Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Reports: Grasshopper Congo Women

I want it noted that I wrote this post four days ago, but somehow blogger lost it as it was saving before the final send. So my enthusiasm has had four days to wane. I think it has something to do with loading the picture in the beginning of the post.
This weekend, J was gone, and I had two races on the schedule. I NEVER run two days in a row, but because it was two of my favorite races, this year I figured I'd slough one or the other and do both - because I had to.
Saturday was Grasshopper Bridge (see picture) which is a race for the Phoenix Children's Hospital. This race is close to my heart, because it's important to Lilac's family. Her younger sister nearly died of a rare illness when she was younger (I never get it right, but it's something like strepptecocklemeningipneumonia - streppe, meningitis, pneumonia, and something that messed up your lungs all in one nasty little bug). The docs gave Lilac's sister a 5% chance to survive the first night! She hung on though, and because the doctors couldn't believe she was still alive they tried a revolutionary new procedure which has now made this bug survivable (nearly everyone died of it before Lilac's sister). The hospital calls her the Miracle Girl on {level} Four, so it's really important for the family to participate in the race and give back to PCH.
Since Lilac's mom decided to "race" with us, we took our time and spent more time chatting and catching up than actually running. Still it is always a great event, with the neighbors and kids sitting on the front lawns and cheering us on. After the race the whole family gathered and we went to breakfast together. It was a great morning. I had a chip, but I chose not to wear it, so my time was not official. It was also not good in any way, but that wasn't the point.
So Sunday morning was the Run for Congo Women (which incidentally will be featured on Oprah today). I had plans to run this race with Tanager, but she came down pancreatitis this past week, and had surgery on Thursday. She was still talking about racing, but I told her she was out. Besides the fact that I hate that the name of the race is not grammatically correct, this is a great event. It's put on by Women for Women International, which is a program that sponsors particular women in war torn areas. The race is a grass roots effort. If you're looking for a great goody bag, 20,000 participants and a party and concert at the finish, you're at the wrong race. last year about 20 people showed up, took off, and I was not only by myself, but since the course wasn't marked I got incredibly lost.
Although the race is important to me, with Tanager on the bench, I thought seriously about picking up our t-shirts, and going home without racing. This was further decided when my "fuel" on Saturday consisted of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, english muffin (breakfasts 1 and 2), pretzel fishies, a bag of popcorn from the movie theatre (lunch) tiki tenders (yes chicken fingers), and a basket of fries (dinner), and cold stone chocolate double oreo chocolate fudge love it ice cream (dessert). Finally, when my brother kept me up until 9:30 pm telling me riotous stories, I decided firmly that I was just driving by the race, and not participating.
And then Sunday morning I woke up wide awake at 5:30am, and ready to race. So I did!
I got to the event way too early, because I wanted to get a definitive answer on the race course and review a map so I wouldn't get lost again. I was told very nicely taht there was no map, but there was duct-tape directions on the course. This is meaningful because Kiwanis Park is used for a LOT of races, so there are random marks all over the sidewalks - chalk, tape, spray paint, etc. I'd like to call it out here that we need to find a standard course for this park. I've done three races just this year, and none of the routes has been similar. The guy (who was delayed) told me that he would be happy to explain the course map to me, and I listened very carefully although I didn't understand what he meant when he said "take the sidewalk past the basketball courts to the guarded loop and go around the soccer field". It took me until I got past the BASEBALL FIELDS to realize that "guarded loop" was GUADALUPE (for you non-spanish speakers that would be goo odd ah loop ay - a major street that everyone knows how to say out here).
Anyway, I would say that there were probably 30 people at the race. The horn went off, everyone took off, and I had the race course to my onesy. This is the only race where I truly enjoy this because it actually allows me to think about what I'm racing for. This time, I thought about the fact that my hospital is 3 miles from my house and how hard would I run if Sydni was sick and I had to run to get help.
I went under 40 mins! WOO HOO. Not fast for anyone else, but this race started at 8am, it was still 105 on Sunday, and it was at very hilly Kiwanis. It's almost like a triple PR to do it in those conditions. I felt incredible afterwards, and it was definitely worth getting up and doing it!
This might be the only time that I get top 10 in my age group (because I doubt there were 10 women there my age) but since it's so grassroots, the results still aren't up. I ran 39:50, only 4 seconds slower than my best race this year (in rainy beautiful 60 degree conditions) so I'm taking it.
And yes - my legs are still sore, which means I worked HARD!

No comments:

Post a Comment