Here's the lowdown on what went down and the things I've learned along the way (I won't bore you with details from Wed - Thurs, so we're just going to jump right to Friday):
Friday night - never leave unsanded grout on tile for very long...my tile-installer hubby had 5 of us working for nearly 4 hours to get it off the tile backsplash behind the service counter. Lucky for him, no one complained very much after the beer arrived.
It takes 3 men to move a 1,000 lb safe, especially if one corner has a bit of a catch on it. I wasn't involved in the actual physical labor, but enjoyed watching the "endurance" athletes trying to flex their muscles.
Bedtime: 12:45 am.
Saturday morning - Wake up time: 6:15 am.
|Photo courtesy of myhunterdon.com|
Once we saw everyone on their way back to the finish line, we had to get home to get kid #1 prepped for her soccer game - quick change of clothes, lunch and off we go (too bad I got the info wrong and she wore the white instead of blue uniform - so back home I went to get the correct uniform, ugh). Ended up being a good game - and a victory in the books.
Rush back to Base Camp and cram in the car to head out to the St. Luke's Half expo...big mistake going later in the day to this one as this was the 2nd year they didn't have enough racing shirts (jackets 2 years ago) and we have to wait until they mail them to us. *Side-question: if ALL participants pre-register, and the registration has been sold out and closed for 2 months, wouldn't that be enough information to have enough for ALL participants?
Breeze through the expo and off we go back to Base Camp for the pasta/social/KARAOKE party...I had no idea some of my compadres could sing...or could ham it up so well!
Grab the kids, get out the door, home and bed.
Bedtime: 10:30 pm.
*Actual time of sleep: 12:30 am. I sincerely hope the people diligently working on the road by my house are making a TON of cash having to jackhammer and other noisy things on a Saturday night. Thanks, DOT.
Sunday morning - wake up time: 4:45 am.
Peel the eyes open, wash and slather sunscreen on my face, get dressed in race-day gear, quickly sync up the iPod, eat, wonder what to do with a nervous stomach...grab a change of clothes for all 3 kids, make sure kid #1's soccer uniform (correct color this time!) is intact and ready, load car with a lot of crap, wake hubby, carry kids to the car, head out and get to designated meeting spot only 5 minutes late. A record! I'll take that as a good omen for a good finish time later...
Switch cars and pile into the one going straight to the starting line...get to destination and get kicked out of the car before I'm ready..forget my water and my GUM (oh and some bandannas, but we won't go there)! Thank God my sister-in-law (both of them!) had some extra gum, but now I'm hoping I've hydrated enough to carry me through - at least I didn't have to use the porta-potty more than twice - the lines were longer than usual...so here we start with Lesson #1: ALWAYS pre-pack your small essentials in a ziplock bag; gum, gels or chews, disposable water bottle, sunscreen (see Lesson #5) etc. for while you wait at the starting line!
Time to line up like cattle at the starting gate...still chilly, but take off my long sleeve shirt (I'll see Loudmouths at mile 3 so I can hand it off then), get the earbuds in, iPod on, gps watch ready to go and try not to notice my heart rate is already up to 92 bpm.
Pull off to the side and try to quickly fix the issue, but my cold, stiff fingers don't want to cooperate, not to mention that I have 3 gels hooked on my index finger and they keep getting in the way...off and running again after what seems like ages...so we have Lesson #2: ALWAYS check your shoes, make sure they are tied and securely double knotted before you start!
Come up on "Loudmouth" station #1 - slap hi-fives to all 3 of my kids on the side line and keep running with a ridiculous grin on my face. Miles 4, 5 and 6 fly by - cheering for the front-runners as they pass by going the opposite direction and wonder where the darn turnaround is...see and yell for other PACER's as I see them going in the opposite direction before and after the turnaround...a very cool aspect of this race as you'd never see them otherwise.
Loudmouth station #2 is finally here - and accidentally miss kid #3's hi-five...I know I'll never hear the end of it, so I stop, run back and make sure I get him, too...and super happy I did sporting another ridiculous grin as I get back on course again. I'm feeling great - particularly because I'm already past mile 6 and know that if I start picking up speed, I should be ok and don't have to worry about crashing.
