Learning Experience – but First Place anyway

27 06 2011



When Susan Randall called me last night after her 1:42:24 personal record 20K, I thanked her for pushing me into the Stadium Stampede. A 42:50 is far from a PB for me. In fact, it is slower than my training walks around the park. Also, I felt like I was passed by absolutely the entire field of runners. And there were no fast racewalk women there.

“Lis! First mean FIRST! Who care time??” Admonished a laughing Susan.

Yeah, I guess you are right. And it was ugly!

This was the first year the Stampede was a money race for the USATF, so instead of a little race for locals to help St.  Joseph’s Hospital that has a great group of lung challenged folks who come out for the Huff & Puff mile race, there were fast runners and minor confusion.

Trapper Shaw came to see his first race. He watched Susan train, so he knew what racewalking was. When awards came through, he couldn’t understand why Michael Blanchard was second because he was the first racewalker he saw – and as an avid video game player, Trap was able to tease out what he was looking for in a sea of runners. He still thinks we are crazy, but he had a great time!

I forgot my watch, and we went back for it. Knew I forgot to lay something out.  I also didn’t wear the cooling neckerchief that I wear in long races to keep me cool. I didn’t think I needed it.

I ran into a lot of folks. This is my first race back and it was a kick to see folks. I realized that no matter what I did, I am coming back.

I tucked myself behind Michael in tie sea of runners. They started us with them instead of lining up as the separation line between runners and walkers. The announcer explained the difference between walking and competitive racewalking.

I am still a follower, and that is why I tucked behind Michael. I asked him where the fast racewalk women were. He hadn’t seen anyone.

Race started and guess who started out entirely too fast up the hill around Bronco Stadium. More disturbing was realizing that my mouth felt so dry that I felt like I had been sucking on cotton – not spending my morning hydrating!

Yeah, Denver has been stupid hot. I have never handled heat well. This October Baby likes Spring and Autumn/Fall. I have to get used to it. I table grabbed a bottle of water from the finish line and sipped it through the entire race.

I couldn’t breathe. I told myself to let the entire field go because I was there for my own reasons. I needed to see where I stand.

It was good to get heavily passed. I pulled my head back to the business at hand – breathing! My lungs hurt and I was starting to cough up science experiments – and I wasn’t even a kilometer down!

The course switched last year, and it was actually better for me. The long front side downhill became a back side uphill, but the cracks in the sidewalk weren’t going to get me! The problem for me, however, was more elemental: heat and breathing.

I was trying something new – using a bandana for sweat collection and not wearing a hat. Michelle Evans (my hair goddess) cut my hair to the shortest length since I was in kindergarten in an effort to keep me cool and not look like a complete post-race mess!  It worked, but I was really surprised how the heat kept sapping me.

My legs and back felt pretty good. Legs were probably bored at plodding along so slowly, but when breathing is a problem and hacking fits hit about every 400 meters maximum,  you have to deal with the weakest link in the chain!

I never stopped hacking. I yakked at 4km. I was hacking up to the point and couldn’t stop. I stepped off course and tried to get the crap out of my throat and lungs. I would have to say I spent at least three minutes off course hacking. Who cares? The only time that counts is the official time.

My feet weren’t rolling along as easily as I would have liked,  but I already know there are a lot of weaknesses that will take time to strengthen. I am most concerned about not being able to breathe and the mucus overload. Just have to work with that. I did have focus issues, but when you have stop-and-start little kids, oblivious people under headphones, and stroller pushing people, you do have to keep defensive – especially when things aren’t right in your own race.

Where do I stand? I know I have a lot of work to do and I am thankful for friends reminding me I am still in the first steps of coming back.

First means first, Lizzy
And you know you were legal the whole way!




2 responses

27 06 2011

Nice job; many would have given up with all of the complications that you had.

1:42 for the 20K? You have some FAST company! I couldn’t run that fast right now.

27 06 2011

Well – I kind of got lost along the way but I am finding my way back and Inner Peace – wait that is from Kung Fu Panda 2!

Susan – yeah! I would be happy with a 1:42 10K right now. Susan is good peeps!

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