The Turtle

I’m not going to keep you in suspense about my 8k race.

(1) I finished.
(2) I ran the whole thing.
(3) I finished 621st out of 627 runners.

Oh, yes, I did.

In case you are wondering, I am the turtle referred to in the title up there. Slow and steady may not win the race, but it sure as hell finished it. I am really, really (really) proud of myself.

Check me out as I crossed the finish line:

Stimey crosses the finish line!

Actually, this is me re-creating my crossing the finish line for my friend Barrie who was took this super flattering photo.

I had an amazing time. Alex took Jack to hockey and Quinn to gymnastics and I headed out to the race by myself. I was so happy though to have my own support team there to take care of me. My friend Lindsay was there with her kids to run the 2-mile fun run and they stayed for me. Amazing.

My friend Emily made a sign to cheer me on and she rooted for me from two different places on the race route. Phenomenal.

My friend Melissa decided to race too and she kicked some ass. I saw her run off in front of me at the start line. I didn’t see her again until the end. She’s my inspiration.

Lindsay and Melissa, each joined by her kids, ran me in the last stretch. It was really wonderful. Although I’m a little mad at Melissa’s daughter, however, for leaving me in her dust in the last meters before the finish line. Evidently, she is still claiming to have won the race. That’s her in that photo above. I think she might be wondering why *I* am having my photo taken when clearly *she* is the one who won.

Then there were the people who stayed on the race course long after the fast runners, medium runners, and slow runners went by to cheer on the stragglers. I got a little teary around mile four when I ran past, among others, a guy emphatically clapping for me on his porch. People are nice.

I also learned that if you are one of the laaaaaaast people across the finish line, everyone cheers really loud for you and your sticktoitiveness.

Support like that is even more awesome than 8-minute miles.

I mean, I assume. I wouldn’t know for sure. It’ll be a long time before I run an 8-minute mile.

An 8k is aaaaalllmost 5 miles and I ran it in about an hour and 12 minutes, which means I ran about fourteen-and-a-half minute miles, which sounds about right. The GPS on my phone thinks I ran farther and faster than I actually did, which makes me kind of love the GPS. I mean, it was awesome to hear in my headphones: “You have run one point zero miles at 13 minutes and four seconds per mile.” Once it got to five miles though, and I still had nearly a mile to go, I started to wonder about its accuracy.

Stimey's 5.71-mile 8k

There are many funky things going on in this phone screenshot.

Let’s start at the top.

(1) 5.71 miles? That would make me awesome, but I don’t think I zigzagged along the racecourse enough to add a whole three-quarters of a mile to the route. I might need to invest in a better, non-iPhone-app GPS.

(2) Run/Jog: At least it didn’t peg my speed as “walk,” but way to twist the knife a little, Map My Run, with that, “Well, you’re not reeealllly running, are you now, Stimey?” dig.

(3) Again with the 5.71 miles. Yes. I know. You think I’m awesome, but you don’t have to lie to me twice.

(4) I started and stopped the app a little on the outside of my run, which added the extra time, but I DO appreciate the little gold trophy. Maybe they gave it to me because I ran so many damn miles. (5.71 of them.)

(5) A Burt’s Bees Facebook contest?! I should click that!

I had to scroll down and take a different screenshot for my next set of stats.

Stimey's race stats

I know you’re bored. But if you let me get it all out today, then I won’t talk about it for the next six months.

I’m not sure at what point I was running nearly 18 miles an hour, but good for me! I think my 3:22 min/mi pace might put me in some record books too. Either I’m not smart enough to understand these stats, or I actually won the race and the reason I was running by myself was because I was so goddamned fast.

I’m going to go with the latter.

Frankly, even a 13 minute mile is pretty outlandish for me.

Okay. So thems the basics. Some other stuff happened too. Let’s see. Here are some of them:

• When I got a text from Alex 15 minutes before the race was too start I was all, “Awwww, he’s texting to wish me good luck!” But he was really texting me to find out if I knew the wifi password at the hockey rink. I eventually forgave him, but only because he toted the children around all morning and then rubbed my back later.

