Monday, December 15, 2008

whose idea was it again to run a roadrace the day after my birthday?

So this past Friday night was my 31st birthday. This past Saturday morning was my first-ever road race. I wish I could tell you I had a few glasses of wine with my friends before heading home to get a good night's rest before the 8:30 AM race time.

But instead, I decided to throw a Champagne-themed house party, lapping my guests 2-1 with refills.

My friends from Syracuse were in town, and I had the best time ever (last I recall we almost closed the bar down at Prohibition), and I passed out on my couch (my friends snuck into my bed!)

Before this year, I would have a) never even thought of signing up for the race in the first place knowing I'd want to put my all into my party or b) sign up but not give two thoughts about skipping it when I woke up in the morning.

So I was a little amazed when my eyes opened on their own at 7:30 AM without an alarm clock, my running gear miraculously made it onto my body, and my arms and legs marched me out into the not-at-all forgiving winter weather. It was almost like my body knew my brain would be no good, and just said, "okay, seriously, let us handle this," propelling me forward toward the 102nd street starting line.

At the race start, I felt my muscles take over, tying on my chip, fastening my number on my fleece, finding a place in line and stumbling into a slow jog as the sound went off. Thankfully there was water right away (can you be dehydrated if alcohol is still in your system?). And my pace grew steady as I coasted carefully, trying not to teeter too much in either direction, along with the rest of runners.

I kept my thoughts to a bare minimum (otherwise I knew I'd duck out of the race); but I did find one thing amusing: pretty much everyone was passing by me like cars speeding by one of those nice old ladies in her motorized wheelchair on the side of the road. But like those grandmas I couldn't help but smile. Waking up, getting out there, not letting past predict my present, I felt like some new part of me had found it's way out.

As I finished the four miles, my Team in Training folks cheering me on from the sidelines, I was tired, hungover and numb from the cold, but I still felt better than I had in a long time.

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