Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nite Lites!

Perhaps you remember my post from last year about this race.  If not, come refresh your memory.  If so, you know how flippin' awesome this race is. 

This year, I was accompanied at the race by my sister-in-law, Kristan, and my friend, Alicia.  Both girls were to run the 5k and I ran the 10k. 

I decked myself out in reflector stickers, and a ton of glowsticks, as did Kristan and Alicia.  We got to Teton Running near 10:30.  We were pleasantly surprised that this year, they'd have shuttles to the starting points.  We get in the shuttle about ten to eleven and head out.  I get dropped off first and start my race at approximately 11:05.  I wanted to start at 11:00 as I figured I would need the whole hour to run the 10k and try to finish as close to midnight as I could.  So, I picked up the speed a bit.  The race was as surreal as last year.  A whole bunch of bobbing light, the cool darkness of the night, the occasional flashing cop car signaling a turn.  It was great.  No meteors this year, but that's okay. 
For a long time I was running by myself.   The moon wasn't out or full at least and so it was somewhat disorienting.  All I could see was a blinking blue light a ways down the road.  The light was attached to another runner.  I ran like that, trailing the blinking blue light for what seemed like forever.  Suddenly, I was passing the blue light.  There was no one in front of me, so apparently, I became the one to follow for a while.  Later I sound some more bobbing lights to follow and eventually pass.  
At some point, the 10k course had an "in and out" which means that you'd run a ways and then be told to turn around.  At this point, I spotted Kristan on her 5k run.  We instantly recognized each other's reflectors and glowstick patterns.  At this point, I was probably a mile and a half from the finish.  I've been feeling good the whole race, especially since I had yet to be passed.  That is until about a half mile left.  Out of nowhere these twelve year-old boys who had been half walking and half sprinting passed me.  Ah well, I guess that part isn't too important. 

I see the finish line and that good ole' "Anxious Horse Syndrome" kicks in and I speed up.  I pass the finish line at 12:01.  This means I cut 4 minutes off of last year's run.  Cool!

When all the runners have come in, the awards start.  They are giving out the pumpkin awards first.  This is the award for the guy and gal in each race that finished closest to midnight.  And guess who won the 10k race?  Me!  2nd year in a row!  Not really a prize for speed, but one for accuracy.  I'll take it.  Later I also win a pair of running shorts and a gift certificate to Kiwi Loco.  I cleaned house!  I hung out with Kristan and Alicia after the race and it looked as though they both had a ton of fun too.  Kristan thinks she'll go for the 10k next year!

Once again, Nite Lites was freakin' awesome.  I highly recommend it. 

Kristand and Me before the race.  Check out the reflectors!

Kristan at the finish

Me at the finish

Alicia, Me and Kristan

Kristan and Me at the end

Me with my pumpkin award

Me celebrating my running shorts

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Conquer Something

I did a long run this morning.  I had no idea how long until I got home.  After mapping it out, it was just under 7 miles.  The whole run I had a feeling that it might be that long.  Toward the end, it got hard to keep going.  It was a flat run, and those tend to bore me more often than hilly runs.  But I didn't want to stop.  I would make something in the distance my mark and run to conquer it.  And that's what running is all about; the conquest. 

In the beginning for me, time was my goal.  I wanted to run for a set length of time without stopping.  Later, I wanted to conquer distance.  Often now, it's all about conquering fatigue or the long hill that I haven't dared touch yet.  I feel like if you don't have something to conquer, than what are you doing out there?  And to me, conquering something during a run is more than just reaching a goal.  To me, getting say you conquered that hill or that you conquered those last 6 miles means that you pushed yourself to the brink.  No limping, no crying, no mercy.  Leave nothing on that road, run past the point where you thought you'd die.  Don't just reach your goal, destroy it.    That's what it means to really conquer something.  Don't just eek by.

I was watching the Olympics and I saw one of the running events where a double amputee was running.  The guy had both legs amputated below the knee as an infant and what did he decide to do with his life?  Run!  And he didn't just reach the goal of being able to run, he blew it out of the water by making it to the Olympics.  That's what I call a conquest!

Give yourself something to conquer.  Running is hard work.  There's no doubt about that.  But a determined spirit is unstoppable.
Conquer the distance.  Run your usual distance and then one step more. 
Conquer the time.  Run your usual length and then one minute more. 
Conquer the route.  Run your usual route plus one more hill. 
In my experience, going one extra step, one extra minute, or one extra hill gives you what you need to keep going and you'll find that the next step or next minute or next hill is yours for the conquering. 

The next enemy I have to conquer is 8 miles. I haven't done 8 miles since way before the boys were born.  I plan on it being hard.  I plan on it sucking, probably.  But what worth conquering isn't hard and sucky? 

Sometimes when someone tells me they can't, I want to say, "Are you sure?"  Who knows until you try?

Find something to conquer.