Monday, September 23, 2013

How We Measure Change - Auburn Rocket 10K Race Recap

Gypsy and I ready to toe the starting line

Yesterday's race was the Auburn Rocket Race - a 5 or 10K to benefit a local town's youth center.  I ended up at this race with my best tri buddy Gypsy, as she is 3 weeks out from rocking her first half marathon, and a 10K race was in her schedule.  After my last race, I was having demented fantasies of signing up for an olympic distance triathlon on this weekend for lots of time and money I didn't possess, so she suggested I come out to this nice little local race instead.  Wisdom.

The only concern headed into this race was the weather.  80-90% chance of rain, said the internet.  At 4:00 am on race morning, I was awoken by my scaredy-cat shoving her whiskers in my face, shaking and asking for pets because she was scared of the absolute monsoon that was going on outside.

I've never been a huge fan of running in the rain.  Nice soft rain, sure.  But the kind that gets you soaked to the skin and freezing within seconds - forget it.  I casually emailed Gypsy the night before about the weather, and her response was, "Yup, it looks crummy.  So I'll pick you up at 8:40..."  No reprieve there.  I woudl expect nothing less from her :)  So I tossed and turned and worried until it was time to get up, and brought all possible combinations of clothing, headgear, and electronics to the race.

Luckily, by the time we got there, it wasn't raining.  It was just cold.  There was a kids race beforehand - the kids were really cute but looked more or less all pretty miserable and bored in the cold and wet.  I was happy I left my gang home in their jammies.  We got registered (I had a little hysterical hiccup when they asked me 5 or 10? and I said 10K!), undressed into our running clothes, and to the starting line, where.....

What's the yellow thing breaking the clouds?

The SUN came out just as the gun went off.  Making what was supposed to be a cold, wet, run a hot steamy and sunny run.  My arm warmer came off pretty fast (the other was stuck under my arm strap.  Oh well).  At one point another girl, also wearing black, was running with me and said, "drywick my *ss!"  To which I replied, "No kidding - this is like running in a microwave!".  Steam was boiling off the blacktop the whole way.
Sunny steamy run

The course was rolling hills, and very pretty.  The second half of the run was downhill, except for one long uphill at mile 5.  Overall I was very pleased with my run - I kept a steady pace just under 10 most of the time.  I travelled with a group that kept leapfrogging eachother.  I was able to open up my stride on the downhills to gain ground (yay for healing hips!) and stayed strong on the uphills - even the one at Mile 5.  Never even close to walking.

My phone chirped 6.2 miles at exactly one hour.  I was nowhere near the finish line - turns out the course is actually somewhere between 6.4 (MapMyRide), 6.6 (Gypsy's Garmin), and 6.9 (my IPhone).  So I finished in 1:06 and change - which is the same as the Running of the Wolves 10K I did last month. That course was actually 6.2, so I call this an improvement.  Despite of not feeling 100%, Gypsy also finished fifth for the women, which as usual for her, totally rocks.  As a bonus, I ended up running into the chute to R.E.M's "It's the End of the World As We Know It", a song that will forever and always remind me of my coach, the Sheriff (childhood story - it's cute I swear).  It was Sheriff's birthday, so I was able to text him happy birthday and tell him I finished a sub-hour 10k to "our" song.

As usual, the conversation in the car on the way home revolved around our  planned 70.3, how we are going to get there, and how far we've come.  Every athlete has a different experience, and we are no exception.  Without over-sharing personal details, we both see the change in eachother more strongly than we can in ourselves.

Change has been on my mind a lot lately.  This morning I kissed my four-year-old son goodbye for work and saw the he was perfectly coloring in a pretty intricate firetruck in one of his coloring books.  When did he learn to do that?  My daughter can actually read several words in many of her books, which is new in the last few weeks (yay kindergarten!).  This morning I stepped on the scale (which I haven't done in weeks) to find that somehow I've hit my "vanity" weight.  That number on the scale I never expected to see again, and haven't done much to bring about.  How did that happen?

My biggest demon is mental, not physical - stress, anxiety - has ruled my life since I was a baby.  My mom will tell you I had my first panic attack at 18 months.  She's probably right.  A few days ago I was railing at the Jedi (and my mom, and Scarecrow....) that nothing I do seems to make any difference for this demon.  I started a cake business to have a creative outlet - no less crazy.  I became a triathlete (exercise is good for that, right?) - no less crazy.  I can't see (feel) the difference.  Jedi says he can, but I have trouble measuring any change.  Friends still tell me that I must never sleep because of the number of activities I'm into.  Which isn't true - thanks to modern medicine I sleep very well.  Most of the time.  But I get the sentiment - my post-race "cool-down" was making a scarecrow with the kids, gardening for a couple of hours, doing fall crafts with the kids, and making dinner.

Making scarecrows
So how do we really see change in ourselves?  When it's something like the ability to run nearly seven miles, or pace, or weight, it's easy.  But what about things you can't measure, like happiness?  Or mental health?  Maybe the first step is in how we chose to describe ourselves.  Because really, it's not that I'm crazy.  It's that I like to do crafts with my kids.  And the truth is that while the kids and Jedi would eat quesadillas five nights a week, I like to have a nice dinner, especially at the end of long days.  That's not me being crazy - that's me doing what makes me happy.

Apple stamping

Gypsy and I might be described as crazy for attempting to swim bike and run 70.3 miles, but it's not crazy to us.  So maybe if I stopped accepting that label and using it, I'd be able to see when a run makes me sleep better.  Or a long bike ride on a crisp afternoon makes me feel like all is right in the world.  Or crafting with my kids and seeing how different they are every day makes me incredibly proud to be their mom.  I can measure my weight with a scale, my heart rate with my HRM, my mileage, my pace, my calendar, and so many other aspects of life.  But there isn't a good way to measure my thoughts - and those thoughts make up so much of how I choose to perceive myself and the world around me.  If only I could buy a "negative thought counter" on Amazon I'd be perfect!!  Patent pending... I'll make a fortune!

If you're gonna run close to 7 miles, it might as well be for good swag.
Plenty of KT tape samples - trying it out on my sore foot

Next up, Jedi and I are dumping our kiddos with Legos (thank you Legos!!!) for the entire weekend and riding 110 miles across Cape Cod over the course of 2 days for the American Lung Association's Autumn Escape Bike Trek, sponsored by my company.  It should be a great weekend - and so far no monsoons in the forecast.  We have never been away from the kids overnight.  Our oldest is nearly 6.  It's sad.  And yes, we are so desperate that we are willing to bike 110 miles and sleep in bunk beds with my coworkers to do it.  But there's free food and two free team jerseys, and you know how I feel about that....

Our bike jerseys for the ALA ride, delivered to my desk this morning

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