Monday, November 21, 2011

Race Report: Extremely Fun and Incredibly Fast*

*  It's my blog.   Allow me a little hyperbole.

My new tattoo and I ran a race on Sunday. The Brewer Turkey Trot is a nice 3- mile race of about 500 people, and I've run it for the past four years. It is usually painfully cold, but this year it was 50 degrees and sunny and perfect. I love this race because of the many familiar faces in the crowd, and because it's an out-and-back. I like the mental boost of the turn-around and the fact that you get to see the incredibly fast runners who are in the lead (winning time was a 4:59 pace) flying past you.
tattoos make you run faster.

Of course, I wanted a best time, but since my miserable half marathon in Portland, I haven't been on any kind of training nor have I done any speed work. I've just been going out for 3 or 4 milers and kind of running comfortably, which has actually been really nice. I went into Sunday's race just curious about what would happen if I tried to run fast, since I was pretty sure I had forgotten how.

I warmed up, stretched, and lined up probably too close to the front because I wanted to be close to the fasties. I went solo to this race and have no photos, but I stole this one off of facebook.   I am in there somewhere.

I took off with the gun and felt good and fast but resisted the urge to look at my Garmin. I just listened to my music, felt the sunshine, and cruised along. When I passed the Mile 1 marker, I looked at my watch and it said: 8:04. I said out loud: what the? a favorite expression of Oskar, the adorable 10-year old narrator of the book I'm re-reading with my seniors, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I tend to start talking like the narrators of books I'm reading, so I've been saying what the? all the time just like Oskar. 

8:04, I think, is the fastest single mile ever recorded in the history of Emilie Manhart. And I wasn't dying or throwing up. what the?

I decided right then that my goal for the rest of the race was to hang on and stay in the 8s for each mile. I saw lots of friendly faces in the crowd both before and after the turn-around. I high-fived some friends as we passed each other. I peeled off my long-sleeve shirt, fought against the urge to slow down, and kept pushing. Mile 2 was 8:40. Last year I finished in 26:30 so I would have been thrilled to get in under 26, and as I got close to the finish line I saw that the clock was still showing 25. I kicked it into high gear and finished in 25:31. One more minute shaved off. The last mile was 8:38. And I felt great. I felt awesome.

It is super obvious to me by now that if I go into a race with low or no expectations, I do much better than I do if I build up pressure on myself for a specific goal time. I do better if I pleasantly surprise myself. OR I was really tapered, OR my bird made me run faster, OR there is something lucky about the number 495. Or all of the above.  Whatever the reason, it's extremely fun to PR.
 In my very short and obsessively-documented running career, I have continued to get a teeny bit faster each year, and I'm aware of the fact that as I continue to age, that arc is going to head the other direction. I'll enjoy chipping away at my pace while it lasts.

To celebrate my PR, I went straight to the grocery store and got a week's worth of groceries. That's what champions do, I'm pretty sure.

Speaking of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this book is extremely good and incredibly amazing. You should read it right away if you haven't. Look, I even went to see the author, Jonathan Safran Foer, speak at Colby College last week. He was, as I expected, interesting, articulate, and totally funny.

Jonathan Safran Foer
And speaking of funny, I made the two students I brought with me to the lecture stand behind Jonathan Safran Foer for a photo. When they see this photo, they will undoubtedly say:  "that's awkward."
And that's one blog post about a race, a book, a lecture, and a tattoo.  Happy Monday!


Anonymous said...

I'm reading that book now-love it!-tess

Zoe K said...

That whole book is quotable. I've reread that book more times than I can count and still find myself going "Wow" as I read along...

Congrats on the PR, lady! See you at the Turkey Trek!