Monday, March 12, 2012

Race Day

Rodeo Beach // Marin Headlands

Saturday was a really special day for me. Not only was it the day of the Marine Mammal Center's Run For The Seals, but it also marked the first time that Scott and I ran a race together. I had always considered running a solo sport, because its so mental, and because I am not the kind of person who can run and chat with a friend at the same time. Also, Scott isn't a dedicated runner. When he said he wanted to do this run with me, though (we're both ardent supporters of the MMC's mission), I signed him up right away, and I was literally counting down the days until Saturday.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a lot of sleep last week. That was really the only problem we had, though the night before the race we only had three hours of sleep. Oh my, what were we getting ourselves into? I had to wonder whether we'd be OK on that little sleep. Thankfully? We were. But I'm getting ahead of myself; this post is a narrative, more than just a list of things. I plan to savor this one.

We arrived in the Marin Headlands right on time (the race began at 9am, but we had to park prior to 8:30, when the roads closed); fortunately, traffic created by other runners made everyone a little late, so the fact that we didn't leave the house until almost 7:30 didn't end up being a big deal (whew!). I was really excited that dogs were going to be at the race, many in costume, and I wasn't disappointed: there were tons of dogs, and many dogs in costumes!

I actually love how laid back the race was for those who weren't professional runners (that many people had kids and dogs with them meant taking breaks, feeding treats, etc). This helped me not feel self-conscious that I maintained about a 13 minute mile for the duration of the event. 13 minute miles are what I do when I'm exhausted, and I had known from the moment I got up that morning that it was a 13-minute mile kind of day. There was nothing I could really do about it, so I had to be OK with that.

The race itself was through absolutely beautiful terrain. I've never run in a place so beautiful before, and it was truly amazing! I loved being out in nature. For about half the race we were on dirt trails, which I preferred to the pavement by a factor of approximately 10000. The water stations were frequent, and mile markers were very clear. I went through quite a bit of mental wrangling with myself during this race, but at the end, as I finally made it to the finish line after 4 miles in 53 minutes, 11 seconds, it all seemed to melt away. Turning around and seeing Scott walking up the hill after crossing the finish line a minute behind me was a wonderful thing, too; we did it! I was so full of joy in that moment, it's tough to describe exactly how it felt but I was so proud seeing his smiling face beaming back at me.

After the race, we raided the snack table, which was pretty incredible (trust me) and bought two new stingrays at the gift shop (if you don't know, we collect stingrays—plush, plastic, metal with beads, etc). We would have loved to have stayed all day, but we left just after noon and headed back into the city.

It all became a bit surreal after that; maybe it's the exhaustion talking, but the race almost doesn't feel real now. Did that actually happen? Well, yes. And afterward I came home and had a huge cry, and I hadn't cried in months, so I think my body & mind were completely worn out. Fortunately, the cure for any weird mood stuff came in the form of asparagus rolls & seaweed salad:
Asparagus roll <3 <3 <3 

So yeah, now I want to figure out when the next race is. 

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