Friday, December 31, 2010

Run Into the New Year 5k, West Allis, WI

What can I say about a New Year's Eve race in Wisconsin where I didn't have to wear a hat or gloves, or even a long sleeved shirt? All I can say is, I think the unseasonably warm weather today in the Milwaukee metro area (55 degrees!!! Seriously!!!) was a direct result of my running in below freezing weather two weeks ago to test out my gear. If I hadn't done it, well, it would have been freezing, so since I did it, God laughed at my plans and gave me drizzly warm weather. So, to the other 1900 or so participants who were the direct beneficiaries of my pre-planning: you're so very welcome.

But I digress. It was unseasonably warm, and so I wore the usual: running capris, a singlet, and the fivefingers with toesy socks. I tied a running jacket around my waist just in case. We left the house and got to the race about 30 minutes early. The pre and post run activities are held inside one of the exhibition halls at the State Fair Park -- including allllll the portapotties -- so when we walked in to get our timing chips, we were assaulted by the smell of . . . uh, Wisconsin's wonderful "dairy air." We stood around waiting for the race to start and saw, along with my dear husband's paper New Year's hat, a Viking helmet, a woman wearing a bridal veil (15th wedding anniversary!) and a Kermit the Frog stocking hat (admiring the headgear at these races is a good way to pass the time).

Five minutes prior to the start, we went outside to the seeding corrals. Sweetness and I found the "open seeding: all runners" corral and lined up in the back. Not too many walkers in the "all walkers" corral behind us, to my slight dismay.

The starting gun went off, which meant we had about 3 minutes of walking before we crossed the chip timing mat, but once we did, Sweetness started pacing me on the one minute run/walk pace we'd discussed. The first mile went quicker than I'd expected, probably because, as Sweetness told me later, my stride was a little longer than usual. And also, because I wanted to at LEAST finish faster than the people who were doing the race on motorized scooters. Yes, for real, I'm not kidding.

So we knew by mile 2 we (meaning I, because poor Sweetness, who ran it right by my side, was at half his normal running pace) needed to slow down a bit. We altered the run/walk intervals to 1 minute run/2 minute walk for mile 2. By mile 2, the really really fast people were finishing the 5k, and also, some of the really really fast people running the 10k (two loops of the 5k) were starting to pass us. Also, it is apparently my pattern that at about the halfway point of any athletic event I
get really irritable and negative, even if I've done the distance before in training. Don't know why, haven't a clue, but because poor Sweetness was there (and obviously bored, because he was practically going in reverse in the Sweetness time/space continuum) for about a quarter mile, the conversation went thusly:

Sweetness: "Okay, time to run again. Oh, wow, that guy looks really tired. Hey, aren't those the other kind of minimalist shoe you were telling me about? Aw, what a cute couple up ahead. Hey, let's see if we can pass them. "

Me: (hissing) "Talk less. You need to talk less. How much more running?"

Sweetness: "Thirty seconds."

Me: "That is appropriate (pant) and helpful talking. More (pant) of that kind of talking."

Sweetness: (oblivious to my minor discomfort) "Okay!!! ten seconds left."

And so on. Until mile three.

My mile 2 time was slower, right on target, so I thought we would do thirty/ninety, and I'd finish pretty strong. Mile three was also on target, and due to the weirdness of the course, we crossed the path of my sweet ten year old stepson, who was running the 10k.

Now, apropos of nothing, though I love my stepsons dearly, my stepson's mother and I . . . well, there's never been much love lost between the two of us. And of course, Mommie Dearest (yeah, it's accurate) was there with Sweet Stepson and probably waiting at the end of the course, and would rush Sweet Stepson and my other two stepsons far far away from us as quickly as possible, so as not to have to, you know, actually behave like an adult and allow my Sweetness to see his sons. This hurts my husband tremendously . And so, I cannot tell you how much this was suddenly harshing my mellow. Well, you can probably guess.

On the other hand, I am not one for letting mean people harsh on my mellow for too long. And by the last quarter mile of mile 3, I'd devised a plan. Heh.

I saved up what spring I had left in my step for the last .1 of the course, the last turn before the finish chute, and came around the corner, not sprinting, but not jogging either, a nice smooth stride, and smiling. Silly Stepson was standing at the finish, swinging a cowbell (as I am sure he had done for the entirety of the race). I yelled his name, and he looked up, confused. I couldn't help but laugh -- Silly Stepson is not known for the quick draw -- and I ran past Mommie Dearest commenting on how surprised Silly appeared to be to see me . . . running. Heh.

I crossed the timing mat -- couldn't suppress a primal yell -- then told Sweetness to find Sweet Stepson on the last quarter mile of the course and run the chute with him. Thus, I got to finish my 5k with my husband, scream my head off for my stepson and my husband, my husband got to run the finish with his son, and I got to irritate my husband's ex-wife and go home with my sweet husband next to me . Win/win/win/win/WIN.

All in 47 minutes and some change. Not bad for a Friday afternoon.

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