Saturday, June 1, 2013

Race Report: Moonlight Half Marathon

No better way to reboot my blog than with a race report. And for the first time in the history of my running blog, I MET MY RACE GOAL.

The weather has been tricky here in Italy. I brought FOUR running outfits because I just didn't know what I was going to need. As we set out for packet pick up, it was pouring down rain...right up until I met up with my running buddies. Then the sun came out, but it stayed cold. Hence the red jacket in May.

Just too damned cold for May.

When we were done with packet pick up, Mr. X & I headed back to our hotel room for some doggie-human-bonding time. Which meant taking the dogs for a walk on the beach, then squatting at a cafe so the humans could get cappuccinos. It was nice; Hermione (LittleDog) is used to traveling, so she loved it. This was our first overnight trip with Penny (BoxerDog). She did very well.

Doggie Time!

Next, it was nap time. I made it a point to lay down & get some sleep. The race started at 8PM, which was later than I'm used to running. So I worked a nap & shower into my schedule. Before I knew it, it was time to get dressed & head out. Getting dressed was a challenge. I really had no idea what to wear. In the end, I'm not sure it mattered much.... 

Ready to RUN!
Here's the problem: it was COLD. Not winter cold or anything, but colder than normal for May in Italy. Complete cloud cover, 55-60 degrees, night time, & pending rain. I got a brilliant idea & sent Mr. X out for trash bags, which I handed out to friends. It was helpful in blocking the wind & holding in warmth. It turns out the race organizers had the same idea; they were handing out yellow trash bags. I went double-trash-bag.

Trash Bag Fashion
The start of the race was strange. No countdown, no gun. There was just a moment when people started running. Of course, we all wanted to start; it was so cold! And aside from the lame start, it was a fairly even, steady race. Nice & flat, beautiful scenery. 

Right up until Mile 8.5 or so. 

I was warned there was an overpass. No big deal. The problem was that about 10 [long] seconds after I saw the overpass, a sheet of rain fell from the sky. I'm talking about torrential downpour. Within 3 seconds, we were all soaked to the skins. Suddenly, I had some decisions to make. The road was flooding & I wanted to preserve my feet for as long as possible. So instead of trodding the soaked roads, I jumped on the small sidewalk. It only had room for one person, so everyone was lined up in a row. No passing. I knew I was losing time...& at the bottom of the overpass, the road was covered in ankle-deep water. Which means I lost that time for nothing; I ended up in the situation I'd been trying to avoid.

By Mile 10, I was feeling the cold, but I wasn't in pain. My legs were perfectly ARMS were becoming a problem. At Mile 11, I started to feel pain in my arms. I realized all the water sitting on my arms, trapped in those sleeves, was becoming a problem. I thought about taking my shirt off during one of my walk breaks, but I didn't do it...I don't know why & I wish I had...but I didn't. At Mile 12, I had to stop for a second to shake out my arms & try to create circulation; I was having trouble moving them. And at the finish line, this is what it looked like:

Can you SEE the rain? Over 3 miles of downpour. I'm on the RIGHT.
See all that rain? It was crazy. And what's amazing is that I had enough gas in my tank to sprint to the finish. I was determined to hit my time. I knew I'd lost time on that damned overpass. I was cold, my arms hurt, I thought I could've had hypothermia...& I just wanted it over. In classic fashion, I didn't stop sprinting until well after the finish line.

Here are the results:


You can SEE the overpass in these #s.

Official Times. I DID IT!!!

FUNNY STORY: After I finished, I went to the drink table to pick up a Gatorade. My arms were so stiff/cold, I couldn't get the bottle open. I was in such a state that I think I ended up yelling for help [in Italian] to the nice Italian gentleman to help me. He was very kind, very understanding...I think. I couldn't really understand what he said but he opened the bottle for me.

ANOTHER FUNNY STORY: Mr. X kept trying to get me under the umbrella. Kept saying "Come on, Bonnie! I'll keep you dry!" Seriously? Really? Look at the state of me! It didn't even matter at that point. I'm still chuckling about his insistence that I "stay dry."

I waited for my friends to finish, then headed to the tents to change. THE TENTS WEREN'T EVEN DRY. I stood on used trash bags, butt-assed-naked, trying to dry myself off with the small hand towel I'd brought with me. To me, when you can stand butt-assed-naked in front of strangers, you know that you've run a good race...& you're too damned tired. As soon as I peeled that wet shirt off of me, I immediately started feeling better.

The official photos from MarathonFoto are terrible. I guess they decided it was too much rain to do their jobs; there are no photos from halfway thru the race, on the course... nothing. In fact, there are pictures I KNOW were taken that were never posted.  I'm pretty bitter about that. I was out there running in that crap & they were getting paid to take pictures. And now I don't have much proof that it was as awful as I say it was. I wanted those pictures as proof that I made it thru that AND hit my target time.

After we all changed clothes, we headed to a restaurant for pizza & beer. Of course, I only ate the pizza. Truth is, we didn't celebrate our PRs until the following day, when we made it home & went to dinner together.

Before leaving the beach, however, the dogs deserved a reward for behaving so well during race weekend. So I leave you an awesome action photo.

Penny loves the beach!

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