Enter the park. Gravel sections, pot-hole riddled sections, lots of hills...and am able to strongly push through every single one, thanking good ol' Hunterdon County's hills for being what they are as lots of other runners are really struggling both up and down the course. Lesson #3: Complete your training on terrain that is harder than your race so you are FULLY prepared on race day.
My gps had my finish at 13.2 miles and I'm positive the extra .10 of a mile is from zig-zagging back and forth to avoid the big pot holes in sections of the park. Someone could lose a leg in those things! In the more narrow sections, I got stuck behind a large group...no space to pass on either side, but I make a quick burst out in the grass to pull out in front because I just couldn't stand the smell of onion BO that someone was giving off. Lesson #4: ALWAYS use an ample amount of odor protection during a race. Your fellow racers will appreciate it.
Back to the street - and only 2 miles left! Yahoo! I'm picking up more and more speed...see the Loudmouths for the final time and feel like I could sprint to the finish from mile 11. I'm running in the 7's and 8's now...completely ignoring my HR and instead just going for it. Winding through another park and back up to the final stretch...about 3/4 mile left I start questioning my decision to run faster...but keep reminding myself it's less than a mile to go and SUCK IT UP! Go, go, go! Then comes the curve of spectators indicating the stadium finish is JUST AHEAD...push up the final hill to the top and enter the stadium...as I get to the final turn I look at my watch and see that I'm at 1:59 but can't see the seconds and REALLY want to come in under 2 hours so I full out sprint to the finish line - I don't know where it came from, but the motivation was there and I made it in at 1:59:51...WOOOHOOO! I'm actually afraid of what my finish line race photo is going to look like. I wonder if the photography company will delete it completely if I ask? How to ensure you have a great finish line photo may wind up being another "Lesson", but I'll wait to render judgement until I actually see it.
So back to the race - as we PACER's finish one by one, we are able to find each other and it's like a long-lost reunion...hi-fives, sweaty hugs and "stories from the battlefield" are traded...those good-looking new PACER jerseys are easy to spot on our teammates as they round the track to the finish line...and likewise easy to get their attention with a collective yell from the ever-growing group of us up in the stands.
I have to say that the one thing I really like about this race in particular is the after-race food - they put a lot of thought into what they offer, and it's geared for the runner's recovery. I appreciate that it's not just burgers and dogs - there were black bean sausage sandwiches (kind of scary looking, but quite tasty), vegetable soup, oranges, bananas, muffins and smoothies. Well done to the race staff for bucking the usual trend.
Once everyone has completed the race and is accounted for, it's time to head for home and then to kid #1's soccer game...I hope I wasn't too stinky or crazed-looking showing up to a game in progress without having the time to properly clean myself up. Only problem was, I may have been careful to sunscreen my face, but neglected the rest of me and am now pretty sure if I stood by a stop light, the color of my shoulders alone would cause traffic to come to a full stop. Lesson #5: Apply sunscreen to any skin that might be exposed to the sun at any time you might be outside. Before AND after the event is an even better idea!
Anyway, long story short (well, ending soon, anyway), it was finally back home, laundry, some desperately needed house cleaning, dinner and some "Celebrity Apprentice" to finish off the weekend. I still don't know who was fired - it was interrupted by the news that Osama Bin Laden had been offed by our troops, which then conjured up some old memories of September 11, 2001...a cool, crisp morning with amazing blue skies and abundant sunshine, not unlike race day. Only difference is that this day will go down in the books as one of the best, punctuated by some long-time-coming satisfaction, in this blogger's opinion.
Bedtime: 11:45 pm.
Here's a post-race meal developed by a runner (click here) for post-run recovery:
Chicken Not Pie
"Serve this 30-minute meal atop brown rice, whole-grain bread, or whole-wheat fettuccine."
1/4 cup olive oil, divided in half
2 leeks, washed well, dried, and chopped Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or tarragon
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 large red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, cut into coins
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Put half the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
Add wine, stock, and thyme; boil one minute. Add chicken, reduce heat, cover, simmer till barely cooked (five minutes), then remove.
Add potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer five minutes.
Add carrots; cook a few minutes. The liquid should thicken; if not, turn up heat and cook a few minutes while stirring.
Slowly add remaining oil while stirring. Add peas and asparagus. Cook for three minutes.
Chop chicken; return to skillet with any chicken juices and the lemon. Warm through.
Calories Per Serving: 460
Carbs: 52 G
Protein: 21 G
Fat: 15 G