• When that racewalker passed me at the half-mile mark and I never saw her again, I started to realize that I run just about as fast as most people walk. In fact, my race friends (although I don’t think they knew that’s who they were) were two women, one who stayed mostly ahead of me and one who stayed mostly behind me, who were walk/running the race and stayed at just about the same pace as my steady shuffle.

• There was a short stretch of road near the midpoint turnaround where I actually saw other runners because we were running on the same road. I was excited to get to the turnaround and see how many people were behind me. Yes, a million people passed me and a million people started and stayed in front of me, but I was sure that I couldn’t possibly be the slowest runner to have registered for the race. I was right. There were…several racers behind me. Like, at least 10—as well as the truck that picks up collapsed runners and cones to reopen the streets. I felt a little bit like that truck was a vulture circling around me.

• Also, can we talk about water stations for a minute? I run with a water bottle, because it helps me to run, but I got a cup of water at both water stations because I don’t pass up anything that is free. My question is, can someone tell me how you’re supposed to drink from a cup when you’re running? Even if you’re running slowly? At the first table, I took the water and promptly spilled it all over myself. Then I tossed my cup on the ground with all the other cups and felt like a criminal for littering. I think throwing cups on the ground was the hardest part of my race. The only time I walked was at the second water station, when it took me about ten feet to drink my water. And then, because it was so late in the race, there was already a lady sweeping up the cups. So I had to basically throw my cup AT her, which made me feel not just like a criminal, but an asshole criminal.

• I am super awesome. I ran an 8k.

You just wait until next year, Kensington 8k. I’m coming for you. And next time, I’m going to be one of the first 600 people to finish.

*****

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42 thoughts on “The Turtle

  1. Congratulations. You are awesome. Advice that an actual runner gave me once was to walk through the water stations, which I did – in the single race I have been in. I know it sort of messes with the “run the whole thing” mantra, but I think it counts as running if you only slow down to hydrate.

    Woohoo!

  2. Woo-hoo! You’re awesome! And I run just as slow as you, if not slower. Speed walkers fly by me.

    And I’ve never figured out the water stations, either. How DO you drink and run at the same time?

  3. You ran an 8k and you did it much faster than all those people who stayed at home on the couch, so count them as being behind you on that race, also. Congratulations! You are awesome. I’m shaking my pom poms for you.

  4. First off, go you! Congrats on your race!

    As far as the water, pinch the cup so you can sort of pour it into your mouth. I have to tell you though, I’ve run a stupid number of races and I’ve found that walking through the water stop does not hurt my time. Just walk it, get the liquid in, get moving again.

    I’ve volunteered at a few water stops and it’s not biggie to sweep the cups up. At one race I was standing too near the trashcan and people kept trying to hit it when they ran by – I was covered in gatorade by the end. I would have preferred they just toss the cup on the ground LOL.

    • EXCELLENT tip about pinching the cup! I will do that next time. And probably still spill all over myself. :) Also, thank you for making me feel better about throwing my cup on the ground. At least I didn’t drench the sweeper!

    • You could easily do it by next year. Easily. Do couch to 5k. Repeat some weeks if you have to. It took me probably 12 weeks to do the 8-week program. And now I can run 5 miles.

  5. you GO Stimey!

    And I am always appreciative of the in-context use of unusual words. Since I don’t blog, I’ll have to work blerg into my work e-mails since that is about the only writing I seem to do. I’ll refer them to you if they need a definition.

    from what i’ve been able to tell, sticktoitiveness is probably the single most useful trait to have in life.

  6. Congratulations! You finished! That is great. Last year I did a bike “race” in which I finished not only last but a half-hour after the next last person. It was sweet. I can only hope you enjoyed your triumph half as much! As for the water – I use a Camelback. Much easier and it makes you look so serious. As for the racewalkers: I understand they are doing more than 20k per hour. For the record, that is faster than I ride. Thank you for all of your posts. If you only knew how much I enjoy reading them. All the best to you and your wonderful family, and congratulation on the new host.

    • Thank you so much!!! I considered a Camelback, but didn’t know if it would bother me while running. I’ll keep it in mind, for sure.

