09 August 2008

Hot Summer Night 4 Mile race report

This is my 2nd year of running this race at Jonesboro. It's very well organized, great volunteer support, awesome goodie bags and cute t-shirt designs. This year the goodie bag contained a cd wallet, can cozy, spf 15 lip balm, cytomax samples, and a technical t-shirt. It was catered by San Francisco Bread Co., had beer for free if you like beer (Michelob Ultra I think), and a live band for entertainment (they even played music I liked).

See, cute t-shirt graphic, but a really, really ugly color this year and the size small
is a guy's small so it's a bit big on me. Oh well, it will make a great layering piece for
when the weather turns cold. The back of the shirts have a small graphic that reads
"It's not about how fast you are........It's all about making it to the finish."

Last year, it lived up to it's name, actual temps was around 97-99F with heat indexes
of well over 100. Last night was much nicer with temps in the low 80s. Yes, I am wearing a running skirt. The taller blonde behind me is Carol, we met earlier in the year (February) at the 15k in Little Rock. She recently ran a marathon in Hawaii (oooh, makes me almost consider training for a marathon if I could get a vacation in HI!). She's also one of the few people that has a ponytail almost as out of control as mine, LOL.

My cheering section!

Yes, that reads 34:27, a new 4 mile p.r.!!!!!!!!!!!

The aftermath!

Okay, race recap time. Lined up near the front but should have gotten up on the front line with Carol, she sprinted out hard and got a 100 yard lead that I could never make up. They didn't have anybody calling out the times at the mile markers and I wasn't wearing a watch or garmin so had no clue of my pace but I deliberately went out slightly slower than last weekend. Skipped the first water stop because it was less than a quarter mile from the start, but did grab water at the next 3. Routine was to run up grab the water, say thank you, walk while taking 1-2 sips, then throw the cup down, and start running again--I can't run and drink at the same time yet.

There is a slight incline for the first mile and a lot of people take off hard and burn themselves out before they even get to the big climb at Highland (I think that's the street). This one is a fairly steep climb and you can run on the sidewalk or the road at your own risk. I chose the sidewalk and had a good rhythm going up the hill and did a lot of passing. We then turn into a residential area that has some beautiful houses, is very well shaded, and best of all, several people had turned their sprinklers on so they would spray into the street so the runners could cool down if they wanted (ahhh!). I'm still doing good but the hardest part of the race is coming up (at least for me). This is a section that is flat but it's the frontage road next to Hwy 63, no tree cover and always a stiff headwind. I catch up to a guy that had been kind of leapfrogging with me for the past 2 miles and pass him for good at this point and this is where another woman takes off, passing me, and catching up to Carol (and passing her before the finish).

I'm struggling at this point, decide that I really do not like 4 mile races and wonder why in the hell I'm doing this to myself. Keep wanting to walk but tell myself to HTFU. Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop is my mantra but in between the "don't stops"are the I really, really want to stops. Make the turn onto the grass, hear James yell "Go Gabrielle!" and give him a wave. Get to the final turn, look up at the clock and it's showing 34:06 and I decide I really don't want that to hit 35 so found a final sprint and made it in 34:27. Can't believe it, even now. I was just hoping to match what I did last Saturday and here I beat it by well over 2 minutes. Last year's time was 41:39 but it was much hotter and everybody's time was fairly slow.

At this point, I'm not sure of my placement so sit down and eat with Carol and a couple of her friends while waiting for the awards ceremony. They give awards to the top 10 male and female runners, the top 5 male and female walkers, top 3 masters, top 3 in the age groups, etc. When they call out the woman that finished just after Carol for 10th place I know that I'm going to get first in the 35-39 age group. This is the 2nd year in a row that Carol has won 9th female overall by the way, she is an awesome runner! The official results are still not up but I was either 11th or 12th female overall so I'm very happy! It's also the 2nd year in a row that I brought home the 1st place 35-39 award. Last year was a small decorative tile, this year's award is an insulated lunch bag, I think I like the tile better. Next year I'm gunning for the top ten to get one of the very cool collapsible chairs.

Can't say enough nice things about the volunteers, most everybody was very enthusiastic, the Jonesboro police officers were super polite (even acted like they were happy to be out there to help!). One water stop was staffed by college girls wearing wild wigs and had music playing, another was staffed by Boy Scouts, the 3 mile water stop had more teenage girls (they were offering the cups of water and also offering to splash you if you wanted), one of the turns had this cute little girl doing a cheer about it being the last hill. It's just refreshing to have a race with that many lively volunteers. Maybe because it was an evening race rather than an early morning race--I know I'm not exactly a ray of sunshine in the morning.

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