Monday, December 04, 2006

"Pinky" Reports: Iron Girl 2006

Yes, there is Knitting Content in this post....but hardly any, and it's at the very end...So Scroll Way Down if you want to skip past the Race Report and the *sigh* numerous photos of me in pink and a Tiara.

For a review on what's up with all the pink:
I decided if I was going to start running, I'd run for a good cause! I wound up raising money for the Ulman Cancer Fund. An original target of $500 was set to get me into a pink head-to-toe outfit, and once that goal was met, a stretch goal of $750 was created for the addition of a tiara. With that goal met, I stopped raising the bar in fear of having to do something like running in a pink Tutu or some other ridiculousness. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of my supporters, a total of $800 was raised.

When we last heard from our little Pink Running Princess (that would be Me), I had just finished a super fantastic last training run (that was the Wednesday before the Saturday Race). I "tapered" by not running on Thursday or Friday. Oddly enough, for even a relatively short race (5k or 3.1 miles for non-metric friendly folk), I apparently got what is affectionately known as "taper crazies". I started feeling slightly sore, yet oddly hyper and energized. It was a very very strange feeling indeed. Anyhow, Saturday finally arrived, with the weather cool (40 F / 4 C) and just a touch windy before the sun managed to get up higher. I got up, and had a light breakfast and tried to prehydrate with a quart or so of water. I then dashed upstairs to get dressed. This was the first time I actually had the *entire* race ensemble on at the same time (I wore bits and pieces of it while training to make sure there were no chafing or other fit/performance issues). Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed by the Pinkness.

Pink and Calm Before the Race

Here I am, in my Pink Glory - note, I'm about as pink as possible from head to toe - I'm wearing a Pink Tank, Pink GymGirl Skirt and Pink Socks, all from SkirtSports - The accessories include the sparkly princess tiara and specially handknit cuffs - in pink of course. The watch, I'm afraid, is blue, but I wasn't about to go buy another watch just for this :P The shoes conveniently matched - bonus!

For those wondering, the bib number would have matched as well (pink) except with my special status as a over $500 fundraiser (thanks again to all who donated!) my bib was specially colored Yellow. One of the nice touches of this race was the personalized race bibs, though unfortunately they somehow misprinted mine - luckily I picked up my race packet early, and was able to remedy the situation - I didn't quite manage to match the yellow, but the font face and type size were matched perfectly ;)

Pre-race preparation involved waiting in the lines for the Port-a-Potties, and then ditching the jacket to bounce around near the starting line waiting for the start. As start time approached, I positioned myself towards the middle-rear of the pack, along the side after consulting with my dear Photographer :) Just before the "gun" (I never heard the crack of a starting pistol...but that doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't one), the crowd packed into the chute.

And they're off!

Once the official start happened, there was much shuffling to the official starting line, at which point most everyone broke into a trot. There was a fair bit of navigating around slower runners and walkers at first - it seemed it took almost a full mile to me to settle into a group that was paced similarly to myself. (mile one split: 11:08 - oops, out the gate a little faster than anticipated)

Running in a pack of people was certainly different - even though I told myself to "start slow" I think my innate claustrophobia and competitiveness made me head out to try to get into some "free space". The course was practically flat, and on pavement or packed dirt the entire way. A few small "hills" were encountered as we came close to "on ramps" to the various bridges - a surprising number of individuals slowed to a walk on these portions.

Not far after the mile one marker was the first aid station offering water and Gatorade - I attempted to see if I could successfully get a sip in, but re-discovered the reason why I much prefer to hike with a hydration reservoir rather than bottles - I haven't the ability to drink and move at the same time. Thankfully I didn't wind up wearing any of my experimental drink. Around this time, I had settled into what I thought was a reasonable groove after having adjusted my pace - though I honestly will admit that I missed the company of Artemis, my happy pink iPod.

Mile two came and went with a pace that was more in line with what I was expecting (11:21). So far, so good, and the tiara was staying put remarkably well! I felt I fit in with the people staffing Aid Station #2 as they all had tiaras on :) Well into the homeward stretch, it was interesting running across the Mill Avenue bridge with glimpses of the finish line below - as I was rounding the final stretch, I kicked in with all the energy I had (probably not the smartest thing to do as I was probably at a full tilt sprint while crossing the finish line).

A photo finish!

The photos of the finish cracked me up - somehow my foot strikes matched exactly with those of the young lady right next to me. With ages ranging from 6-68 the field was absolutely remarkable. My poor Photographer felt out of place - there just weren't a whole lot of men around!

Still Crowned, with finisher's medal

All finishers of the race receive a very nice finisher's medal - which matched nicely with my outfit ;)

Final statistics:

My personal goals for this race were 1) have a good time of it (yes, I did - I think I'm hooked) , 2) to run the entire thing (done :D) and 3) complete the race with a sub 35 minute finish (in that order)

Of course, like a true noob, I forgot to press stop on my watch until after I had cleared the finishing chute and turned in my chip. Here's where the official race results step in :)

Gun Time: 35:19 - but remember, I placed myself fairly far back in the starting pack...
Chip Time: 34:18 (wahoo!) with a pace of 11:03 - so I must have picked things back up again in mile three. This trimmed 24 seconds off my best training pace - not bad - hooray for adrenaline.

Out of a field of 638, I placed ~292 - about as expected, I didn't expect to place near the top as the early finishers were coming in with 6.5 minute miles - and with this being a run/walk, I figured I wouldn't come in at the back of the pack - more importantly I did hit my personal goal.

In my age group with a field of 88 contenders, I placed 48th according to gun time, but was 45th according to chip time ;)

On stage for all to see, helping with the Awards Ceremony

Would I do it again? Yes :) as a matter of fact, I've eyeballed my next races (oh yes, it's races - plural!), and I'm still training.

If you'd like to give it a try, I do recommend the Couch to 5k training plan from Cool Running. It was an easy program that took me from walking to running 30 minutes at a time. I then started training by adding distance to eventually get myself to cover the 5k distance, since am still not yet running 10 minute miles. I also recommend if you're a nerd like me and take great pleasure in seeing your training graphed up all nice and prettily.

Now then. The knitting :) Guess what I finished? And in less than a week!

It's on blocking wires now - I should have thrown something in there for scale, it looks ridiculously small freshly bound off. Preliminary measurements have it staked out to about 70 inches across the top and 28 inches down to the lower point.

And a closeup for good measure. Stay tuned...the finished object post will be done soon :)


Kirsten said...

I LOVE it! Pink looks good on ya', too!


k, aka zoom-zoom

Claire (kooky2003) said...

Well done - fantastic that you raised so much money too. I hope I do as well in my first race!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I mean both, your race and the fund raiser.
And your socks are pink too! How cute!

Ewa (SkBunny)

Chris said...

Congrats on the race!!! It's a great accomplishment.

jess said...

congrats! you made a PR! woohoo! :)

the shawl looks great, too. :)

mariko said...

Congrats, pink girl!!!

Heather said...

You rock!! Way to go Stephanie :)

Cara said...

That's fantastic!! Congratultions! Happy to do my small part.

Luscious Gracious said...

I am sooooooo PROUD of you!!! Congrats, and you do look nice in pink. Oh, and how cool are made-to-fit wristbands????? You are my hero.