RACEFEST 2009

The weeks before Racefest can be extremely hectic. Even with all the preparation, things seem to fall into a controlled chaos that always lends insight into how to improve “next time”.
I started by doing a thorough cleaning of the store – creating space, tossing junk, and making sure Racefest items were stacked nicely together.
Then those runners who refuse to pay an online fee I have to manually enter the week of and handle anything Scott needs me to regarding the race.
I also wanted to make sure the run group had a great race and Gina was her amazing self in preparing the VIP area for them – basically the X parked next to the finish area – by making decorated cookies and having plenty of drinks and fruit.
Sure enough I was worn out by mid week and on the day I expected it to be most quiet – Friday – it was busiest and I was solo (my bad on the schedule). By the time Gina came in to help I was in the chair.
It’s also during this time that a chapter in my book will be soley dedicated to the whole race environment – both pre/during/post. Honestly, if you only knew the bleep we go through and how much runners attitudes go bizerk. I got new material too.

Was I gonna really try to race hard and do well or burn out in the process? G made sure I followed her plan.

At least the weather was superb! We left the house way before 7 and good enough for shorts and a long sleeved top. It would creep into the 80′s by days end and cloudless.
When we got there we were put right ot work – registration had low volunteers so Gina and I went into the hotel to help. For 40 minutes we did side shuffles handing people their bibs and teaching them how to use the new chip timers.
I “ran” into plenty of people from the store and did the usual well-wishing. The usual lobby bathroom line – ladies listen up – was about 10-20 deep. In my book you will get specific instructions on how to totally avoid that one. The pre race atmosphere is fun to be around.
We got to the start some 10 minutes before and I met the run group. All excitement!!!! I was happy to see them about to pursue their goals – and what was ahead for all of us during the morning rush. A kiss from G and toed the line.

By the first 3 miles it was clear this would be a boring run. I had 10 guys in front of me and couldn’t see anyone beyond that. And once the cutoff for the 10K portion happened, it was down to 4. I was in Zone 4, legs were holding up, and no reason to hit it now.
By the time we got to mile 6, before the big hills, it was down to one. Since I only could see this dude, I figured if I was gaining, I would inch it by mile, keep it interesting. There were no crowds and everything was quiet. Beautiful hoods though for sure. Mental Ipod was on repeat of “Stitches” and “Feel Good Drag”.
No gaining here. And since I wasn’t going to blow up my legs – heeding to G’s plan – I was going to smooth it out. Enjoy it – while running every possible tanget I could get. A blur.

By mile 11 you start to see the walkers from the 10K and know you’re almost done. It came real quick. With a good finishing kick and a high five from Dana (who deserves some serious props also for helping out the past week – and that day) I finished in 1:17 – good enough for 7th overall.
But I wasn’t concerned so much about how I felt now – it was all about seeing how the crew did. I met with those who did the 10K and many had personal bests. G was holding fort – and watching one of the groups son’s in the process (he was a true trooper and G took care of him – so much he might get into this running thing).
Immediately threw some BioFreeze on the legs and grabbed the cowbell to cheer on the remaining group doing the half. The sun was burning and it felt great. Seeing each one come in – again many with personal bests – was priceless. We made sure everyone was accounted for and headed to the “VIP” area where stories were shared, pictures were taken, and goodies were handed out.
I’m proud of every one of them. I posted a photo of them.

But now the real work was to begin. G and I headed over to the finish where cleanup was in process. Note to race directors – beer trucks are a must I guess at any race. I simply threw down a Monster and that stuff works quick.
Empty jugs, tables, and the garbage – ahhhh! This is more new material for the book. Runners just don’t get the work that goes into cleaning up their mess. Would you throw a full cup of liquid into your garbage at home?
This took a good 2+ hours since we had to shuttle the garbage to the hotel dumpster and make sure everything was cleared out. G was right on – surgical gloves are a must. Dana was “The Man” too since we all finished up around 1:30 – a big Thank You to him. AND I still had to drive the box truck to the storage unit. G and I didn’t get home till 2pm! Smelly, stinky, and sweaty – and we still managed to smile.
More BioFreeze, stretching, some of G’s home remedies (yum yum) and it was time for a book. Or a nap.

Luckily we looked forward to the Rita’s after church and there is no better way to end a day like that. A Blendini for her, a Gelati for me. MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!
Now it’s a few days of easy “transition” as I channel all of this base/tempo work into training for the Buffalo Springs 70.3. I got a good 10 weeks and am looking forward to it. I am happy to be representing Aquaphor for the rest of the year in my races as I join a select team of 200 across the country chosen from 2000 applicants as brand ambassadors.
No finish line.

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