Spankies. Rundies. Barely-theres. Speedy girl pants. Whatever you want to call them on race day, these little cheekinis are usually flying solo underneath a single flyweight (and sometimes very sheer, much to the delight/dismay of those around me) sparkle skirt. I have one pair of run briefs and they only come out on race day. They only come out when it’s time to GO.
This race was different. There was no flat runner picture taken the night before. There were no rundies. A pair of compression shorts and two skirts layered up for fun meant I knew there was no PR coming. (Little did I know that two skirts is deceptively warmer than it seems it should be… word to the wise!) Going into the inaugural Let’s Go 510 10K last year, I had been sick, but powered by bits for the first time, I managed to scrape a PR of 55:something.
Let’s also not forget that it was what I now call my ‘baseline’ 10K, but no matter.
I had been transitioning into lower profile shoes going in to the race and didn’t feel ready to race in them and possibly risk injuring myself just weeks before a half marathon I’m running out of state. And let’s be real: in true fashion, I was kinda-sorta-maybe trained for this race. Based on this I tried to have achievable goals.
Last year’s goals were basically:
– run the race, all 6.2 miles
– don’t barf and don’t die
This year’s goals were:
– maintain relentless forward motion
– walk minimally if I had to
– hold a sub 10min/mi pace throughout
Spoiler alert – ACHIEVEMENT: UNLOCKED.
It helped that I when I hopped in the corrals, I saw some familiar faces I’d met at packet pick-up the day prior. In addition I was right in front of the bright-goldenrod-clad crew of Running for a Better Oakland kids who were taking part in the 5K thanks to local company Gu paying the way. Their energy (and their speed, those kids are FAST) certainly pumped me up for when the gun went off and we set off, all the 5K and 10K participants at once, trying to avoid fresh puddles while smiling for the racearazzi.
In short, I went out way too fast and knew immediately that no negative split was in my future. The rain held off, but that also meant it was suddenly thick and muggy along the coast. I immediately regretted both wearing a shirt and a second skirt… really more than anything, it was the shirt. If I hadn’t pinned my bib to it, it’d have been off by mile 3.
After the 5K runners hit their turnaround point, the course had more room for us to parse out a bit. I settled in with a few gents in bright blue shirts – easy markers – who seemed to be chugging along steadily. Two miles went by, then three. A sip of Skratch here, a visor adjustment there, a high five for kids along the course. Before I knew it, there were just a couple miles left and I knew that meant two things: the hill and the track.
The dumbest part is I knew that hill was coming: we started on it last year and I had saved my own butt by being smart enough to ‘save something’ for it at the end. This year, I powered through that hill, taking smaller steps with greater turnover, and then took my lone, 20 second walk break at the very top. Once I regained my composure, it was off, around the outside of the track, then in to finish the last 100 yards on the Golden Gate Fields Racetrack itself.
I started kicking it out a bit as I turned the corner, up the small grade and into the home straightaway, trying to figure out how much harder I could push before crossing the line between ‘full throttle’ and ‘vomit.’ I found a good, already worn path on the track and started trying to bound it out; I could hear the annoucer say my name as thoughts that had lain dormant for the last 58 minutes began to swirl. Are you breathing? Could you go faster? Oh man this track is a killer. Is that my husband on the side?! He’s waiting! Oh that guy doesn’t want you to beat him. OH it’s ON NOW DUDE.
It made for the fun picture at right, where I’m smiling and he’s got his arms raised, but clearly, pushed hard to get there. Yeah buddy, I get it: no one wants to get passed, especially at the finish, but the little 100 pound lady dressed in sequins.
But it made for two of my favorite race photos to date: where sparkle never looked so serious, and my finisher’s smile may have never looked so genuine.
As I stumbled over and got my medal, (forgot to pick up my Run the Bay medal, oops,) and drifted into the crowd, my husband’s smile my beacon, I felt great. It was no PR at 58:31, but my stride felt more natural, stronger than ever before. I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. My run game is changing and I am embracing it. It felt so great to know my mister was there to see my finish and his “I’m proud of you” never ceases to make me flutter a little. I didn’t think this race was going to hit me hard, but it allowed me to get into places in my head for 58 minutes and 31 seconds that I really needed to visit, and for that, Let’s Go 510, I thank you.
58:31 chip time
295/1005 – overall 10K (29.35%)
104/630 – W’s 10K (16.5%)
26/132 – W’s 30-34AG 10K
Thank you Brazen Racing and Represent Running for another great event.
While I am a proud new member of Represent Running’s Team Run the Bay, I signed up for the Run the Bay race series a year prior, with this race completing my three-event run. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are in no way a paid advertisement for the event or companies involved.