Sunday, August 30, 2009

Denver Skirtchaser 5k


I'm a total race convert. I'll admit - the day did not start off well (I had stayed up until 1 am refinishing our floors while Joel had taken A&D camping. Except that A began puking at midnight and by 5:30 Joel packed everything up and drove the hour and a half home, leaving about 100 people wondering what happened). We even got about half a mile from the house that we realized in all the flurry of leaving, compounded by a hostile and suddenly boneless Donovan, the camera was left behind. I made Joel turn around. I mean, come on - this is monumental!

the dialogue:
well this looks like fun. wait, why are people running BEFORE the race?
maybe we should work on our game face. oh who am I kidding.

We arrived at the party race with my running partner (I'll call her Sylvia) and her family and my adrenal glands started to wake up. We hung out and people-watched and I tried to figure out why people were stretching and running already. Um, aren't we going to be running in a bit? Sylvia explained the reason (to get your running-breathing regulated since your first mile isn't usually your fastest - unless you're Joel, that is). Joel suggested that as soon as I cross the start line, I run as fast as I possibly can for just the first 200 meters. And this is why Joel is not a runner and, when he actually does run, generally feels like puking within the first mile. Good times.

the kids, hanging out

Dono jumps

Teagan jumps

Gemma watches

Ainsleigh and her friend Kayla were mesmerized by the fashion show
playing inside this boutique. I was mesmerized by them.

There were about 600 women and 400 men lining up, so Sylvia and I joined them. Can I just say that this is the most adorable event I've ever heard of? Everyone (or, almost every woman - wait, and a couple dudes) in skirts. The announcer yelling, "Remember! It's not how fast you finish, but how you LOOK while you're running!" Absolutely. The countdown starts. The Beastie Boys 'Girls' starts blaring. The women are bobbing up and down. The skirts are swaying. And...we're off!

I (cleverly) wore a stopwatch for utmost accuracy since it was 30 second from the gun to the time I actually crossed the start line. And I've got to admit - that first half mile or so was hard because my adrenaline was pumping so fast and I was so excited, my legs wanted to go so much faster (but, I opted not to follow Joel's advice). Plus, it was quite crowded and we had to weave, going faster/slower as the pockets allowed. At about the 1/2 mile point, I noticed several walkers, so they obviously listened to Joel. We were running with some very funny women (decked out in sequins and feather boas) but I told myself, "Please oh please don't lose to feathers."

By about a mile we finished our incline, the mass thinned, and we were able to hit our stride. That's about when the first guy came FLYING past us. We dubbed him "the Kenyan" before the race even began, pegging him the winner because isn't it usually a Kenyan who wins the big marathons? Turns out, he's from Aurora. Soon after him, other guys came sprinting by. On their toes. Like it's a 50 meter dash or something. Like we were just standing there. One guy was like 7 feet tall. I am not exaggerating (if I was, I would have said 8 feet). We had seen him before the race and dubbed him our pace car. I swear his stride was double ours. At about the halfway point he blew by. I couldn't unwind my leash fast enough, otherwise I totally would have tethered myself to him.

Donovan tries for a better view

The 1.5-2.5 mile stretch was a lovely long incline. Man, running is so mental. Having not been on that course before, it was hard to judge how much farther we had, and it was hard to see ahead. I kept chanting to myself, "Don't walk. Don't walk. Don't walk." That's when I saw her: Betty, the 69-year-old from Boulder. Actually, I didn't find out her name until I looked at the results. I had seen her when lining up and thought, "Holy crow, that lady is RIPPED!" So when I saw I was gaining on her at that point I thought, "She is tough, but I gotta pass her." Later, I saw her and told her she was a big inspiration to me. Turns out, she didn't start running until she was 30, with three kids at home. I love Betty.

I had previously told Sylvia that when we hit the home stretch, I wanted to finish fast and strong. After that last incline, though, I told Sylvia, "THIS is my fast and strong finish." We came around the last corner, saw the end, passed our cheering husbands and kids, and crossed the finish line. They funnel you into these lines and you kind of come to a standstill. That's when I thought I might fall over. You can't just STOP. We tore off our tags, handed them in, and then fell (figuratively) onto the water bottles, bananas, and array of other goodies for the runners, before meeting up with our families.

