Category Position: 10/37
The Dunecht Dash was meant to be a shake out for my legs after the Loch Leven half marathon, and as a way of taking pressure off of myself to go for a killer time, I had decided well in advance that I was going to go in some sweet fancy dress, since there were a lot of people I know running as well. Unfortunately, I never got round to securing my YMCA leather biker costume before the weekend, and opted to wear the tech tee I got yesterday in an attempt to excuse a poor time. Teri, who I ran with yesterday, had offered to pick me up in the morning. It seems we were both feeling extra stylish: We were even wearing the same Garmin. Too far.
We were advised to arrive early (we did) as parking was limited (it was – though there was an overflow parking lot), so we found that we had plenty of time to kill before the start at 12:15. Luckily, there was a kids 2k race on at 11:30, so we giggled at their enthusiasm warming up to ‘Gangham Style’, and other such pop hits, and then found a prime viewing position for the start, cheering them on as they leapt into action! Some of the kids were TINY, so it was pretty adorable watching them, tongue’s out, pumping their arms with determination. I had been pretty emotional during the weekend because of non-running stuff going on, so I was actually choking up a bit. Very unlike me.
It wasn’t long at all before the leaders of the kids race came storming up the hill towards the finish, where the bagpipers had started up. All the parents and 5k runners lined the path and cheered on the kids. Now, I swear that I do not want my uterus invaded by the world’s most beautiful, talented, and clever baby any time soon, but I feel I must reiterate that these kids were extra cute breaking into goofy smiles when they sprinted to the finish line. Except for the girl who was crying and being dragged along by her dad – that was just hilarious.
After all the kids had finished, it was time for our warm up. Usually, I shun such amateur stuff (translation: my coordination is appalling), but my legs were stiff as hell (especially my quads), so I thought I might as well go for some cheesy aerobics to try and loosen up. I’m not even being sarcastic when I say my enthusiasm was evident – I shimmied, twirled, and bounced with all the grace of a monkey on crack, but I definitely felt looser. And ridiculous, obviously, but as I was joined by Teri, Danielle (who was there with her husband – NOT partaking in the warm up), Susan, and a few others, it didn’t really matter.
Warm up done, we reluctantly shuffled towards the start area. As we were being counted down, I still wasn’t sure whether I was going to go for an easy run and enjoy half an hour in the somewhat mild weather, or push myself to ‘burning lung’ stage. As the horn sounded, I went for it.
The course weaves around the Dunecht Estate on tarmac roads, and is very gently undulating. The start was a nice downhill stretch and I clocked my pace at 7:xx whenever I looked at my watch. My lungs were burning by the first kilometer, so I guess I’d made my decision already, and I settled in for 20 more minutes of pain. My pace dipped a bit as the race went on, but I was determined to come in under 25 minutes. As I turned a gentle corner to the right, I realized that I was looking uphill to the finish line, and I picked up the pace despite my very real concern that I might throw up all over myself. I watched 23:59 tick over to 24:00 on my Garmin, and realized that I’d have to really push to make it to the finish in less than a minute. I continued to ignore the increasingly strong urge to vomit (and my screaming quads) and grimaced my way to the end (forgetting, as always, to stop my watch or look at the time). I got my medal (unexpected), a bottle of water, a banana, and a goody bag (also unexpected), and found Teri ‘speed demon’ Brown waiting for me. She’d managed to finish her first 5k run in 22:39, which was good enough to secure her 1st place for her age group!
She was so shocked she actually screamed when they called out her name, and I overheard someone say, “Best reaction ever”, even over her excitement. Teri wasn’t the only one who had a successful race – Danielle managed a PB too!
Teri and I eventually made our way back to the car. Our elation at how well we had both done, especially after what felt like such a punishing half marathon the day before, kept us in high spirits during the drive home. This joy lasted until I got dropped off and had to walk to my apartment on toes that could accurately be described as tenderized beef. I hope they forgive me for the 10k they’ll be taking me through next Sunday.
It has been a while since I’ve run any short and fast races, especially with my first two marathons within 6 months of each other, and now that I have a bit of a break, I wouldn’t mind trying to get a little bit of speed back. Here’s hoping the next short-ish race I do will be a little bit less painful.