      Racewalkers are hardcore. They really do move!

      And, yes, the triumph was fantastic!! Congrats (a year late) on your bike race too! :)

  7. You are super awesome! And you should be proud – that race was hard – stupid Bexhill Road. Congrats!!! And for what it’s worth, at the end of the race, my husband said to me “well, so did you see the woman without an arm? She finished before you. But remember that one-legged guy last year you finished before you. So hey, good job.”
    Thanks husband. All that matters is finishing, right??

    • Yeah, I was moving pretty slow up those hills. :) By the time you saw me, I was practically counting steps to the end. But, I did finish before the one-legged guy this year, who looked like he might have been in much better shape than me. And the very elderly man, who is actually now my inspiration for my senior years. I’m really proud of all us 620+ers. :)

  8. You are a BADASS! I’m so proud of you for doing that. 5 MILES! Seriously. And if it makes you feel better my average run time is around 15:30 min/mi so you’re faster than me! :)

  9. I have been struggling with Couch to 5K for a year now, and I am only up to 4 minutes of running at a time. So I am HUMONGOUSLY IMPRESSED that you ran that whole dang thing! You rock!!!!

  10. I always did my long runs with one of those Camelbacks, which are awesome even if the SLOSH SLOSH SLOSH can make you have to pee. But then I decided not to use on for my half marathon, which was stupid, and I was COVERED in Gatorade by the end of it thanks to my shaky exhaustion hands– even with walking through the stops. No bueno.

    • I’ve looked at the Camelbacks. Which model do you have? Does it bounce around along with the sloshing, or does is just slosh. I could probably deal with the sloshing. I do not think I could deal with Gatorade. In fact, I’m a little concerned about running longer distances, because as I understand it, you’re supposed to consume something called “Gu” and I don’t think I can make myself do it.

  11. HAHA! Hilarious!!

    Seriously, though, YOU DID AWESOME!!!! An 8k is a long distance for a first race, and that was a tough course! You should be so proud of yourself, I am!!

    Next year we’ll rematch Kennedy and leave her in the dust ;)

  12. First, Congratulations!! Whether it’s considered a run, or a run/jog, 8K is definitely awesome.
    Second, do you think the GPS app gives you extra miles for hills? Hills should count extra.
    Also, your friend’s daughter appears to be gazing up with you with admiration. :)

    I almost don’t want to know – were there zombies?

  13. Oh – I was posting a comment and then stepped away… Happy to hear that there were not zombies at this event. I’m kind of scared of them, even though I don’t believe they exist.
    Karen G

  14. Wow! I am totally impressed! Congratulations! I have been doing C25K for several weeks now. I do it on the treadmill while my toddler naps. As a non-runner, I am totally convinced I could not do this outside in our hilly neighborhood. Did you do the whole C25K program outside? Again, wow!

  15. this toe-tally made me laugh out loud. i just ran my first 5k (you are better than i am) and i had the same water problem–as in, what do i do with my cup? what? i throw it on the ground? but…but…but…we are in a field! at least i threw my cup in the pile with others. some people threw theirs down so far away from the pile i didn’t think they would get picked up with all the others!

    i also don’t know how you drink when you so desperately need to keep breathing. i mean, when i stopped to drink, i thought that i would pass out from lack of oxygen! i didn’t really like the water stops that much.

    in other news, when i read your posts it makes me want to post about my own experiences on the same topic, but then i don’t want to seem like a total copy-cat. i mean, now i see how i could write about my own 5K experience, but parts of it will sound like yours now that i’ve read yours. the last thing i want to be is a copy-cat or, worse, a plagiarizer!

  16. I’m late reading this post, but congrats on the race! Slower runners deserve a special kind of respect — because they are giving it their all for a much longer time than the speedy people at the front. I tend to be more in the front-of-the-middle-pack, but admire both those faster and those slower than me. That’s one of the things I love about running. Everyone gets to be awesome if they try.

    • Someone also suggested to me that because I run so damn slow, I am actually exercising for a really long time. So there is that too. :)

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