das Hustlehoff … Denver Innagural Oktoberfest 5K/10K … Me: 10.26K 1:14:03

21 09 2008

Okey dokey – there is a story behind this … what else is new?

Here’s the website: http://www.oktoberfestdenver.com/  Here’s the race site: http://www.oktoberfestdenver.com/oktoberfestdenver10K/index.html  Yes – if you look at the first link there is the music of David Hasselhoff to ‘get one in the mood’. Yes … that David Hasselhoff!

I do have one question … if they don’t have you at all listed in the official race results … does this mean it didn’t happen?

The Story: The last long walk I’d done was a bit of a mess. I didn’t run out of water, but it was close. For some reason I’d written down on my hand that I was supposed to be walking slowly with my top end being a 13 minute mile … um … ok. That makes for a very long and hot day when I get going a little late. I got out to a new place by Chatfield resivoir and started walking … idiot here ended up on first somewhat packed dirt and gravel (with the odd snake here and there) out to asphalt then trying to get back realizing my foot was really hurting (another blood blister walk). Fortunately, I had my Garmin w/map because going back the 7 miles I’d gone out was not an option. I found a more dusty path to come back on and somehow stepped down on a loose wind of barbed wire. It didn’t hit my legs but wrapped around my foot. The net upper of my Brooks was no match for this and by the time I finished the walk 4 miles later I realized I was down a pair of shoes and at least one sock. With all the nonsense I’ve been wading through with life and work … well … I’ve gotten kind of quiet. I’ve been getting more down on myself because the one thing I do for me was getting spiked by stupid people. SO – Dave wrote his “where ARE YOU” note (I’m probably his ‘problem child’) and it kind of kicked me back in to place. As I was replying, the flier for the race came in. He agreed it sounded like it could be fun … 10K was my pleasure … so my duty was to get registered that day. Of course, when I got down to Runner’s Roost, I noticed a 5k that would be judged by Bob C. the day before …

I was bound and determined not to have the Skirt Issue from yesterday, so I grabbed the laundry in the morning. The race was starting at 9 … um … middle of the afternoon from my perspective! The directions were terrible. I had no clue as to where I was going in Denver, so it took a bit to get my bearings. I figured that BKB has been around enough that they would have the innagural race put together well … but … Let’s face facts, this was my easy walk so I wasn’t too worried …

but then again there is a start line … and a finish line … and a bib number …

Ron from the music folks was there. Both being in the same biz and now he’s seen me at so many races, we have a lot to joke about. The fact that they wanted him playing 70’s television themes was rather humorous.  We decided if he could find it, he’d put on the original Isaac Hayes Theme From Shaft on as I’m coming in at the end of the race!

I was a little tight from the race before. Swining my legs to try to open up my hips was an uncomfortable situation. I know I was supposed to walk some long warm-up miles, but something didn’t feel right about that. Stretching to really familiar television themes as people botched what show they were from … I did listen to friends who suggested I race in just my long jog-bra, skirt and hydration belt. I would have died if I’d kept on my shirt! 

There were two starts. The 5k started in one place and the 10 another. It was fairly well attended for a short notice race, and I was trying to pay attention. Some race friends of mine were in the 5k and it was good to see them off. Ten minutes later, around the corner, they started the 10K. I couldn’t hear a thing about what the course was going to be, but I did look around at the field of just shy of 300 people. There were a couple of folks with strollers – but they were folks I knew from other races and quite fast. A shot-gun start, I still planted myself toward the back.

Something told me this was a fast field … and I had just done pretty well the day before. I was right. People took freaking off! I do keep my Garmin set between 10:30 and 12:30 minute miles. It’s more for me to start getting comfortable in a pace zone than anything because the ‘immediate’ beeping when I fall out of zone is irritating! I’m slowly trying to wean myself off of depending on this but shortening the zone and getting a song in my head for that particular pace. Whatever it takes. I had to keep telling myself – as I was being passed by waves of people on my left and right “Walk your own race, Lizzy …”

We were behind the 5k folks for the first mile. There were three of us in the back to begin with. There were 2 gals behind me. As we passed the police barricades cutting off side streets, they started lifting them. “These are the slowest three…” Wow … kind of depressing. My buddy Mike Mc. has told me what it’s like when people are pulling up the barriers but I’d never experienced it myself … and it’s even more unnerving when it’s not even mile one!! Wow – I felt myself feeling kind of off. Should I push harder and run the risk of having trouble later in the race, or should I stick to plan – my plan was to do whatever for the first mile, then settle down and have something to punch it with for the end. Having the barriers pulled around me, however, was kind of a negative omen.

Before I got to the 1 mile split (5k to the right, 10K to the left), I realized I was so far behind the pack and was getting mixed in with the back of the 5K. Having the barriers pulled got me thinking “Um … I wonder how they’re going to handle the split or if I’m going to circle around into another 5k?” Really – it wasn’t my job to worry about that … but something just had me on guard. We came around a corner and there was a water stop that was used to split the sides. Ok – warm morning … water stop good … splashed some of the water out of the overfilled cup and I was on my way.

