There is something about “racing” that is an exciting rush.
If anyone is unsure if they are a runner or not, signing up and being at the start line of any ” doesn’t matter the distance” Kona race, is one sure way to become “hooked.”
Without question and despite the temperature, this positive, upbeat, high energy, smile filled, crowd of strangers and my closest friends, are the people that I want to surround myself in my “free time.”
Despite the temperature dipping to below zero at the start of the 10k race at the Kona St. Patrick’s Day run, the feel in the air was electric. There was green and smiles everywhere! A smile took over my body as friends who were there to run the race as well, called out my name, and ran over for hugs……..or to absorb more body heat!
There was no warm bed in the world that could have kept me away from this celebration.
I was ready to race! And race I did! It’s been fun putting the proverbial pedal to the medal the last couple of races. I’m currently in high mileage weeks as I train for my fifth Boston Marathon, so the 10k distance doesn’t alarm me…….but how fast I wanted to try and go gives me a chill that had nothing to do with the temperature that day.
I’ve been chasing the fast crowd with my Downtown Detroit Runners and Walkers, but I’m never on the clock and so seeing how that type of running was going to transfer to a race when it was below freezing had me curious.
The crowd turned their attention to the Star Spangled Banner and to the entertainment on the stage. I stayed snugly wrapped in my black Winter jacket – the announcer said go – I took off my jacket – I ran – I ran fast!
My fingers hurt they were so cold, but There wasn’t anything to do besides to continue moving forward. There was no crowd support, as I had experienced in the November Kona run. The sound of my breathe and the unforgiving thump of a competitor’s hard foot strike against the frozen ground was all I could hear. It’s really all I needed to hear. I stayed focused, I kept going, I found different gears when I needed to, and with about a mile left to go I decided to see if I had enough to go after a couple of the girls in front of me.
I know that sometimes you make a move and its too soon, and you plunk out. Some days you make a move and there’s enough to be enough. Today was one of those days. It’s never “fun” to go around someone in the last mile. I’ve been on the “go-around” end of that and its a bummer. I never get too confident because frankly, if they’re up with this part of the pack, they’re pretty good, and you never know what someone may have left in their tank.
I had to work to get around the girl with the dog. She didn’t want to give up her place. I stayed calm, kept strong, and in a few more steps, went around. The next girl was visibly struggling. I went around her and breathed out a “keep working”. I always send good thoughts to those I run with, behind, and around. I’ve come to believe that running is so much more than just taking strides. Each person toes the line with such unique stories that have made up their journey to the line; especially when there was frost on this start line today. So I did it, I had ran hard, my own race, and had one final gear that brought me solidly in to the finish line. I was giddy to hear that my hard work had moved me up into a podium spot. I always hear my father’s words, “better to sweat stink and win, than sweat stink and lose.” Even though I never really feel like I’ve lost when I’m fortunate enough to run any event at any speed. I’m in complete gratitude to Kona for giving me such a great opportunity today to a run a beautifully organized and well supported event. I not only did myself proud, but I believe I ran strong for my therapist, Steve at Tri-Covery.
Still, third woman over-all allowed me to run away and out of the cold, with my hard earned St Patrick’s Day stein, to enjoy some green recovery hydration!