On Sunday, I raced the Tri Yoga 5k in Leawood, KS. This is an interesting race. I only heard about it because the cousin of a friend mentioned it on Facebook. I went to the website and learned that it was a 5k, followed by yoga, followed by a party. Oh, and that there are NO ENTRY FEES. Free, you say? Intriguing…this “run a race every month” thing is all well and good, but my lack of advance planning or “elite” status sure makes the entry fees add up.
Going to packet pick-up, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I mean, if you get what you pay for, and this is costing me nothing…will there even be official timing? Will the course be blocked off, or will we be at the mercy of traffic? What’s going to be in this packet, and what is the point of having one at all?
I found the Lululemon store, where they were handing out snazzy reusable bags and yoga mats. There are no t-shirts, sure, but…$20 yoga mats? How many people signed up for this thing? What’s in it for Lululemon? I received no answer to these questions, and when I returned to the house Curious Kiddo had no answers for me, either.
He was, however, fascinated by the bag…
And then he and his daddy spent a significant amount of time playing “baseball” with a nerf ball and the rolled up yoga mat.
Making good use of the swag. That’s us.
Race morning dawned. I left my fellas behind and headed to Leawood solo to meet up with DeAnna (still a super fan, all these years later) and her cousin Amy. I arrived to find a starting area complete with inflatable arch, chip timing mats, and giant race clock, representatives from various running stores and yoga studios, bottles of water and bagels, and an announcer/DJ alternately encouraging the crowd and playing dance music. Yes, there were even port-a-johns. When I stopped to think about it, there were only three things that this no-cost race was missing: shirts, awards, and a USATF certified course.
D, Amy, and I chatted through the repeated questions by the announcer. “Are you excited?” (muted response) “Oh, you can do better than that. ARE. YOU. EXCITED???” (slightly louder “woo”) D spotted a girl at the front of the starting line wearing, er, slightly revealing attire. With the amount of “cheek” her little spandex shorts were showing before the race even started, I worried for the uncomfortable wedgie that running was certain to cause. Yikes.
After some pre-race stretching led by one of the yoga instructors (which I completely ignored), we were underway. We started in the Shops at 119, and as we made our way out of the shops and towards 119th I was quickly passed by one girl and two guys. It felt strange for me to be so close to the front, but with only about 150 participants–and many of them casual runners or walkers–it wasn’t a complete surprise. Not long after we turned onto 119th Street (Have I mentioned the Leawood police officers out directing traffic? In races that aren’t fundraisers, where exactly does my registration fee go?) we headed up a long, steep hill. Oh, so it’s going to be hilly. NEAT. We turned right onto Mission Street, and the hill continued. So…it’s going to be REAL hilly. That’s awesome.
Already sweating, slightly in oxygen debt, and giving up all hope of bettering my Mother’s Day 5k time, I tried desperately to maintain contact with the 2nd female runner to pass me. In another two hills, I managed to catch her and she made no effort to go with me. Shortly after, I went through the first mile…according to my GPS, I ran a 6:40. Even though someone had been out painting encouraging sayings on all of the hills (You can do it! You’re owning this hill! Just one more…and maybe one more! Etc.), they hadn’t bothered to set out mile markers. I guess this is what you get when a yoga studio puts on a running race. 🙂 I was getting a little cranky when we finally reached a landmark I’d been waiting for — the turn onto 127th Street, which would take us to Roe Street and then to the finish. Hallelujah, halfway there.
I went through the 2nd mile at about 7:30, which corresponded to my current level of misery and disintegration of running form. The left elbow was definitely flailing wildly. Oof.
I was giving myself a mental kick in the pants as I neared the turn onto Roe. Things like, “You’re in the last mile, toughen up, woman” and “If you pick it up a little you’ll be close to 22:00” and “It’s just going to take longer if you slow down” figured prominently. As I turned the corner, the ladies at the nearby water station cheered, “good job, ladies!”
Ladies? I peeked over my shoulder…sure enough, one of those studly, 40-year-old super runners had made up the gap. Crud! My slight pace increase was nothing compared to her strength, and she instantly left me in her dust. I trailed along behind, trying to borrow some of her momentum, and managed to overtake the 2nd place male runner. A half mile later, I was turning back into the Shops at 119 to the shocking finishing time of 21:20.
Uh…although I’d like to believe that I managed to MAGICALLY run faster on a hillier course, mostly alone, and on a much hotter day, I think it’s much more likely that the course was 3 miles long instead of a 5k. Whoops. Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy with a 21:20 3-mile, but I would’ve been THRILLED to better my 5k time for the year. Ah, well. We can’t win ’em all.
Sometimes, though, we CAN be the 3rd woman overall…or the second “man.” I’ll take it!
I would, however, like to send these finishing photos back. Oh, my. I’m guessing that there won’t be a decent running photo of me until, say, mid-October. Warm weather is here to stay, and I am decidedly NOT a warm-weather runner.
Also, I tweeted on Saturday that I had possibly re-injured my hip. I have no idea how it happened, but after performing the extremely hazardous task of going from a seated to a standing position, I registered the all-to-familiar sensation of an aggravated hip flexor. I’m beginning to think that it was a hint from the universe that I should NOT take three days off from running, because it didn’t hurt at all during the race and felt fine afterward. A convenient reminder to stay dedicated? An injury that only flares when I DON’T run? I don’t know. I’m just going to hope that it doesn’t happen again. 🙂