Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cupcake Fun Run Half Marathon race report

Let's start with the important stuff. We raised enough money to buy Mani a racing wheelchair. That's awesome. Of course, when I say "we", I mean Tory, who organized these races. I just signed up and ran.

Wil and I also ran this race a couple of years ago. It's a super cute event run by a woman named Tory. In six years it has grown from a dozen or so runners gathering donations for the local food bank to 200+ runners raising serious cash for a local beneficiary. This year the funds went to Mani, a local athlete, to buy a proper racing wheelchair. I love this race because it's not a "raising money for a cause" -- it's raising money for a person, a person you get to meet at the event. (Not that there's anything wrong with raising money for causes! It's just super cool to meet the person you're there to help out.)

The course runs along the Centennial Trail -- a converted rails-to-trail line accessed near Arlington. So while there's an elevation gain on the way out, it's pretty gradual. We thought that perhaps the timing was off by about 2 minutes last time -- since we were credited with a 2:12 finish (not very likely...).

This time wasn't going to be like the first time. Since I was so sick in February, I really haven't run. As in, I ran/walked 3.14 miles last weekend, but other than that hadn't run a step since February 12. But I knew I would finish, and that that would be enough. Besides, the goal was to a) donate and b) show up. 

(I'm having a little crisis of confidence since I skipped out on the St. Pat's Dash -- AGAIN -- this year ... so I really needed to make myself come out to this race, even if I ended up walking most of it. )

But in the end, it went surprisingly well: 2:21:51. I had set <2:30 as="" goals.="" nbsp="" of="" p="" stretch="" stretchiest="" the="">

out and back, up and down...

I started off feeling like I just didn't have it in me... my usual first-mile feeling. But I made myself stick with it. When I passed one mile, I decided that running intervals was the way to get through the day. Of course, I didn't have any useful timers with me... so I decided to just count breaths. 100 inhales run, then 50 inhales walk. Yeah, pretty short intervals .... but even with the full stops to cross the busy road and to pick up some Red Vines and pretzels at the fuel stop, I still averaged 10'39" per mile overall. 

I really did just plod along, alone for the most part, but feeling okay. Climbing gently the first half, then descending gently the second half -- really the perfect course for me. Had it been the other way round I'm pretty sure I would have just walked the second half.

But as it was, I didn't really get tired until around mile 12, when I let myself give in a little. I had the same "oh god, where's the turn to the finish?" thought, then the same, "oh, it's RIGHT HERE!!!" thought -- which made me pick up my heels and run as fast as my feet would carry me. I heard someone shout "RUNNER!" and then saw a little flurry of activity. The timekeeper said, "C'mon -- let's go Sunny!" which made me smile... The photographer said, "Wow, finishing with a smile!" which made me smile even wider... and another person at the finish said, "Look at that smile!" and I started laughing. Such lavish attention at the finish!

I collected my very handsome medal:
hello cupcake!

had a cupcake:
chocolate mint ... it's wafer thin...

and chatted with a cheered for a few other runners... but I was getting cold and tired and just wanted to go home.

After the race Tory posted a note on Facebook, passing along an anecdote from the race. She and Mani were on the course and a cyclist went by, saying "Great job runners!" Mani said, "That was so cool! He called me a runner!" Awesome.

2015 Cupcake Fun Run medal back
Interested in running the Cupcake Fun Run in the future? Races are held in March (in honor of Tory's birthday!) every year, and there's a different local beneficiary each year. Plus it's a nice, low-key event, with races in distances from 5K to 50K! Learn more about the sweetest race around on the Cupcake Fun Run website: www.cupcakeruns.com

Cupcake Fun Run logo

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