The Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend and that you didn’t overdo it on the corned beef and cabbage like I did last night at our family’s annual St. Patrick’s dinner.  Hello, Monday morning bloat! [Side note: Yes, I am that boring. I didn’t overdo it on Guinness or Irish whiskey; I did it on food.]

This was certainly an eventful and lucky weekend.

On Saturday morning, my family and I went downtown to run the St. Paddy’s Day Run Tacoma.  I ran the 10K, my husband ran the 5K, and my kids ran the 1K.  My running partner, A, also ran the 10K.

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This was my first 10K and I ran it as part of my training plan for the Newport Marathon in a couple of months. My coach wanted me to run it as a tempo (running the race at my goal marathon pace, 8:20/mile) and to negative split, but in the days leading up to the race I started getting a hankering for putting in full effort and racing it. I checked it out with my coach and she gave me the thumbs-up, so when the race started I went out fast.

Probably too fast, as my first mile, which was about 50% downhill, clocked in at 7:24.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I kept pace with my running partner for the first quarter-mile, too, but then I smartened up and let her take off like the gazelle that she is. After the first mile, I slowed down a bit more and tried to keep a steady pace, which I wasn’t that good at doing.  I have difficulty keeping a steady pace with short races (i.e., less than half-marathons), and this was no different for me.

I felt strong pretty much the whole way through and had a couple bursts of energy midway through the race.  One burst came at the halfway point/turnaround of the out-and-back course, when I was able to run and see friends on my way back to the finish.  The next burst came at about Mile 4, when I saw my running coach and her husband, who were the best cheerleaders on the course.  She took this action shot of me.

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I’m the one in the green shirt. Which one? You’ll have to guess.

The last quarter mile of the course was the worst part of the race because I had to run up a hill. I really dislike ending a race uphill. Part of the incline was pretty steep and it started to hurt. Fortunately I was able to pull it together to pick up the pace as I approached the finish line.

Final time: 48:32.  A PR!  Also, my first 10K, so really that “PR” doesn’t mean a thing. I did get 2nd place in my age group, though. Lucky me!

This was a very fun race and I will definitely do another 10K. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I detest 5Ks because they hurt the whole way; the 10K wasn’t like that. This distance was just long enough to let the endorphins flow and for me to make some pacing mistakes. 5Ks are just too unforgiving for my tendency to spaz out and go way too fast for the first mile.

My running partner, A, came in about a minute before I did (speedy lady that she is) and my husband had a pretty good race with the 5K.  After those events finished, we had to wait for the kids’ 1K to start. Watching the kids’ race was the best part of the day.

The start:

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My son was gunning for the win right from the start.

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Look at that air, determination, and hand-blades!  Usain Bolt has nothing on him!

The kids’ course ran down and up the nasty hill we battled at the end of the race course. My friend’s son destroyed the hill on the way back and ended up tying for first with another boy who was about 2 years older than him.  It was an awesome finish; great fun to watch.

My daughter ended up finishing as the second female. I was so proud of her, and even better was that she was so proud of herself. She doesn’t play organized team sports and doesn’t gravitate towards athletics, so this was huge for her. She asked me to take this picture of her and to report on social media that she was the second girl:

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So sweet.

The kids had a great time running the 1K and were thrilled to receive medals at the finish. I thought it was a cute idea of the race director to give the kids the extra half-marathon medals.

After the race, later in the day, I treated myself to something special for finishing the race.

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Lucky me!  I love Pocky, chocolate, and bananas, so this new item was, like, the ultimate.  I found it at an Asian supermarket and it looks like it’s marketed for Thailand. I hope and pray it’s not a one-time-only deal because it was the bomb. I am about to drive back there today to buy a case.  When my supply runs out, I might have to move to Thailand.

After a great Saturday, I woke up Sunday morning with a plan to run a coach-planned easy 4-miler. I was not thrilled to do it because it was raining fairly steadily and I wanted to lie in bed and read. I need to start following my training plan better so I made myself get up and go.

As I was running through a nearby shopping district—one that sees a lot of pedestrian traffic—I stopped at the end of the sidewalk to let an approaching pickup truck come to a complete stop at the stop sign before I proceeded into the crosswalk. I thought he saw me. There was daylight, I was wearing neon, he had stopped, and I was less than 20 feet from his driver side window.

I started to run slowly across the street, cautiously eyeing his truck as I did so even though it was stopped. When I was smack dab in the middle of his grille, though, he started to accelerate forward into me. I totally freaked out because I knew he was about to run over me. I screamed loudly (really, shrieked –something I’ve never heard myself do), repeatedly slammed my hands on his truck’s grille/hood while also trying to waved my arms frantically trying to get his attention and make him stop. It worked. He stopped with his pickup’s grille about two inches from my chest. He looked at me through the windshield and appeared completely flummoxed. I don’t think he saw me at all.

I was totally rattled—adrenaline pumping through me—for about the next mile.  It was hands-down the closest I have ever been to getting hit by a car. And even more frightening was that I was there to be seen, he had stopped, and I was right there in front of him when he started moving forward towards me. It was as if I was invisible.

I have always considered myself to be a cautious and defensive runner, never trusting motorists when I am running, always double checking over my shoulder even to make sure people aren’t preparing to turn into me when I run across streets. But I missed something yesterday. I should have noticed that—because it was raining—his visibility would be worse. And that his windows would probably be slightly fogged over. And that he is human, and humans make careless mistakes: namely, they don’t look for pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists when they’re driving. They just look for other cars.  I plan to start wearing more neon—not just a jacket, but a hat, too—when I’m running in less-than-clear conditions. And I will assume from now on that motorists are oblivious to me.

I consider myself extremely lucky that he didn’t continue into me. He would have run over me, and I would have ended up under his truck. Thank God I didn’t panic and freeze, or try to run out of the way.  I think that making that huge ruckus is what made him aware that I was there.

I am a lucky gal.

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5 thoughts on “The Luck of the Irish

  1. I’m so happy the luck of the Irish was on your side!! Thank goodness! Your family is so awesome! Way to pull together Team Awesome Family! 😉 Excellent job on your race!! WAY TO GO!!!

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