Monday, April 16, 2012

A different kind of race

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to sign up for a small local 10k race, the Opossum Creek 10K. My only hesitation was that it was going to be only 6 days after the Texas Independence Relay, and after the tough (but awesome!) racing year I've had I didn't want to push myself too hard by piling on more races. However, it's hard to find good 10k races in Austin (want a 5K, however? No problem!), plus this one was in the country. If I don't have to drive into Austin for a race I'm a happy camper. I'd much rather run on country roads with a couple hundred people rather than fight twenty thousand of them in downtown Austin.

Another bonus- the race was on Greg's birthday! It would complete my "birthday runs" for the year. I ran Houston on my birthday, Austin on my daughter's birthday, and had a tough half marathon training run (in between the marathons) on my son's birthday, so of course I needed to do something on Greg's birthday, too!

I knew I wouldn't actually be "racing" this 10k, but instead planned to just have a good time, listen to my body, and just run with no real goal in mind. I didn't even plan to bring my Garmin! If you know me, you know this is HUGE. I have been pretty good about ignoring my Garmin on my recent runs, however. I was strangely looking forward to not having a clue how I was doing in a race until I crossed the finish line.

Sadly, Greg was really sick race morning and he and the kiddos were not going to be able to come out to the race with me. I was bummed. I knew the kids would like being out on a farm and I was looking forward to the free beer I could give to Greg afterwards at a local restaurant. A bit of a disappointment.

I picked up my friend Karen and we drove together to the race. It was cool and foggy. Okay, so maybe not really "cool" but after the heat from the relay, 62 degrees felt fantastic. The humidity? Not so great. I remember telling Karen as we're driving by farms out in the middle of nowhere that I could live like that. Beautiful and peaceful. I was in a great mood!

I expected to see many people I knew at this race. It was put on by Georgetown Running Club and a few years ago I did midweek runs with many of these people. Sure enough, I saw several fellow runners that I knew and it was great to get hugs beforehand. With only 110 people racing, it was sure to be a good time.

My friend Tony was also running and he planned to just chill out and not race as well, so the three of us (seriously, we're ALWAYS together) were going to have a great time. No pressure, no worries, just a good training run out in some beautiful Texas country. When the cowboys on horses started cruising around the start area, I was totally convinced it would be fun times.

(Side note: what the heck is wrong with me that I didn't get any pictures of any of this???)

The national anthem by Charlie Daniels played from a laptop and an unexpected grass fire were our prelude to the start. No, really, there was a grass fire.

The race itself was pretty uneventful. Some of my favorite highlights:

1. Feeling like I was running 9:45 miles when they were actually 9 minute pace (Karen had on her Garmin and shouted out a couple mile splits that were far faster than I thought).
2. Seeing little kids - REALLY little kids, like 6-8 years old - running alongside us for over a mile
3. The cowboys following us on horseback and us shouting "no fair, they're cheating!"
4. The unexpected hills. I really am done with Damn Hills.
5. Peace - you can't beat running on Texas country roads - NO CARS!
6. Passing a tractor or two
7. Did I mention the cowboys?
8. Racing up a hill against 2 teenage cross country boys...and winning, all the while teasing them about how much older than them we were.
9. Taking actual breaks at the water stops.
10. Completely missing the Mile 4 marker and stumbling upon the Mile 5 marker, having no idea there was only another mile to go.
11. The downhill finish
12. Never feeling overly winded or tired.
13. Finishing in 56:20 when I thought for sure it was well over 58 minutes.

There were only 110 runners. You know what that means? Yes, I got a medal. 2nd in my age group! That pretty much kicked butt.

Karen missed a medal by just one place, but her age group was the biggest one. Tony got second in his age group, too. As a matter of fact, a lot of my friends got medals.

Tony, me, and Randall - all Round Rock Fit coaches!
Me and Tony with Justin and Kat from Georgetown Triathletes, who I try to run with once a week
Tony brought Greg a nice Birthday Beer, but sadly it was going to waste, so you can imagine what happened to that beer. Yes, it got drank (and even spilled a little).

We missed Greg, we missed the kiddos, but all in all we still had a really good time. Karen will tell you she hates me for making her run a 9 minute pace 10K but if you push her she'll admit how much she loves me. Her mood most certainly brightened up when she noticed that one of the cowboys became the post-race masseuse (her exact words: "Who needs Danielle Steele??"). You just can't get that in Downtown Austin.

I'm going to keep finding these awesome little races to run. Thank you to the Georgetown Running Club!

Oh, and I bought Greg a new Birthday Beer. Someone owes me $6.


  1. Congrats again!! That sounds like a perfect day!

  2. Looking back on it, it is one of the best races ever. I have never gotten to finish alongside two of my favorite people before :)