I am (an) Iron Girl

This was by far my craziest race to date. Well maybe not the race itself being that crazy but all the stuff that happened before certainly was….

For one thing, I was not really prepared for this race, mentally. I hadn’t really thought much about it and then was like, oh yeah, I’m running a 15k on Saturday…whoops!  I was really stupid about my pre-race prep too. On Thursday night I met my sister(who was in town for the week) and her BFF at the Cheescake Factory. I had a nice dairy free vegetarian meal and then somehow allowed myself to have some of my sisters cheesecake..what was I thinking?!! I felt sick ALL NIGHT and through a good portion of Friday. Needless to say, I didn’t eat a whole lot on Friday.  Not exactly what you want to do the day before a big race…I kept thinking I might not even be able to run the race if I didn’t start feeling better…

So then Friday night I’m laying awake at 2330 thinking, “crap I have to get up at like 0500, this is not good, I wonder if I”ll even run this race…no, you have to run this race, no matter what, you’ve never done a 15k, it’s such a cool concept(women only) and you’ve already paid and told everyone you’re going to do it” At some point I drifted off, only to wake up about two hours later with Gracie licking my face. I put her in her cage and fell back asleep…ended up sleeping till 0530(whoops!). Got up and took care of my roomates dogs(she’s out of town) and Gracie and proceeded to get dressed. It was about 10 degrees warmer outside already than was supposed to be even for the end of the race so I had to revamp my wardrobe choice

side note: I ended up wearing a brand new outfit I had just purchased the day before at Soma Intimates. They were having a 70% off sale and they have some SUPER cute workout wear. Anyhoo, these are the most amazing workout shorts/skirt ever. They are a asymmetrical skirt with shorts underneath. And get this…the shorts DO NOT RIDE UP!! The entire race I kept thinking to myself, “Man I love these shorts!”. I went back today and bought 2 more pairs and ordered 3 more to be sent to my house(they’re only $15!!). I’ll try to get a pic up here later.

Anyways, back to my race recap. So the night before I had made some fuel bites consisting of dates, chia and coconut oil and I brought those, my ipod nano and my bluetooth headphones that I use with my nano on longer runs(on shorter runs I just use my shufffle). Typically on my long runs(such as the half-marathons) I use my Nathan waterpack but don’t bring water, just use it to haul stuff, but it gets my back really hot and I just didn’t want to fool with it. Figured I’d use the pocket in my new skort to carry my fuel, and everything else clips on or I wear so…(I really need to just get a fuel belt…kind of thought I’d get one at the Expo but that didn’t happen) Also brought a small breakfast of 2 whole wheat scones/muffins(maple/coconut/walnut…OMG…YUM!!…and vegan too!). Got a later start than I wanted but even still Steve(my gps) had my arrival time at 0700, which would give me 30 minutes till race time. Just enough time to walk to the start/stretch and get my stuff settled.

HA!!! and another HARDEE HAR HAR!! The race started on Clearwater Beach, which required going across the causeway….meaning horrible traffic! I should’ve planned for that but well, I didn’t and previously I had been arriving so stinking early to races I was worn out just by the waiting around so thought I’d try something different.  I did get a few shots of the water while waiting on the cause-way:

So I’m sitting in dead stopped traffic and the minutes are slowly clicking away. I’m starting to get really nervous. Only eat 3/4 of one of my scones. FINALLY I am on the island and I miss the turn for the large parking lot they said we could park at. It is now 0722. I drive down looking for a different place to park but all there is are places with meters and I have no change…just bills I brought to pay a parking attendent. I finally turn back around to head for the hotel…to find that in the past 5 minutes of driving the lot has filled up! CRAP!! Now it is 3 minutes till race time and I”m STILL IN MY CAR!!! I turn back around and head to a lot that had meters, hoping they’ll be one of those machines that makes change…NOPE…finally I notice there’s a convienience store that happens to be open so I go in hoping I can get some change. …….