Yes, I was a total race newbie, chatting with various strangers afterward (to the Kenyan: did you win?! Kenyan (laughing): nah me: dude, you were flying). And I was loving it. I loved running in a skirt. Even more significant - it was a size small. I had registered for a medium, but upon trying on both the medium and a small, they recommended going with the small to avoid it "riding down" (wouldn't THAT be embarrassing). "It's been a long time since I've been a small," I giddily told them. It occurred to me about a mile in that I've never even run in shorts before, so the sensation of rubbing thighs (let's face it - they rub) was a new one. And since I'm generally done running by 7 am, it was a new experience running in the evening. The weather was lovely though - mid 70s, with a light cloud cover, keeping the blacktop from becoming a furnace. Nevertheless, I was sweating more than I think I've ever sweated before. I was bathed in sweat. And it just kept pouring out. Like, even half an hour later. Awesome? I don't know.

As I walked up to my family, Donovan turned and asked, "Did you win?!" Heh. Did you not just watch a bunch of people cross ahead of me? But then I remembered that I told him I had set a goal of finishing in the 28-minute-and-change area and if I reached that, then yes, I would have won. I was pleased, then, to tell him, "Yes, Donovan. Mommy won." He then took my hand, grinned up at me, and said, "Mommy, next time you are in a wace, I will wun wiff you. And next time you wun in duh mo-ning, why don't you come into my woom and wake me up and I will go fo a wittle wun wiff you." Ah, little dude.

So, how'd I do? For my first race in over 10 years, I managed to clock in at 27:21 averaging 8:48/mile. That puts me at 169 out of 596 women. The winner? did it in 17:27. Good gravy that's fast. She probably doesn't eat gravy.

I loved it. Next year we're going to run it with our husbands, get babysitters for the kids, and make it a date. Sylvia was a stellar partner. Usually we chat the whole time when we run. This time, we were pretty quiet, concentrating on breathing and running. I'm crazy grateful that she did this with me and was as excited as I was. I'm flattered the Joel thinks I should always run in a skirt and that my kids were relatively well behaved, even if Ainsleigh *did* ralph in the Chipotle bathroom after saying she wasn't feeling well again). It was a fantastic good time and I'm looking forward to many more such events. Thank you, Skirtchaser Denver.

She might be barfy sick, but even zonked out, she's ever the lady


laura said...

How clever of you to make it so we can't enlarge any of the pictures YOU are in. You look so skinny (and buff) though! Also, that picture of Ains is utterly hilarious and adorable.

Sarah said...

*sigh* you got me. I added the links so now you can enlarge them and see just how un-skinny (though thank you for that ridonkulous statement) I am. I did wear earrings, though.

Emily said...

Hi Sarah,
I hope you don't mind me peeking at your blog. I am Lorrie's (Terrels sister) daughter Emily. I just had to comment on your race. How awesome that you ran this. And GREAT JOB! I wanted to run a 5k this summer and big suprise I am no where near ready to do it! I ran track in high school but never farther than a 400 meter race so the 5k makes me very nervous. Your time was great though. Did you do any specific work out to get ready? If you have one you should email it to me at Anyway you look fantastic for having three kids. Joel your one lucky guy to have such a hot wife! ;)

PaloAltoCougar said...

Congrats and well done! I love the energy that emanates from a pre-race or pre-ride throng, and the post-event endorphin high is better than drugs (usually).


Alice said...

OK, so I hope I look as good as you after 3 kids.

LOVE Ainsleigh's sleeping pose

Sarah Burgoyne said...

That's it I'm joining you next year! Now I just have one year to figure out how the heck I'm going to run an 8min mile... In fact I should aim for 7min because I'm sure you'll only get faster :)

Hillary said...

What an accomplishment! I admire anyone who runs...I like the idea of running but just cannot do it. Maybe we should do a race at that Hill reunion Joel thought we should have ;)

Katie Ross said...

Congratulation! You look great. I've been wanting to start running again but Steve leaves for work at 6:30 a.m., the boys are usually awake between 6-6:30 and by the evening I'm POOPED or trying to finish everything I didn't get to during the day...someday. My dream is to run a marathon or at least a half marathon. Maybe we could sign up for the same race and I might feel more motivation.

Melin said...

If you do it with Joel will he have to wear a skirt?

You look fantastic by the way and running in skirts is a super great idea. Great work. Time for everyone to cheer for mom!

NancyO said...

You look like Becca in the lower right picture.