The course took me places I’d never gone to before in Denver. I’ve done the Running of the Green 2x and the Ballpark Run 1x, so I knew some of the area – but this go around we were going in places I’d never been. Ok … Just keep moving forward. I could barely see part of the back of the pack and I just had to keep my head spiked on straight. I had Gatorade Cocktails on my hips and a few shock blocks just in case … and I caugh up with a runner named Judy who was struggling a little. Suggested she use her arms and relax her shoulders during her walk breaks … and we turned the corner through mile 2. At mile 2 the idiot course martial said “You’re at mile 2 … you’ve only got a couple of miles to go.” Pardon me? I’m not the worlds greatest at Track Math (thank GOD for Dave and a few other friends) … but 10K = ~6 Miles (unless it’s badly measured as usual). Judy asked me to call off the mileage from my Garmin for as long as we were in earshot. With my voice, she said thankfully at the end, she got every subsequent mile except the last 2.

Just before mile 3 it was getting hot. We were out in kind of Egypt. Never being out in this area before, I had no clue where a decent water stop might be. I did know that I was sweating like nuts and taking single gulps of my carry water. Something told me not to go through my own water. It’s that sinking feeling I got through those miles at my first Disney marathon when they ran out of water and it was so blasted hot. I’d hydrated like crazy going in to this race, but I’m still sketchy on it all. The cop wasn’t paying attention and a car got through – nearly hitting me … another crummy omen … but I was polite! I got down to the bikepath and asked the volunteer on the corner where the water stop was “Um … I don’t know. I don’t think there is one. There weren’t a lot of volunteers.” WHAT? We’ve been running in 80 degree temps here in Denver and no water on the course …

I know I’ve written being back in the pack it is a mental game to keep going. Well … I was feeling pretty mental! “Oh handle it Shep! You’ve been practicing on a track going 5 miles w/o water … you’ve got water and you’ve got shock blocks. Handle it! You’ve never come in DFL (Dead F$*king Last) … so there’s aways a first time! Do it with style! Pop a block and keep going.

The water stop was actually in a good place by complete accident. There was a hairpin turn off the bike path and on to a bridge leading to a park we were to go around. The water stop was at the middle of the turn. Ok … A good kid came down and said “Hey Lady … need a water?” I looked like a wet dog I was sweating so much and I turn kind of a dark red in my face … but I took one of his seriously overfilled cups – two gulps for me and the rest poured down my back. The girls were having a water war that I walked in to where I got splashed … which felt good. It turned out that they had to move the water stop after the race had begun becuase BKB didn’t check to verify that the course was truly clear. The annual Central American Fair was setting up and were really cool as we went around them.

Last two miles – deep rolling hills. Nobody out there but cops and a few folks. Part of my goal is to slowly pass people in the last miles of a race. I had one or two people behind me as we hit the roadway again. The big thing for me was this was simply ‘my’ race … it was a training walk in the middle of the street with cops. The area going past the ballpark is the same place that the Running of the Green goes and I know how to handle these hills … however … the last time I was on them, I’d been tripped by a dog.

Last square around and it was time to pass the folks in front and get going. They were going through the ‘awards’ and there was no-one out there for us. Ok – I’m used to this. I was ok. The funny thing, of course, was that when I came around the last corner and saw the finish line … I knew it was just me and the line. Ron was on his microphone “Here comes our one and only Racewalker – Lizzy Shepard. Racewalking is a heck of a lot harder than it looks! Lizzy won a race yesterday and she’s out here today for an easy day. She said 1 hour 20 minutes and she’s getting … oh my goodness … 1 hour 14 minutes flat!” Gotta love your friends!

I flew across the pads, was stopped by a badly placed saw horse and that was it. One of the kids came to cut off the chip saying “You do a lot of these things, don’t you??” I couldn’t stop giggling. There was nothing at the end — just Ron and a couple of timers. He had some water in his van … BKB left nothing at the end for us. I thanked him and then said “my new friend Judy …” Say no more … he was going to cheer her in. She came around the corner and I did the Shepard Yell … I dumped off my water belt and ran to where she was. She wanted to fly in and be damned if I wasn’t going to help her! An amazing woman and I said “Judy – I don’t run for just anyone … Let’s BOOK IT SISTER!” We flew – I was right in front of her saying “catch up!!!” She was laughing and moving faster than she ever had before. “I thought you never ran, Lizzy.” I smiled and said “I never said anything about not sprinting, now did I?”

I had to pass through the small expo area to get to my car … nothing was left for those of us at the end. No water … nothing. I had a gallon of Clif Refresh in the car and called my buddy Mike McB. It sucks to be at the end of a race and have them cleaning it up around you … psychologically really irritating. We talked about the difference between this race and the Bolder Boulder – which I did in 1:15:00. There were different … ‘issues’.

I got home – cold bath … and thought that I’d handled the race pretty well. A buddy of mine and I went to a show at The Gothic … We were up on the balcony and he smiled saying “Just relax, Lizzy.” I danced out whatever was sore knowing I was safe … and if I fell over … well … I had a friend right there! Nice to have friends!

Next Race: 10/5/08: San Jose Rock and Roll 1/2 Merrython … unless I get seriously stupid between now and then!

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