Thursday, May 24, 2012

Purple Cloth 5K

My good friend and training partner, Mo Percy was putting on an inaugural race, the Purple Cloth 5K, to benefit Dorcas Minestries Unfortunately, the race only attracted a small field for it's first year. To be supportive, this ultra slogger decided to cough up the 20 bucks (a deal!) and register even though my last 5K was the 2010 Wake Forest Turkey Trot. Not having done any speed work and having only run once since The Smoky Mountain Relay on April 21st-22nd due to a strained calf, I did not have big expectations for my race. However, seeing as I am innately competitive in nature, I was going to run the damn thing as fast I as I could, even if it made me puke.
Gene, our other good friend and training partner, also signed up to support Mo and her race. He had not done any speed work in the last several months either due to also being an ultra runner these days. To make things a bit more interesting and to get myself psyched up for the impending pain that is a 5K that you are actually racing (not taking it easy or walking), and because I am a brat, I started bantering with Gene that I was going to kick his ass, etc.

The Friday night before the race, I wrote in an email to this good friend of mine:
"I am gonna get you old man! I am gonna run 'til I puke just to finish in front of ya! 
See you in the am and prepare for defeat!"

In due response, he replied: "BRING IT!"

And sent me this picture:

 I told him he looked like a yellow Terminator.

Race morning arrived warm and humid with the race start at 8:15. They also had a kids dash at 8:00. We lined up near the front of the starting line in the field at Cary's Bond Park. When I looked behind me, I didn't see any "real" female runners. They pretty much all looked like beginners. I'm not being mean or rude - we all start somewhere - but you can tell when someone hasn't been running long or is just planning to walk. Cotton t-shirt, long pants on a hot day, Keds on the feet, etc. This reinforced my plan to run as fast as I could and do as well as possible.

 The race started and Gene and I took off down the field together side by side with just a few male runners in front of us, no females in my sight. The course followed a meandering paved path and into the woods where the path was packed bark. There's a good climb with wood steps in the bark section and I continued running up that too, though I already couldn't breathe. We stayed together or just a little ahead or behind each other. When we reached the 1 mile mark a volunteer told me I was at 7:35. I was behind Gene but still on his heels. I thought to myself "Whoa, that pace is not gonna last!" I managed to stay with Gene until we came back towards the open field where we had to climb another hill. It was there that I lost him and never caught him again. So much for kicking the old man's ass!

The rest of the race, I struggled to hang on to my relatively fast pace which I was definitely not trained for or used to. It was very warm and I slowed down a bit on the pace for the last two miles. A couple of other guys besides Gene passed me, but I did not see any females go by.  Every once in a while, I glanced back, fearing a strong female runner would be there chasing me and kicking it into high gear to pass me, but no one came. Finally, after what seemed an eternity of running hard and barely being able to breathe, I reached the field and sprinted across it to the finish line. Trying not to puke as Mo pointed a camera at me and took my picture, I crossed the finish line in 25:03. Shortly after I stopped, I gagged and a spit up a little bile, but didn't truly puke. Maybe if I had run hard enough to puke, I would have beat the old man after all. Funny enough, I was the first female to finish, something that I'm sure will never happen again! I got a sombrero and an Inside Out Sports gift card for being an award winner.

Finishing and trying not to puke for the camera

Gene was a good sport about my challenge and the subsequent ass-kicking he gave me. He didn't rub my defeat in my face or be obnoxious otherwise.

Reaction to Mo's announcement that I just did a 100 miler 4 weeks before - feeling shy...
Purple Cloth 5K is a nice, small event that I would recommend to anyone looking to run their first race or if they would like to have the chance to be competitive in a small field. It was a very well run, family friendly event and I'm sure it will grow with each year. The 2013 race is tentatively set for the first weekend of May.

Running friends: Gene, Rhonda, me, and Bill

1 comment:

  1. Girl, it took all I had to stay in front of you! I kept waiting to get caught. I am used to the "casual" start of an ultra, and was not prepared for such an intense start. Now you have to come back next year and defend your title! Another fun adventure buddy!