Friday, February 1, 2013

Me + Jeff Gordon = Twins!

Fraternal, obviously.

This is really just a recap of a 5k. The title makes it sound much more exciting, though, doesn't it?! C'mon...would you have been just as excited to read a post called "I Ran a 5k. Read All About It"?

Didn't think so.

This was my first year racing in the Daytona 5k. My brother-in-law's wife picked it out for us, and I'm a pretty easy sell, when it comes to races.
in case you were picturing a scary Race Boss-Lady. She's actually very lovely, all around
 
The race starts on the Daytona International Speedway. It loops around the inside track and finishes on the track. So, the runners are pretty much. somewhat similar to? exactly like the drivers who race on the same Speedway!
 
Also, the race coincides with the Rolex 24, an actual Nascar race, so there were even die-hard fans camped out on the infield to complain about us waking them cheer us on! The concept was pretty cool, but it made for a stressful (for me) parking situation. The Husband drove me, my dad and the boys to the race and handled the poorly-marked signage like a champ.
 
Once parked, my dad and I managed to find a set of port-a-potties with NO LINE and we all hopped on the well-manned Tram to get to the packet pick-up area.
 
It was just under 50 degrees F, which made me ridiculously happy. It's so rare that we Floridians get to race in conditions like that. My high hopes for a PR inched up a notch higher.
 
Our goody bags contained a ticket to the Rolex 24, a couple of race flyers, a shirt and the standard biofreeze sample. I managed to end up with a tee shirt, instead of a tech shirt. This has happened to me before. Not a big deal, but I hadn't complained about anything since the Parking Problem, so I thought it was about time. The race wasn't terribly well-advertised, so I wasn't expecting much in the way of "swag". Despite this fact, over 800 people still showed to up run. Those kinds of numbers are pretty high for our area!
t-shirt proof
 
(I'm still pretty sure some of the participants were Nascar fans who may have wandered away from their campsites and ended up on the track.)
some other cuties who wandered onto the track
 
We found my brother-in-law (Alan) and his wife (Kristi-Anne) (pictured above, for reference) and pinned on our bibs without much time to spare. She'd drawn the short straw and would be pushing their toddler in the race. Alan would get to show off and beat us all, as per usual. This would be my dad's first race in over a year, due to persistent (and REALLY annoying) injuries so we were all pretty ready to start running. There was no time for a warm-up and no water to be found. (too soon for another complaint?), so we hurried over to where we thought the start would be.
 
There was an enormous mass of people that prevented us from even seeing where the start line was located. We saw one guy point in a vague direction and crossed our fingers that we'd see a timing mat, at some point. My dad, Alan and I saw people moving and assumed the race had started. Unsure if it was chip-timed at the finish AND start, I began weaving like a crazylady. The menfolk followed my lead and we eventually made our way out of the throng of racers.
 
While I don't love that sort of cluster at a start, I do have to admit it was pretty fun to pass that many people, once we got moving.
 
About 1/2 mile in, my BIL passed me and I focused on keeping his back in sight. I figured my dad was probably using me as a visual pacing reference, as well. I was feeling very strong, very much in control of my breathing and very confident with him about 30 feet in front of me.
 
And then I heard it. The annoyingly familiar snap-flop sound of my shoelaces, all willy-nilly and free, slapping the pavement.
 
"Aaaaahhh! Are you kidding me?!" 
 
Dear Mr. or Mrs. Brooks : I will give you ten, crisp dollars to fix the laces on these shoes.
Sincerely, Aggravated Consumer
 
In answer to your question : Yes. I always double-knot my shoes. These laces are notorious for coming undone and it was my own fault for not remembering that.
 
I made the agonizing to decision to step out of everyone's way and re-tie the shoe, as I felt it actually slipping off. While I had no qualms about finishing shoe-less, I would've felt awful about someone tripping over it. I didn't stop my watch and saw, later, that I lost over 25 seconds double-knotting (again!) the stupid shoe.
 
I re-focused and re-passed a lot of the racers who'd sped by me while I was crouched in annoyance. Alan, however, was merely a speck in the distance. Undeterred, and knowing I still had a decent chance of placing in my age group, I pressed on. 
 
Then, just after the 2nd mile marker, you'll never guess what happened! (those of you who already know the story, don't spoil it for the others, please)
 
The same, double-knotted, stupid, stinking, good-for-nothing laces came undone. Again. I'm still not at the point where I can think about it and laugh. It was really, really, really annoying and frustrating.
 
In a longer race, I could've made up the time. Not so much in a 5k.
 
This time, however, there was no way I was tying those things again. My gait was wonky, as I fought to curl my speedy foot inside the rapidly loosening shoe, but by golly I was not stopping. As if to taunt me, the laces themselves flew up and smacked me in the calf, repeatedly.
 
"Yoo hoo. We're untied and flopping about wildly!" the jerks teased.
 

Ironic Spoiler: I didn't fall. That happened the next day, with my laces firmly intact.
 
My watch showed 21:55 when I crossed the finish line. Being on the Official Racetrack, and all, I figured that was probably as accurate as a 5k was going to get. There weren't too many women in front of me, so I was pretty happy.
 
Not a PR, thanks to the unruly laces, but good enough to garner me:
 
6th Female, overall
1st Female, 35-39
44th, overall
shiny!
 
My brother-in-law also finished 1st in his division and my dad, 5th. My sister-in-law, in an effort to end the protests of my stroller-bound nephew, flew through the race with a sub-28 minute finish!
me and my fastie daddy. Kinda posing...kinda trying not to roll down the steep bank
 
Alan & I, awkwardly proclaiming our results...and trying not to roll down the steep bank
 
 
The kids race started right on time, which is always awesome. The folks in charge forgot to bring ribbbons to hand out, though. Not quite so awesome.
 
The Littlest, powering through the Finish
The Middlest, leading a cutthroat pack
 
We found some other runner-friends and caught up during the awards ceremony. After I fought my way through the paparazzi, though, to head to the car, I was very sad to discover all the post-race goodies had been packed up and taken away. Missing out on bagels and bananas may have been more upsetting than the lack of a PR, for me.
 
In Summary:
 
  • I'd recommend this race. It's a fun and unique experience with a good-sized turnout and smooth organization.
  • Don't try to park where you see the giant, well-light "Competitor Parking" sign. It's not meant for you. Drive down the road until you see a small arrow and confusing rows of vehicles.
  • I can't guarantee you'll get a tech shirt. If you do, can I trade you?
  • If you see me, on the racetrack, steer clear. It's very likely that my shoelaces are untied and I don't want you to trip me us.
  • If you see a dark-haired girl, with a adorable-yet-vocal toddler in a jogging stroller, steer clear of her, too. She may run you down in an effort to finish and free him from his restraints.
  • When you finish the race, make a beeline for the food tables and just start grabbing. That stuff will be gone before you know it.
  • If you get tired, these guys know the perfect place to relax and reflect on the race
Somewere out there, a jealous Nascar fan is dying to have that white paint all over their backside
 
Ever been to a Nascar race?
 
Do you have any tricks for keeping laces tied?