This weekend marked the completion of yet another race in the 12×12 challenge. Scott, LilRunr, and I awoke at a completely sane and reasonable hour (ok, maybe not…what do you call 4:30 in the morning? Reasonable? Not? Crazy? Not? Too freakin’ early? Yeah, for sure.) to make the drive to my alma mater for the 2012 installment of the PIttsburg State Alumni Race.
I worried about LilRunr’s response to being taken out of bed long before his usual waking time. As usual, there was nothing to worry about. LilRunr slept through the entire drive, then awakened when we got to the golf course…or, as he chose to see it, WONDERLAND.
Picture it through a toddler’s eyes…
OUTSIDE! We’re outside! Outside is great!
Puddles…LOTS of puddles!
This great miniature road with no cars to worry about and LOTS of fun rocks to pick up
People, kids, running…
Yes, it was a pretty amazing place. Kiddo was on cloud nine. Scott took lots of great pictures of him taking it all in, but this one is probably my favorite:
There’s also this one:
I chatted with a few former teammates, said hello to coach, and headed to the starting line sans warm up. Scott disapproved, but my level of fitness doesn’t include/deserve a warm up. The current team circled up for the usual pre-race pep talk with Coach (my guess, something about getting the season off to a good start, the first test of their fitness level, remember the race plan, Goooooo gorillas!), then Coach headed over to where the “old ladies” were congregating. He thanked us all for coming, told us that we were continuing to influence the current team (sweet thought, Coach, but probably not true), and then…we were ready to go.
The assistant coach served as the starter and Scott captured a picture of soon after the start of the race:
If you look closely, you’ll see ALLLLL of the college girls in the front. Some distance back, you’ll see the first alumna — my friend Kyle, who has her sights set on the Wichita Marathon this October. Best of luck, Kyle! Then, there are two more alumni and at the back of the second pack is yours truly.
This, 50 meters into the race, is as close as I was going to get to college runners.
There was a moment, just over a mile into the 4k race, when I realized that a hapless freshman had taken out WAY too fast and was fading just as quickly. “Yeeeeeessss,” I thought. “This is your chance, Megan. Pick it up, pass that freshman, and actually finish in front of a college runner!”
I tried to pick it up. I really did. I also made sure to wave at LilRunr every time I saw him.
Briefly after the surge of confidence and pace, however, I realized just how far I’ve let my fitness level lapse. The final 3/4 of a mile were not super pleasant. My first mile split was 6:50, the second mile split was 7:20, and my final time was 18:06. I can’t remember what my time the year before was, but I think it was probably closer to an 8:30 or 9:00 average. We’ll assume it was way, way slower and that I’m in much better shape this year, OK?
I finished 15th overall and was the 4th alumni. On the fellas side, my friend Daniel was 3rd overall…just like last year, he represented ALL of us old folks by being in crazy good shape and hanging with the college kids. Muchas gracias, Dan.
I’d like to get a few more girls from my era to attend next year. It’s difficult, because it seems like people are either pregnant, have just had a baby, or haven’t run for so long that they’re embarrassed to attend. Former teammate #4 (pictured above) said it best — “Every time I almost get back in shape, I have another baby.”
I think that pretty well sums up the situation for 90% of the girls I ran with. Next year, there’s talk of Coach allowing the old folks to participate in a relay. The course is two loops, so there would be an easy exchange zone about halfway. This might help increase participation by decreasing that fear of, “what if I’m dead last and everyone else finishes sooooo far in front that I get those irritating pity claps?”
The races concluded by 9:30am. We COULD have headed straight home, but anytime we’re in Pittsburg we make a stop by one of the two great restaurants in the area. NO, I don’t mean one of the chicken restaurants that were featured on Food Wars. Those places? OVER RATED.
You see, Pittsburg, KS has a mall. The mall has a JC Penney, a Hallmark’s, and maybe four other stores. It has a movie theatre with maybe three screens. AND it has two restaurants that draw people from surrounding counties. There’s the Mall Deli, which is — you guessed it — a deli. This place is incredible. Sure, the food is good, but what amazes me every time I’m in Pittsburg is that there’s ALWAYS a line out the door. High noon lunch rush? Line out the door. 2:00 in the afternoon, when every other restaurant has a lull? Line out the door. 10:00am, right when they open? You guessed it — line. out. the door.
I like the Mall Deli, but we tend to go to the OTHER mall restaurant — Cafe del Rio. This is the standard that all other Mexican restaurants are judged by, and even if it requires killing time in the Pittsburg Wal-Mart while we wait for del Rio to open, we WILL eat there EVERY time we’re in Pittsburg.
Oh yes, we will.