Getting myself to not race when I am at a race is a very difficult task.
Before Sunday’s Beat the Blerch, I had never done it.
I’m glad I did.
I was reminded of the fun, care-free aspects of running.
I chatted with my friends. We stopped and walked. We snapped photos with a Blerch. We took in the trees that were starting to get their fall colors. We ate cake and Nutella sandwiches.
OK, OK, so this may not have been your typical 10K but I could have raced it if I wanted to. Others had their serious race face on. But, Jackie, Emily and I were just all smiles. (Well, maybe Emily wasn’t smiling the entire time. I did kind of force her to do a race against her will. She was filling in last-minute for her sister who wasn’t able to do the race).
Let’s be real though. It did not start out as a normal race.
There were no lines at all for the portapotties. (This is a good thing but usually unheard of at any race. I’ve never experienced it before and was pleasantly surprised!)
There was Disney music at the start/finish line. (I love everything Disney and can sing the lines to nearly every Disney classic).
We situated ourselves at the back of the crowd. Yes, in the very last wave. We hadn’t even started running and I was already having fun. It may have been because we took our “I beat the blerch” photo before we had taken a single step of the race.
We alternated between running and walking throughout the 6.2 miles. The race was an out-and-back on a trail so we were able to see the other runners come by.
This included Brent who came whizzing by us, looking strong and holding a doughnut in his hand! I am confident to say that he is the only runner who won his age group while eating a doughnut. (Correct me if I’m wrong).
The volunteers were friendly and energetic. The Blerches insisted that we not “work so hard” and just “sit down and take a nap.” Although a nap sounded appealing, we continued on.
The three of us finished the race together. I may have pushed Emily (a little) to finish strong. I mean this in the verbal sense — I did not physically push her! She sat down shortly after we reunited with Brent and took a seat on the ground. She looked up at Jackie and I and asked us why we didn’t look tired.
You know, this is just part of my not-so-secret plan to turn all of my friends into runners. It’s slowly happening. Once I get them all running, I can get them to do marathons with me, too, right?
This was Emily’s first race ever. She intended to walk the whole thing but Jackie and I got us all to run about half of it. That’s pretty fantastic for someone who didn’t get a chance to train! And, best of all: She says she would do it again!
Yes, it was hard for me to hold back and not go all out race mode, like I normally would. (I can’t recall if I’ve ever walked during a race. I don’t think I have?) But, going blerch mode with my friends was just what I needed after doing 9 miles the day before … I guess I am tapering for the Portland Marathon, after all.
We ate more cake after we had finished the race. Well, I actually just piled my plate with potato chips. (Seriously, chips are the best post-race food. Ever). The sun was out. And, everyone was happy.
Sometimes I may get too caught up, too serious about my marathon training in the eyes of my family and friends.
But, times like these are here to remind me why I even started running in the first place.
To be with friends and to have a good time.
(Thank you for that, high school cross-country).