The last couple of months my running has been really hit or miss. One minute I’m breaking records and running like I love it then I’ll hit a wall and hate it with a fiery passion. I can’t explain my running habits but I can say that I never truly give up, running is always there for me. I just take breaks from it when I feel like it’s more of a chore. Lately, it’s very much felt like a chore and I found myself dreading the days I had a run scheduled or knowing I really should get out there and go for a jog.
It all started back in June. I was scheduled for a 10k beach race. I had paid through Active.com and was waiting for my email that would let me know where to pick up my bib and when everything would be starting the day of the race. When it got to mid-week and I still hadn’t heard anything from the organizers, I started to snoop around. The first issue I encountered was that the site for the race wasn’t set up yet. It was there but not available. Hummm… that didn’t bode well. So I reached out to the organizer, asking when we would be receiving our emails about the bibs and whatnot. Nothing… Now I was getting nervous.
So I reached out to Active.com and received word that I would have to reach the organizer because they couldn’t do anything for me. Ugh… I’ve registered for races through Active.com many times and have always been lucky that I never encountered a problem. This would be a first and it wasn’t looking too good.
Now I was stuck. It was looking like there wouldn’t be a race and someone had my money but I wasn’t getting any word back from ANYONE about how to fix this situation. About a day after I starting looking into everything, I sent a second email to the organizer and finally got a response. And it wasn’t one I was expecting.
Turns out that Active had listed the race on the wrong date. Instead of June 28th, the race was actually to happen on SEPTEMBER 28th!!! A huge difference. The organizer was very nice and told me Active was willing to offer refunds but he couldn’t do it, they would have to. So I reached out again to Active but heard the same thing, they couldn’t offer a refund because I’d have to contact the organizer.
So there was no race in June and I was officially done with Active. There were emails back and forth, some were nice while mine were becoming more and more upset. At this point, it was the principle of the issue: they messed up and I was out of a race and the fees to sign up. But because they switched the dates in the system to the RIGHT ones, they had me listed as a participant and couldn’t refund me. Fuck you, Active…
Luckily, for me, I only had one more race paid for through Active and that was the race I ran this past weekend. The Cypress 5k & 10k.
Up to this point the weather had been hot, sticky and humid. Running in the evening is doable but miserable. You are either sweating and dehydrated from the gross heat OR burning hot and getting sunburned. Either way, running hasn’t been a task I’ve wanted to undertake lately. And the issue with Active had left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t run a race in May and now I didn’t have a race for June. I knew I was acting like a 5 year who didn’t get her treat after dinner and was throwing a tantrum. But there you have it, I wasn’t running much. So when it came time for the Cypress run, the only thing keeping me going was getting the OC Series medal for those who competed in 3 consecutive races in the series. I had already completed The Race on the Base and the Seal Beach 40th so all I needed was this last 5k to earn me a special medal.
And you know how it’s all about the bling. That damn medal was all I wanted and I would have it even if I was slacking on my training!!! It would me MINE!!!!
I got my packet and my bib the night before and was thankful that the process of getting there and getting my stuff was easy. It was well planned out with LOTS of volunteers on hand. Awesome job, Cypress! Then we set our alarms and promptly went out for drinks and date night. Yep… totally prepped and ready to go with a belly full of vodka. What can I say? I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to have a date with my husband and also to hang with his cousins to celebrate a birthday. Even if it meant I’d wake up and suck ass on the race course.
But we managed to do both. We went out, enjoyed our evening then got up the next morning for the race. My husband was kind enough to run with me and I find when I run along side him, I push harder. It happened with the Race for the Cure and that day I broke all previous records. I was hoping it would be the same for this race even though I wasn’t running on full steam.
The race started at 7:30 and we got there with enough time to park, walk to the event site then wait in line for the restrooms. Then we got into the starting crowd and looked around for the start line. Well, we never really found it because there were no banners to indicate where the actually crossing line to begin was. Instead, the pads on the ground for the timing chips was the only indicator and was only seen once you crossed over it. Probably my biggest gripe. And the crowd was large so it was difficult to tell if we were in the right grouping or when we were supposed to start. There was a 10k too and I didn’t want to accidently get in their way. The general starting gun was a bit overwhelming because it started the race for EVERYONE! Walkers, runners, 5k, 10k, and strollers. It was a bit of a mad house. And it was hot! By 7:30 I was already feeling the burn on my shoulders and I was ready to get going.
The first two miles were easy, there was enough shade and the sun was at our back. The course was super flat and ran mostly on city streets or down neighborhoods. What was nice was a group of people who set up a misting hose to give us racers a quick moment of coolness. I couldn’t be more appreciative of them and their support. We loudly thanked them as we ran through the mist and got a decent little spritz. Lots of people were out to cheer us on and it was very encouraging.
Then, the dreaded last mile. As we turned the corner to run the last leg of the race down Orange, we turned head on into the sun. Yep…1 whole mile with the sun directly in our face. And it was HOT! By this point my lack of prep and training was hitting me hard and my pace dwindled from a sub 10 min/mile to a 11:30 min/mile. Originally I was coasting along at 9:45 for the first two miles then I hit a wall and couldn’t pick up the pace. I was suddenly very aware of how much I had had to drink the night before. So I jumped onto the sidewalk and try to grab any shade I could. My face felt like it was melting off. I was kicking myself for not grabbing my visor before leaving the house.
As we saw the finish line, my husband (who is amazing. He kept his pace the WHOLE TIME!) pointed out an orange flag and told me that was our “kick”. When he hit that flag, we’d pick up the pace and run it in. Well, I did. I picked up my pace and ran headlong to the finish line. Then… It happened.
In the past I’ve complained of feeling nauseated when running a race. My sister probably has heard me say it along with my husband at some point nearing the end of a 5k. But I’ve never actually lost my cookies during or after a run. Until this race. As I neared the finish line, I suddenly felt ill. I called out to my husband but it was too loud and he was a bit ahead of me so I pushed through. About 5 feet from the finish, it happened. I gagged and felt like I was about to be sick. So I crossed the line quickly and made a path to a clear spot of grass where I proceeded to dry heave. Luckily, I had nothing in my stomach so I didn’t make an ass of myself and throw up everywhere. I was sooooo paranoid that I was about to make a fool of myself that I did everything in my power to NOT embarrass myself. So I quickly sat on the grass until the heaving and nausea stopped. Then I realized I was sitting on a massive ant hill and was covered in the little crawlies. Ugh…
But in the end it was all worth it. I got my series medal (YAY!) and I broke my records AGAIN! I finished in 31:35! I’m so close to hitting the 30 minute mark for a 5k that I can taste it. And even with the bad ending, I still felt that this was a great race. Running with my husband really gives me that boost I need to push harder and faster. I can’t say how much I appreciate his support and encouragement. He totally doesn’t have to get up and run these races with me but he does and without complaint.