El Paso and the Springfoot Marathon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
1. It's a tiny race. I've never run in a smaller race outside of the local running club races in Lubbock, certainly not one I had to travel hundreds of miles for (1500 miles. Someone asked and I looked it up). All of the runners were super supportive of one another--people were honestly talking to me like we were BFFs, to the point that I started to wonder if I'd met some of these folks before and just didn't remember them. Of course, with that few people and that much time together, we practically were BFFs by the time we finished.
2. Seriously, I can't get over how friendly they all were. A total stranger wandered up to me before the race and started to chat about growing up in El Paso (him) and how many races we'd run (both of us) and how far I travelled to be there (all me). He was pretty good-looking, too, so clearly I should have gotten his phone number. The crowd support along the course was thin, but who cares when we carried our own crowd support with us?
|I played with the colours on this pic, because what better|
time to play with colour than on someone else's pic?
So, the sky wasn't really that shade of turquoise. The
mountains were really there, though, and the course was
magnificient. Photo courtesy of the amazing Scott.
(Yes, my eyes are closed. I was taking a wee nap.)
|I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything to these photos and |
the sky really was that blue.
5. There was a hill, but it wasn't terrible. You may remember I was a bit nervous about the hill in the middle of the race after looking at the course elevation chart a few weeks back. At the expo, local expert and pre-tour-guide extraordinaire Scott talked me through the entire course, pointing out all the places where the course went around the hills instead of over them, and summing up worst of the inclines as, "It'll be easier running than if you were on a bike." Having now run it with my bikey eyes: I agree. This is why I have so many bikey friends, y'all. They make my life better.
6. I got to finish here:
|So that was cool. It's as pretty on the inside |
as it is on the outside. The El Paso Chihuahuas
play here--I just learned that while writing this
and had no idea while I was running.
Photo courtesy of Marty the Magnificient.
7. The finisher medal is beautiful. My Indy Mini medal is still my favourite of all time, but Springfoot is definitely the prettiest one I own. I've been showing it off to everyone who made the mistake of standing still near me for more than 30 seconds in the past week. It's now hanging on my wall with all the rest of my medals, which should be a relief to my coworkers.
So on Saturday, when Marty and Shane asked how fast I thought I would run, I said I had 2:46 on my iPod but that may have been a tad optimistic. What I should have said, of course, was that I would go out way too fast, fade at about mile 3, the wheels would be completely off the wagon by mile 8, and I'd stagger home the last couple miles. That's what I do at every race, including this one. So, my final time was 2:50:55, which is not quite the "now let's go get a PR" launchpoint I was hoping it would be, but was better than I expected giving how I'd felt at race start. (I woke up with a headache, which I always knew would happen someday, and while it wasn't a full-fledged migraine, I did manage a few migraine-y symptoms. Whatever you're imagining right now: yes, that. And it lasted until the literal minute the race began.)
On the upside, Central Indiana is pancake-flat, which is a big help to this PR chase at the Indy Mini. I don't expect an absolute PR, as I've said before, but want to fly through it as fast as I can. I've heard this approach called something fancy that I can't remember, but essentially it's for those of us who can't run as fast now as we did in our 20s but who still work hard to keep getting better. Although, obviously, I'd love it if I can get down to my absolute PR again in the next year or two--it helps that I was never all that fast in my 20s. Regardless, Indy is ahead of me (insert "start your engines" joke here) and I plan to fall down once I'm past the finish line, after leaving everything on the road.