Tuesday, May 02, 2006

first race report of 2006

this weekend i ran a trail half-marathon, part of a race called the triple crown, because if you’re manly enough, you can run the half, follow it with a 10K and finish off the morning with a 5K. if you’re a decent runner, which presumably you would be if you were to attempt something this foolhardy, you get 10-30min rest between races. that’s enough to hit the loo, weep in the car for a while and choke down a couple gels.

i’m not manly, so i stick with the half, with the other mortals. to my credit, i usually blunder off trail and tack on an extra mile or two for an extra challenge. what’s pathetic is that these trails are my home, and i still get blown off course.

we line up on a sunny, chilly saturday morning: perfect running conditions. next to me is a dude wearing gore-tex trail runners with gaiters. i’m guessing he read course fords White Clay Creek at miles 3 and 10 to mean two skips over dry streambeds consisting of detritus and scree that will get in your shoes. your gaiters ain’t gonna do shit, boy. and for all its claims of breathability, gore-tex can’t magically osmose a cup of water out of your soppy socks. n00b. he’s sure to beat me by at last a quarter hour, i calculate.

the whistle blows and we scamper across the meadow, avoiding gopher holes so conscientiously flagged by johnmac. i love trail running because every ramble through the woods is a couple minutes of childhood returned to you. men who work 70 hours a week at MBNA dash downhill pell-mell, their arms and spirits akimbo; i try to follow their lines, praying that I don’t crash into a tangle of privet.

we drop through the woods straight down to the creek, whereupon my cranky hamstring seizes and threatens to snap like a guitar string. i consider the possibility of pooching my entire season through sheer obstinacy… and i obstinately forge onward. i just went really easy.

i delicately pick my way on descents, cos descending is what truly hammers your hamstrings, and just to be safe i walk up hills or do the Ultra Shuffle. this is less a race than an exercise in pain management, and it’s a testament to my overall fitness level that i still end up the female winner. the steeplechaser’s wife is second, and she’s no slouch … then again, she proved her manliness by soldiering on through the rest of the triple crown.

F, the afghani metrosexual, offers a big hug at the line, despite the fact i’m covered in sweat, dirt and … blood? um, yes, blood. caught up in the heat of racing, i’ve neglected to notice the worst case of chub rub i’ve ever had: my inner thighs are chafed to the point of bleeding, and being on anti-coagulants means I bleed until the cows are just about home. when I cross the line it looks as though i’ve given birth in the woods.

in the car, i weep for a bit and assess the damage. you know how marshmallows puff up and soften when you toast them? up high, my inner thighs are just like that, except that instead of a toasty brown crust, there’s oozy red shit issuing from striations in my flesh. i staunch the bleeding with a layer of Body Glide, then do a lap of the 5K XC course with F, who does not seem too taken aback by my bleeding partses. he’s heard my belches and has no illusions about me being a lady.

i won’t be able to walk right for a while: instead, i gingerly manage a duck-footed waddle, like i’ve got a full diaper. as i walked into the grocery store yesterday afternoon, i saw a retarded kid reflected in the window, then realized that kid was wearing my tee and my skirt (i cannot bear anything with seams).

but i won, and that’s what’s important, right?


fatmammycat said...

Damn straight it is! Well done toots, nicely worked.

fatmammycat said...

I ran today in the gym for an hour and did 8.5k, nothing fancy, and easy steady run. I tried the breathing, lots of deep into the belly breaths, and bloody hell, wop 3.5k in, stitch again. I had to walk for eight minutes to get over it. But once I got over it I was able to clippity clop 4k problem free-well pinkfaced and sweating like a hog.
How, missi, does one get the air all the way down to the bottom when one is clearly a bit of a shallow breather?

finn said...

are you exhaling fully? you can't get new air in if you don't get rid of the old stuff first.

and, do you warm up to your run -- do you walk for a bit and then jog before breaking into your canter?

though it seems counter-intuitive, it sometimes helps to speed up when you feel a stitch coming on, cos then you're forced to change up your breathing, breaking your body out of its rut. of course you run the risk of, well, breaking your body. :)

just curious, cat -- why do you run in the gym and not outside??

fatmammycat said...

If I tried to run outside here in the middle of the city, I'd have to stop every two minutes for lights, people, cyclists, buggies and other assorted debris. In the gym I can get a clear run, undisturbed. And I find my shins don't ache as much when I run on the treadmill because it absorbs a lot of the shock.
Right ho, thank you so much for your answer, tomorrow I'm going to run an easy 5k and see about getting the air out, evn if I do sound like an bull seal doing it. I do warm up for about twelve minutes before I take off. I'll try the extra speed burst- er... I should point out I'm not exactly speedy, I'm more of a middle distance runner.
Note to self, stop bloody singing!

finn said...

i hear wot yer saying: the city is a recreational challenge. friends insist they cycle and run in NYC and it's just lovely but i, so spoiled by trails and parks just on the other side of the mailbox, am not buying it.

i had some fantastic runs on the other side of your isle -- on beara way and in doolin and even galway wasn't bad once i got to the prom. tralee sucked, but i think i was running at rush hour. but i must stop lest i get schmoozy & nostalgic.

if singing makes you happy FMC, by all means tootle away. singing is good therapy, isn't it?

fatmammycat said...

It most surely is.

fatmammycat said...

If you are over in Ireland again there is a terrific run in the Phoenix Park, about 10k from the gates, around the gallops and football fields, over to the polo pitch, back across to the cricket grounds, around the gallops again and back to the Castleknock gate. Really beautiful, lots of fallow deer and trees and greenery. I used to do it with my dog-he never got tired, I did-but it was lovely.

finn said...

i would love to run in phoenix park. i must come back and visit the eastern part of the country -- though i should say that many of those in the west tried to put me off dublin!!

fatmammycat said...

Don't mind them, it all snobbery. Folk forom the country cock their nose at city folk amd folk from the city go 'bleeee' at the thoughts of living down the country. East and West both have their good and bad points.