Monday, June 12, 2017

Green Jewel Recap: I Don't Read Directions

This week I ran the Green Jewel 50k relay with my friend from high school Marsha. She is a real trooper to step in at the last minute and do this with me, especially on such a hot day. How did we do? I'll let you know soon, but FIRST, I need to tell you how badly I failed at paying attention and following directions.

Normally, this isn't me. I am the one who reads the directions on the box, both in French and in English so that I don't mess anything up. I roll my eyes when my husband, the master of Oh-Hell-Let's-Just-Look-at-a-YouTube-Video-and-Wing-It decides he is going to fix something or put it together. My pet peeve as a server (16 years!) was adults (not children, children always listen to the server) who don't listen when I give them choices. For example:

Me: What would you like to drink? We have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Pink Lemonade, Root Beer, and Iced Tea.

Customer's Kid: I'll have a root beer.

Customer: Do you have Mountain Dew?


This is EXACTLY how I looked as a restaurant server. Creepy, right?

I digress. The point is that I am usually the person who reads the directions carefully, especially when I get any information about a race.  Not this week, Buddy.

My first directions-fail was in not paying attention to packet pick-up information. I found the location, Vertical Runner Brecksville, and I went there after I finished whatever it was I was doing at the house. I couldn't find an address on the webpage, so I plugged the store into my map and took off.  And got lost. Siri kept directing me to a bunch of buildings at the store's address, and none of them were Vertical Runner! Then I decided to drive around to see if the store might be nearby.  Nothing. Finally, I called and explained that I was lost, got the REAL address for the store, plugged it in, and arrived to pick up my packet only to find out that. . . it didn't start for another hour.  Sigh. Seriously? I was certain the hours were after 1:00 pm, but when I checked again, I could see that it started at 4pm.  Nothing to do but go to Starbucks and slowly drink a Midnight Mint Mocha Frappucino while reading my daughter's copy of Divergent for the second time. (Hey, it was the only book I had in the car.) Ok, no big deal. I just took up more time than I probably should have, but maybe this was the Universe's way of letting me know I had to relax a little bit.

Do I look relaxed here?

Next fail involved the Green Jewel relay legs. I ran leg two, which I understood to be 16 miles. I don't know why I thought that; in my head I can picture myself looking at the webpage and seeing that distance, but it turns out that I'm the only one who thought it was 16 miles. This really affected how I ran.

It was sooooo hot on the day of the race, and as leg 2,  I started a bit later in the morning, so the temperatures were rising quickly. My partner Marsha was a real badass; she finished her leg and gave her all, giving us a great time. Plus, she said she would move my car to the finish line for me! You may remember that I put it out to the Universe last week that I would need to find a way to my car. Well, first, Kelly, a Burning River Goddess, said she was volunteering at the finish line, and she offered to drive me to my car. This was so awesome of her, and I accepted. Her offer put me in a bit of a worry, though. I didn't want her to have to wait too long for me to arrive, so I was trying to figure out how to rev my engines without dying of heatstroke.  When Marsha offered to move my car, this took the pressure off; I knew it didn't matter at that point how long it took me to run the leg. In retrospect, this is one way I veered offtrack in my running strategy for that day. I texted Kelly at the first aid station in my leg and told her she didn't need to wait for me.

The Green Jewel is a beautiful course. My part ran from Berea to Rocky River to Lakewood, all in the Cleveland Metroparks on a paved path. I was mostly in the shade, thank GOD, and there were really only two hills that I could remember. I know Marsha had lots of uphill work in Leg 1; I know this because she texted me about it. My response: Better you than me, Sister.

There was an aid station at my Mile 5 and another at my Mile 11, and the volunteers were really great. There was plenty of water, Tailwind, pretzels, endurolyte tabs (lifesaver), and GINGER ALE, which is my ultimate favorite running treat.

Here is where things get iffy in my head: Remember that I thought my leg was 16 miles.  At the second aid station, people coming the opposite way were telling me that I was almost done. I brushed it off as their knowing that I looked like I was dying and wanting to encourage me. It was incredibly hot at that point, so I decided to incorporate some walking if I felt like my heart rate was getting too high. I also decided to stop at a bathroom and later at a water fountain to splash my head with water. When I got to mile 14, I saw a hill, and I decided I was going to walk that hill when I reached it. A third of a mile later, a volunteer told me he was going to cross me at an intersection because of all the cars around. I thanked him and started toward the hill, but he stopped me. "Hey," he said pointing down into a parking lot, "there's the finish. Go for it!" Wait. What????

So, yeah. I didn't pay attention to directions, and it kind of cost me some time. I figure I lost at least 6 minutes to screwing around either by walking, hanging out in the aid station, or going to the bathroom.

When I got to the finish, I saw my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors Pam (and her husband Steve) and Stephanie.

Stephanie took 2nd place AG;Pam took 1st AG. I have a bug on my face that nobody would tell me about.
I didn't bother to check the awards or time sheets, but I should have.  Marsha and I placed 2nd in the Women's Relay!  Yay for us!

There is no way that we could have come in first place; I checked those times, and that duo was CRAZY-FAST, but I am still a little disappointed in myself. Could I have shaved off some time if I had been paying attention? Yes, I'm sure I could have. Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter. My true goals for this race were to 1. Compete a long run to keep up my mileage, 2. Make sure I don't shame my partner, and 3. Try something different.  I did accomplish those three goals. For my next spontaneous race, I will add a 4th goal: PAY ATTENTION TO DIRECTIONS!!!

Cute medal and shirt!
I hope you pay attention to directions, too! Regardless, make sure you Run Happy, Peeps!

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