The guy, moving at a molasses like pace is like, nope can’t give you any change…but I do have this card you can buy for $10 that you can use on the meters. THANK GOD I have a $10 bill. I think I would’ve cried if I had had to walk back to my car to get my credit card. I throw down the bill, grab the card and sprint back to the car to pay and get my stuff. It is now 0730 and I’m betting I”m at least 0.5 mile from the start! I grab my nano and headphones, lock the car and head out…completely leaving my fuel bites in the car…oh well, too late to go back now. I start sprinting to try to get to the start line when I realize I have to go pee….like 5 minutes ago. After about 0.5 mile I’m getting close to the start and I see some beach bathrooms, so I run in and do my bidness figuring at this point it’s better to go before I start since it is chipped timed and this won’t count against me!!

As I’m running to the start I’m trying to get my ipod and headphones synced up but the headphones won’t come on! I know they are charged because I charged them for Gasparilla but didn’t end up using them cause I forgot them at home and had to use my regular headphones(which today were in the car!!). So I had to run the race without any music…but since I had the headphones with me, I had to carry them! So annoying!! I honestly don’t know how I ran that whole thing without my tunes!
AFter a million years I get up to the corrals and they’re fricking about to close them and not let anybody else start. Thank God they let me in though. I would’ve pitched a royal fit if they’d tried to stop me. I end up crossing the actual start line almost 8 minutes AFTER the gun went off. All I can say is THANK GOD this race was chip timed.. I don’t think I’d have had the heart to muscle through all the disappointments thus far plus deal with no chip timing!

Anyhoo, I was pretty much on my own for about 0.25-0.5 miles when I came across the slowest of the walkers(there was also a 5k that started at the same time and you could walk either). It wasn’t so bad until about 1 mile in or so I caught up to the majority of the walkers and it was just a giant clusterf***. I was weaving in and out of people walking in groups, just out there to have fun which I can’t blame them, but I was out there to RACE. Many times I just was stuck barely jogging till there was a clear break to get around people. After the 5k’ers got to their turn around it cleared out a lot and I finally got into a groove. The race then crossed a big bridge and circled around this loop twice. During my first time around the loop about 3 runners passed me on their SECOND loop. They were the elite runners though and they had a good 8 minute lead on me.

Because I didn’t have any fuel with me, had not eaten much for breakfast and had hardly eaten anything yesterday I was stopping at every aid station for gatorade. I figured it was better than nothing and at least had some calories. I tried the whole drink and run strategy at the first aid station but that was an utter fail and I got gatorade in my EYE! So after that I walked through the aid stations…LOL!! I was grooving along for most of the race, passing people the entire time…that is one benefit of starting 8 minutes after the gun…you are passing people the ENTIRE RACE. Feels good for the ego! LOL….

Anyhoo during my second loop around my left knee started to twinge and I began cussing under my breath thinking, this cannot be happening again!! I pushed through and it never got as bad as during Gasparilla, thankfully. Right around mile 7.5 you go back across the bridge we did at the begining and I was jogging up in and about halfway up decided to walk as I was jogging so slowly I figured why not conserve my energy. It worked because I literally FLEW down the other side and kept a good pace the rest of the race.

So the only times I walked were up the bridge and when I was getting gatorade. I crossed the finish line and didn’t even bother to look at the clock because I knew it was ridiculously off. My Garmin said 1 hr 34 minutes for 9.6 miles so I was at 9.3 at 1 hr 31 min. I don’t know why it was 0.3 miles longer than what it was supposed to be, but I’m counting my time as 1 hr 31 minutes in order to compare to what I wanted(1 hr 30 minutes or less)…so all in all I was only 1 minute off my goal and considering everything that happened…well, I’m pretty pleased is all I can say! With the extra running at the begining and then the fact that was 9.6 not 9.3 I actually ran a total of more than 10 miles today…cool with me!

I have to say after running a 15k I think it is my new favorite distance! Long enough to make you feel like you really had to exert some effort but not so long that you just feel like dying afterwards.

I guess now I can say I am an IRON GIRL! If you live near a city that has an iron girl event I highly recommend it. Very cool swag…I got an Aflac stuffed duck that is dressed in running gear(and says AFLAC if you squeeze his tail), a finishers medal, a reusable shopping bag and hands down the BEST shirt I’ve ever recieved. It’s an actual tech shirt and it’s made for a woman so it’s cute in it’s styling and it actually fits properly. It also has a cute design on it and it isn’t covered in sponsors like so many are!

It was a great race and really ignited my passion for running again

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