Sunday, March 12, 2006

Our First Tri!

Hey guys! I CAN NOT believe it's already Sunday night and the weekend is almost over. It's totally flown by. We had a gorgeous weekend, temps in the upper 70's all weekend and it feels SO nice!

So Saturday was our stair climbing challenge. The event was hosted by Junior League of Nashville and was in the William Snodgrass (government building) downtown. Friday night we just beat. I'm not sure why, but we were veggies and hung out at home. We got our "racing" stuff ready and went to bed at a respectable hour. The race started at 8 so we had to get up at 6.15, which is really just wrong for a Saturday morning. We ate our usual long run breakfast of oatmeal and headed out the door. The weather forecast was for scattered showers and highs of nearly 80 degrees!! Crazy! Three weeks ago we ran in snow, and now flowers are blooming and one insane neighbor has already mowed his grass. We arrived downtown around 7.30 and the race organizers had arranged for free parking for participants in the adjacent government lots. SWEET! We signed in and got our race swag. They were already out of small shirts, which is always annoying. We got the two last Medium shirts. I really don't get that since there was a long printout of preregistered participants AND I heard someone say half the people didn't even show up. The family half-way event was set to start an hour after our event, so I hope they were all big people!

They made some announcements and told everyone to head inside and for competitive people to head to the front. There were no finisher awards or official race time keeping for this event. This was the first event of its kind here in Nashville, so it was really more of a fun "fundraiser". There was a large timing clock at the beginning and at the end, with a 6 second stagger between participants (but if you had a partner you could go together). About 5 or 6 times they told slower people to move to the back. Brent and I headed closer to the front and heard the women in front of us mention they were track coaches at a local U so we figured we were fine. The first set of stairs was actually an escalator (turned off) and then 25 more flights of actual stairs. We watched the people in front of us go, and about 4 teams in front of us an overweight couple started out walking - slowly. We looked at each other and said "Oh no". Why do some people REALLY think they're competitive when it's so obvious they're not!! I'm not being elitist - I'm being REALIST! If you're extremely overweight in a t-shirt and sweatpants you should really not line up in front of tons of people wearing moisture wicking fabrics. Common sense. Finally it was our turn and off we went! I started out fairly quickly and Brent started right behind me. We went up the two layers of escalators and then ran to the stairwell. GEEZ! This was a narrow stairwell and a cluster had already formed thanks to previously mentioned "competitive" overweight guy (COG). This stairwell was so incredibly narrow that it was difficult for two people to go side by side, much less maneuver around COG. There were 3 or 4 teams between him and us, and we were all trying to pass. Several people (including me!) were loudly saying "EXCUSE ME! PASSING ON THE LEFT!" His equally impaired wife was right next to his large ass, blocking the whole stairwell. Finally she found a clue and said "Huh! A lot of people are really trying to go fast!" No duh Sherlock. She got out of the way but getting around him seemed to be more of an issue. There was no landing, so passing was an art form of sliding in and around. His equally large pride moved halfway across the width of the stairwell so after a few polite "excuse me"s from me I just elbowed him (which he probably did not even feel) and made it around. Other people would stop at waterstops (yes, there were FOUR for a 26 flight climb) and then walk out right in front of you. All the passing and weaving took a lot of energy. We passed quite a few people (including two of the four track coaches in front of us) and ended up finishing in 6 minutes and 3 seconds. I have no idea if that's good or bad since this is our first stair event and there was no recording of people's times. We passed quite a few people and weren't passed by anyone, so that has to be good. I heard the fastest guys finished in 3 mins 31 seconds. They were also wearing some track uniforms straight out of Chariots of Fire, so I knew they would be fast.

I was SO glad to get out of that stairwell! I could've kept going but was more than happy to stop. The narrow stairwell was SO hot. With temps during the week in the 70's it was toasty warm in the stairwell. (Friday was so warm the temp in our house was up to 76 when we got home!) A few nice volunteers had the door for their floor open for a slight breeze but you really didn't get to stop and enjoy it! We were handed a bottle of water and I started chugging and enjoying the view. The water wasn't cool so I tried a small glass of Tab Energy drink, which was on ice. I was sweating like a pig and coughing like a smoker - so funny after just a 6 minute workout! Stairs kick your ass! Finally I got it all under control and found a spot to sit down. There were no awards, just door prizes. Brent ended up winning a Sara Lee gift basket which they didn't actually have at the race so they have to send it to us. Yum!

All in all it was a great event. I had no idea what Junior League was about, some guards at the parking lot asked us what we were doing the event for and we looked at each other and said "Kids? Cancer? Sorry, we're just not sure but we know it's a great cause!" They actually promote women in leadership throughout the city and in turn do a lot of the things for the community, which of course can (at times) include both kids and cancer. All the volunteers were REALLY friendly and excited about the event. I'm sure in time they'll grow it for timed prizes and stuff like that. I have no desire to race stairs every weekend but I'm really glad we did it and I'd certainly do this event again. On a side not - previously mentioned COG took SIX bananas with him as he left! What a jerk! The family event hadn't even started yet. I gave him lots of evil looks.

From there we were off to complete our tri. We substituted stairs for swimming (they both start with S) then drove (instead of biking - for the two of us it was still 4 wheels!) over to Shelby Park and ran 8 miles. Our half next weekend runs through a lot of Shelby so I wanted one good run through there just to get my mind around it again. It had rained while we were indoors and as soon as we pulled into the lot it started up again. It was light at first, which really felt refreshing. Then as we were gearing up it started pouring and thundering. Hmmm. We sat in the car for 10 minutes and had just pulled out to head home and try again there when it completely stopped! So we turned around again and headed off for our run.

