Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Duke City 5K/Marathon race report

Submitted by Heidi Corrado @ravennaneroon

TEAM #RUN3rd: Captain Heidi Corrado 5K run; Sandy Flores 5K walk; Frank Balderrama full marathon.

5 a.m. Oog.  I hate having anxiety dreams. I dreamt I woke up and it was Monday morning and I’d completely missed the race. Even worse, I didn’t realize it until I was at work and one of my teammates said, “Hey, we missed you, where were you?”

Thus began the morning of my very first race longer than 800 meters. I did track in Junior High. I was 12. Shot Put and sprints. I was lucky to get one mile, let alone 3.1. I’m now 41 (2 days older than Sean, ha!) and I’ve been running almost every day for 6 months. I know I can get 3.1 miles.

Quick breakfast of toast and yogurt, jasmine green tea to wash it down. I grab all my gear and go. My family will be getting up later to meet me down on the course to cheer me on.
6:15 a.m.  I am here. WOW. So many people! I start wandering through the convention center looking for a good place to warm up. It’s 42 degrees outside (and I forgot my towel, eek!) so most of the runners are inside with me. I notice someone very familiar walking toward me an recognize one of my hockey buddies, Frank. I am SO GLAD to see him, I didn’t know he was running today and it’s really great to see a familiar face. We start talking shop, and I promptly recruit him to the #Run3rd team. Now we have Team #Run3rd in three different races today!

6:45 a.m. Frank needs to get his race tag so we head outside and it is DARK and COLD. Sunrise isn’t until 7:16 a.m. I am very glad I wore tights. I know I look ridiculous but I’d rather be warm than fashionable. Frank’s race starts at 7, so we wish each other good luck and go our separate ways.

7 a.m. The Duke City Marathon gets underway! After the street clears I head down toward the starting line with the other 5K runners. I am full of anxious energy. There are entire families in the starting area with me and I feel proud of them. A few runners ask me about #Run3rd and I get a few more dedications. Since no one has a pen to write them on my bib I carry them in my heart.

7:15 a.m. We’re off! I resist the competitive part of my brain to keep up with the speedsters and settle into a pace I know will get me to the end. It’s slow, but I’m still dealing with a 3 week old knee injury. Our hockey league is no-contact but it doesn’t stop the ice from being slippery. .

Mile 1. The beginning. I have never been down this part of Central and I enjoy the diversity of the architecture. We’re not permitted to wear headphones so I am left with the rhythm of my steady breathing and footfalls. Kids streak past me, eager to race. I am amused when I pass them later. My knee feels great, the air is dry and cool, my head starts playing its own tunes and I’m feeling confident. As I approach the 1.0 mark I see the lead runners, who have already turned around. I cheer on the lead female runner who is keeping pace with the third place male runner.

Mile 1.25. Revenge of the yogurt. The turnaround is in sight and I’m cheered on by volunteers and onlookers. I can hear the volunteers offering water or Gatorade. I am hit with a cramp under my ribs that feels like a knife carving out my spleen. Great. Gas. I dig my fingers in trying to dislodge it and slow to a walk. I had hoped to do the entire 5K without stopping but hadn’t anticipated this. Note to self, if eating yogurt before a race, take Tums with you. My confidence sags but I push myself to a slow jog.

Mile 1.55. Turnabout’s Fair Play. I decide on water as I hit the turnaround at a slow jog and down the entire cup in one swallow. Sweet nectar of the gods. I pick up the pace, the cramp subsiding as the cold water stuns the pain into submission. Halfway there.

Mile 2.2. Marathoners have already done 25 miles. The architecture turns familiar as my breathing becomes harsh. Oh yeah, 14% humidity. My mind turns to the #Run3rd banner on my back and the dedications I penned on it last night. A song rises up in my head, one of the mashups from “Pitch Perfect.” I catch myself humming and I forget my legs are moving.

Mile 3. This is why we #Run3rd. The finish line is in sight. I know my family is there somewhere. A lot of runners are starting to “kick it up.” I see a Native girl, maybe nine years old, struggling to keep going. I catch up to her and touch her shoulder. “Tag! You’re it!” and I pick up the pace. She catches me, I’m “it,” and she takes off, beating me to the finish line. I see my family behind the barrier, clapping and cheering, my 3 year-old daughter gives me a high-five. I cross the finish line. I don’t see a clock, but I don’t care. I feel great, and my daughter runs to me. I scoop her up and all is well. I find out my official time later, 38:09. Almost 5 minutes faster than my previous personal record.

8:00 a.m. After the race I try to find the rest of my team, who are doing the 5K Walk at 8:15. Return texts tell me that our member with Down Syndrome and her mother cannot come due to medical issues and two more have scheduling conflicts. I find Sandy at the starting line and she tells me her walking partner’s son is ill and cannot come. We’re down to one walker but I give her a #Run3rd bracelet and the dedications. My family has to go, but I stay to cheer Sandy through her race.

9:00 a.m. Frank is still somewhere out on the marathon course. I have to leave before he finishes. I get a text from him later, his final time is 4.51:27. Everyone has finished, is safe, and uninjured.

It’s been a good day.

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