’s really amazing! Gave me a good kick and I knew I was nearly done. Grabbed a water joking what kind of mixed drinks were being offered and continued. I’d been depending on my Shock Blocks and water on my back more than I was comfortable with, but live, learn and keep going! I was a smidge over in the distance because I still don’t have tangents right. I need Q to give me tangent lessons because I inadvertently cut off David going in to mile 4!  “HEY LIZZY YOU CUT ME OFF!!! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!!!!” Good natured hard time fortunately. I’ll probably never live that down … but the man eats cake frosting as a power gel … that’s another story … he’s still really fast! I was actually trying to get out of his way! Knowing that I’d seen David, I knew The Boys weren’t far off.

I was tired … I was tightening up … I was moving. I knew where I was going, fortunately, and I let my soundtrack take over in my head … with “Lizzy – keep going … you’re among friends … and you can and are doing this.” The boys did blow by with – clicking out of their zone to send a good vibe.  Alone again. I got a little confused with the distance to the end because I saw a covered picknic area very similar to the one we were using.  “No, Lizzy … not that one … ours has the water and the flags … keep going … check in with feet, legs and back … Owwie … what’s going on with the left knee and lower back … oh no you don’t body!”

One large curve, normal people looking like they wanted to cross the bike path “be polite Lizzy … they’re nice people … no running them over … yes … those are the finish flags …” I gave it the last bit I had. I knew Ed, Jan and Blanchard had already finished … I wasn’t placing, but I was doing darned good!  The space between my shoulders was rebelling … “hey body … could you cut me some slack please? I promise I’ll do a cool-down … just get me to the damned finish!” Heather Reddy came up right at the end and passed me … and although she was cheering me on … she gave me something to aim for … “Push it Lizzy … use that last shred of energy … come in strong … you can and you will … and you can recover after!”

The Finish Line Fanatics!The finish line folks were cheering me in … thank GOD for them … and I knew which chute to aim for. Hit the watch mid chute and get to the end. There was no way I could get the tag off. I now had more respect for all the runners I pulled the tags off of … and those who had managed it themselves. I’ve not got the talent … yet! I’m still walking out of my speed comfort zone. After wandering around in a bit of a daze, I did what I promised my legs I would … tried to cool down. 

I thought I’d done pretty well for myself.  Let me rephrase that … I was upper damn proud of myself …especially after showing my time to the Speedys and Ed and Blanchard. Ed and Blanchard asked me what my predict was and, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what that tag had said only just over an hour before. I recovered quickly, but was feeling a bit nervous and woozy. In the volunteer photo, I’m literally falling over on Tom and knew that I’d squish David if I fell forward.  But before that, it was awards and such. I was in my own space and Stephanie had to remind me a few times to put my name in … uh … ok.

I’m sure all readers heBaby\'s first club first placeard the most surprised “WHAT????” early that Sunday morning. That would be … uh … me when the Racewalk places were called out. They always start with us because the awards are 3 deep … and I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention … I figured it would be some combination of Ed, Blanchard, and John with the addition of Jan. I was completely shocked when I heard “First Place Racewalkers … Lis Shepard.” Hu?!  Second was John (who wasn’t there) and third was Jan … oh my gosh!  I looked over at Ed who had his ear-to-ear grin on his face clapping loudly. Jan and her husband have been great friends and were trying to talk me into the Home Run for the Homeless 5k the following weekend … I was tempted but it would be 4 races in 4 weeks!

The only thing that spoils the photo is that John and Betsy had to leave early. When we were shooting the picture, I said “We should be by thin trees so John can be in it too!” I know it’s all by statistics, but that’s fine with me! The Boys are pretty good at explaining things to me. Yes, Brandon, I am wearing that oversized Pacific Shoreline tech sThe Volunteershirt you found for me. You’re always keeping an eye on your sistah …

I put in about an hour of volunteer time helping clean up — I’m not going to lie, although I had some extra energy … I kept popping snacks and every drop of water I could. Q had hopped off to do some paperwork and would be meeting Tom, Alicia, Scott and the rest over at Udi’s for breakfast. Knowing I wasn’t right, I tried to key Alicia and Scott in – but I wouldn’t doubt if they could sense it.  The hardest part about this photo is that Rosalie is missing. There’s a big hole in it to me.  Rosalie’s Mom passed away about four days later. I was able to stay in nearly constant contact with her – letting her know that she was loved … Yeah – I think text messages are sent from God … they’re reminders without interfering … and can be looked at as a reminder when you’re going through the hard things but don’t feel like talking. 

 This means the last three races were insane for me –> the inaugural first place walk trophy for the Belleview 5K with no sleep, blasting off 7 minutes from my best Cherry Creek Sneak 5 mile time, and getting my first first place with the Road Runners on another 5 mile walk that blew around 1/2 a minute off the Sneak time. 

Next race: Colfax 1/2 Marathon … first 1/2 marathon at altitude somewhat knowing what I’m doing!

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