Sunday, May 13, 2012

I love being a mermaid athlete

Sami and I drove down to Fremont Friday night to participate in Saturday's Mermaid Series event. This was Sami's second Mermaid event and my fourth. I discovered the Mermaid Series in 2010 and I try to run as many events as I can. On Saturday I ran the Mermaid half marathon and Sami ran the 5K. It was my fourth half marathon of the year and even though I'm still dealing with an injured foot and hip, it was still a great event. 

I have found that trail running is challenging for me. I have weak ankles that have a tendency to roll and sprain when I step, even lightly, on uneven ground. Even though it's understandable why I have to slow down on dirt and gravel trails I still don't like it. I'm slow enough as it is, I don't need to be slower. When I ran this race last year only the first and last mile (so two miles total) were on the dirt and gravel trail around Quarry lakes recreational area in Fremont. The other 11.1 miles were on the bike path that follows Alameda Creek. This path has it's own challenges too (at every underpass there is a steep downhill and an equally steep uphill) but at least I can take my speed up a notch or two without fear that my ankles will be the death of me. But this year's race was different... Literally half of the race was on the dirt and gravel trial. On the upside, because we ran around more of the lakes it was a very pretty run. It would be a really nice training run but not so nice when I was trying to better my half marathon time.

Once I got on the bike path and picked up my pace I felt more optimistic about my possible race time. My foot and hip where still injured form the previous race and shoe mix up but I felt well enough to run my 30 second intervals. I started passing more runners and I felt really good. I usually feel good running in the bay area. The air is cleaner, my allergies are much better and it's usually nice and cool.

However, the mercury rose to 82 degrees on Saturday and by mile 10 I was very much over heated. I normally wear a cami under my race shirts to help absorb some sweat but I never take off my shirt and run in just my cami. I'm too self-conscious about my weight and especially my obscene amount of belly fat. But heat makes people do strange things and I, for the first time ever, took off my shirt and ran in my cami. The heat also slowed me down quite a bit. I think I could have pushed through the pain I felt in my hip but I couldn't distract myself from the heat. My pace slowed down considerably and after mile 11 I gave up on my intervals. I ran when I could and walked when I couldn't. I also decided that Fremont needs to plant more trees along the bike trail.  

my finisher necklace
it says "inspire"     
Even with the challenges I faced in this race it was still a much better experience than my previous half a few weeks ago. Here are some of the reasons why (and an excuse to make another list):

Sami did great considering she was sick. She decided to walk and really
 only run at the end. She beat her cousin to the finish line my .1 second.
 She was very proud and the announcer named her the winner of their sprint. 
 I wore my good shoes, on both my right and left foot this time 

I had my girl with me. Sami and I love these little mini road trips :o)

My niece and her mom also ran the 5K and I got to meet her mom for the first time ever

I was in the bay, everything is better in the bay or on the coast

I didn't have to walk the last five miles (goes back to the shoe issue)

 Today (Sunday), my foot and both hips are sore as well as my back. I imagine most of this will be better by tomorrow. Now I'm searching for my next half marathon. I think I might be a little crazy. I don't know what it is about 13.1 miles that I like so much. Every time I do one I have the same thought running through my mind, "why did I think this was a god idea?"... But after crossing the finish line, every time I think, "that was so awesome, I just ran a half marathon!" Go figure...  

I always go to Mermaid Series events prepared for a little shopping!
Happy birthday to me, I say!
I got the shirt they gave away at the San Diego event
and the" run happy" sweat shirt that I've been wanting for a long time
but it hasn't been at the last couple of events. I also got Sami
and I both a "Mermaid Athlete" headband.