Our legs were really tired for the stair race. We started out slow and I could hear all the water I had downed sloshing in my stomach. GROSS! The rain had made everything so incredibly muggy. It was strange how I've forgotten what muggy even feels like! We met a lot of runners headed back who had obviously gotten caught in the rain! Frogs and birds were singing everywhere as we plodded along. The first couple of miles seemed so incredibly long as we were trying to get into the groove. Around Mile 3 a turtle was sitting next to the path so we stopped and took his picture. We gradually started picking up the pace and saw quite a few cyclists, runners and walkers. We did the big loop and then headed back. From time to time we'd feel a sprinkle or two and then right around mile 6 the wind picked back up. Brent slowed down a little and I kept on. I was finally starting to feel strong when one massive gust nearly blew the hat off my head and knocked me off my course. And was over! Overall pace was 9.30 which is OK considering we'd already run stairs and were pretty tired, plus that includes our intermission with the turtle. I'll take it!

This post is long enough as is so I'll post more tomorrow! Hope u all had a great weekend!



At 9:33 PM, Blogger Cory said...

Six bananas, eh?! Well...I hear that potassium overload like that'll...uhhh...well...don't know much about potassium, really. He's gonna get his ass kicked though, I'm planning on dreaming it right now.

As far as Tab, me and the rest of the beverage nerds that post on BevNET's board think that "Tab" energy drink is blasphemous! Tab is a diet Cola, darn it people! Ain't no synthetic pomegranates part of that equation. Am I really that old that i remember "The Real Tab?"

*sneers* :) G'night, Rae!

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Cliff said...

We have a CN Tower in Toronto and twice a year they have a stair climb challenge.

There are 1700 steps. The fastest time I have done is 14 min and 34 sec. I still have the shirt with the time hang up in my room. I use it to remind how far I can if I really push myself.

I think i can go a faster with proper training. Maybe this season in Oct (after the tri season) i will give it a go again.

Most ppl, especially new ppl, will rush the first 2-3 flights and then die the rest of the time up. We didn't have water stops. It's a cool idea.

I wish I have the stairs to practice with. Imagine how strong you will be after climbing those stairs every day? :)

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Jack said...

Wow, what a cool Tri! And your race report was soo good, expecially the retake on the potassium overloading COG's.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger PLANET3RRY said...

Athough I totally agree that COG was not properly lined up...

1) At least he was getting exercise something the fatties here in TN need to do (oops, did I say that...)

2) 6 Bananas... okay, that is not exceptible even for King Kong, but at least he didn't pick up 6 bagels or other junk food (if they were present)

Finally she found a clue and said "Huh! A lot of people are really trying to go fast!" No duh Sherlock.
That's why TN is bottom of the barrel in education. At least she "found" one.

You guys would've been faster if given the chance! We don't have big building here in Knoxville...

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

Way to go!! Your time is great for the distance. :) You and Brent are stars!!

Great job on the "tri" as well. :) Looking forward to the next race report!

At 7:07 AM, Blogger KT said...

Good luck on next weekend's half!

Also, glad to hear I'm not the only one who gets rage when there aren't small shirts available. That is like my biggest pet peeve!

At 7:40 AM, Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

Thanks for the entertaining post. You're too funny!

A couple of bloggers ran 8 yesterday. I wish that I would have known. It might have made my run easier. That's cool that you stopped to see the turtle. I didn't see any brick walls or 150mg of happiness--though I would have stopped for both.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Robb said...

Your warm weather freaks me out. I saw a snowmobile on back of a pick-up this morning.

It is mild here today at 9 degrees C / just shy of 50 the snow is pretty much done.

Steve Runner gave you a little plug on his podcast. Did you hear it?

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

Very cool. You guys are becoming the "first couple of running" in Nashville. Sorta like the first family, or first lady,,,get it?

At 10:54 AM, Blogger robtherunner said...

I enjoyed your description of the stair climb. Some people are just clueless and I am not sure that there is anything that can be done at those type of events to help them understand. Perhaps a light smack upside the head, or an elbow is the proper response, but like you said he probably did not even feel it. Have a good week.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Audrey said...

Yuppers. I know I looked like a freak getting the "elite" start at my stair climb even though I spent the last few months swimming...I just knew it was worth dying while climbing to avoid the congestion-I don't do crowds :)

Don't you want to climb more?!?!? Funnest thing ever!!!!! Good "race" report.

At 11:38 AM, Blogger D said...

Hilarious report. Thank goodness you passed COG before you gave him a left hook! Nice job on the Tri!

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Kim said...

The stairs sound like fun...well except for the morons...but otherwise fun.
Tried the Tab Energy this past weekend...thought I'd like...loved the 'original' Tab...about gagged on the new disappointing.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger susie said...

I did an xterra race in CT last fall which included stairs up and down the bridges that run over the river...pretty tiring! So good for you!!!

At 5:19 PM, Blogger angie's pink fuzzy said...

congrats on your first "tri!"

good job on the stair climb...too bad about the guy who wouldn't let you pass

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

Two lessons I took away from your post:

1. Don't ever want to be behind COG.

2. Don't ever want to find out what the Rae evil eye looks like!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger E-Speed said...

awesome job on the stairs. people like COG are all over the place, especially at charity events.

I have learned not to expect anything spectacular from myself at a charity race because it is guaranteed you will get stuck behind someone slower.

i flipped out at a 5k my husband and i did and since then I have learned to chill :)

i don't think i could handle the stairs. Not enough oxygen!


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