Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oktoberfest 5K Race Report: Bumpy, Lumpy & Proud

WARNING: This post is very long, at times totally off topic, and full of pictures. (And took all day, off and on, to write!)

Hey guys! I hope you've all had a great weekend. I can't say that I have many complaints. I actually started my weekend a little early. I think all the stress of everything - the world, the house, sick people everywhere around me, trouble sleeping, etc - totally caved in on me Thursday leaving me pretty much exhausted. Sometimes I sleep pretty good, others not so much, and last week I was just feeling utterly exhausted and like I could succumb to all the illness around me at work. (On a side note, why do sick people refuse to stay home??? It's gross and so rude to everyone around - esp those of us who can't take a slew of medicines to clear things up.) So Brent pretty much ordered me to stay home Friday and get some rest, and I feel SO much better. I slept until close to 9 am, and did a lot of couch napping all day. My two "approved" activities were mopping the kitchen floor and cleaning the bathroom, and those were pretty much the only things I did that took me away from a day of watching TLC and decompressing.

Friday night when Brent got home we headed out to do a little car shopping. On the way to the dealership we saw the Oktoberfest packet pick-up booth, so we went ahead and swung in to sign up for the race. Basically, the churches and historical society who sponsor this festival every year got into an argument over the money side of it, so the festival split and the new Germantown Street Festival side kept the race. So, the course was all new, start and finish in new places, new logo, new everything! I asked if there was an Athena division, and of course the one race I would qualify there wasn't! I got my shirt, my Christie Cookie, and my bib and we walked around Germantown looking for a dinner spot.

One great thing about pregnant running is not caring what you fuel up on the night before! It's all about taking it easy, so anything works. We ended up trying out Monell's. Monell's is the classic "Southern cooking" type place. It's family style, and while we knew you sat at the table with people you didn't know and shared big bowls of food, we always thought you ordered the meat you wanted. However, all the meats they're serving that day are brought to everyone as well. Truly this is the type of place that helps TN stay extremely high in the overweight statistics of our nation. Our table was completely full - prob about 12 or so people. One group of 5, the two of us, a group of 3 and another group of 2. We were completely stuck in the back corner of the room - a wall behind us, and I was next to the head of the table - an EXTREMELY large guy who ate there often. On the other side of him - one of the biggest people I've ever seen - also a huge fan of the place. I was really glad my nauseated days are long gone - there's NO way I would've been able to get out without making them move. And let's just say that would not happen "I'm about to be sick" quickly. First we passed around salads - cole slaw, pea salad and cucumbers and onions. It was all pretty good, their cole slaw was excellent. Then came the sides - mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn casserole, & green beans. I don't like greens, and theirs weren't my thing either. I also wasn't a fan of the green beans - I don't personally like the Southern way of cooking them in ham/bacon, and I'm pretty sure theirs were. Then came the meats - vegetarian lasagna, fried catfish and fried chicken. I skipped the lasagna, the fish was great but the pieces were small and their hushpuppies were a little weird, and the fried chicken was just ok. Dessert was banana pudding, and of course there was sweet tea (but naturally I'm stuck with water everywhere since I'm choosing to try to avoid caffeine 99.9% of the time.) The banana pudding was excellent and I could've eaten the whole bowl.

So yeah, the whole family style thing can be a little odd. The huge guy next to me was NOT a passer. I'd hand him something and he would just set it down. We were the halfway point of the table and so the entire other side would just sort of look at him, so I'd end up handing it straight across the huge table. He told me he wasn't interested in "the healthy stuff" for the first salad course - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pass it on! It was nuts. He was there with his family - a couple of brothers and his parents, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this winter. His mom spent the WHOLE time telling him he needs to find a wife, that it's not good to be alone, etc etc. Poor guy probably hears it ALL the time, but why rush into the wrong marriage! Anyway, we were stuck there a long time - the people on Brent's right had us blocked in because they were slow eaters, and then we were blocked on the other side because the people were so large we couldn't get by. Monell's was pretty good - but it was $16 a person which just wasn't worth it. We don't eat THAT much.

From there we finally made it over to the car dealership, test drove the car we liked, then went inside to talk "bizness". I HATE buying cars. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I think cars are sort of pointless, and I would never spend a lot on one. We sat around forever while they appraised our trade-in. We've got a 2000 Jeep Wrangler, with a whopping 50K miles on it - I seriously hit 50K in July and we've had it for 7 years, and we bought it used! Driving 5-6 miles a day does not wear a car out, and it's in perfect shape with a lot of upgrades and new brakes, tires and radiator. So when they brought us back the paperwork and offered us $5,000 for it - we hit the ceiling. We had already told them we owe nothing on the car, planned to pay cash for the new car, and basically couldn't have been an easier sale in a time where dealerships are supposed to be struggling. Anyway, we were so beyond offended we didn't even want to play the game with them, of course they wouldn't just give us our keys back. Brent went behind the counter to get them himself, they didn't tell us where they had moved our car and let us wander around the lot for several minutes before they told us where to find our car - which is rude on every level but especially when you're dealing with a pregnant lady at 9pm, so we won't be back to Crest Honda for anything, ever. It was beyond frustrating. (And also about $3K below the standard Kelly trade in value for our car.)

Needless to say we came home miffed and irritated, it was already close to 10, and I was starting to think getting up early for a race might not be my smartest move. My goal all along has been to keep my fitness up for this particular race. I slept horribly that night, worried about the race and irritated about the whole car thing.

Race morning started early, I had toast with PB on it and grabbed some clothes. I haven't bought any maternity running stuff, I mostly just work out every day in elastic shorts and Brent's old race shirts. It's not pretty, but buying a whole new professional wardrobe for myself as well as clothes for a baby isn't cheap, and all the maternity stuff I've seen is really pricey. I found a white Tshirt that would work, and then my ugly gym shorts. They're not flattering but neither is my rear end these days, and especially my thighs, so I try to wear longer stuff.

Brent dropped me off near the start and I grabbed my chip and stood around waiting for him to find me. I didn't see anyone I knew - there were several other large races that day, so I guess a lot of the more popular runners went there. The corporate team from my former employer wasn't even there, which was odd. I headed to the back of the pack to line up, and ended up getting in line with the running stroller crew. I figured that was the best place for me to avoid mobs, but by the time the gun went off the crowd was an absolute chaotic mess, as far back as I lined up there were walkers in front, runners behind, just a mess of people not understanding how to line up. They were all courteous though, so it was fine, just a slow, messy start.

Brent waited a little past the start to get my pic, then jumped in with me, massive camera in tow. His plan was to stick with me the whole way, which was just fine by me. I know he was staying with me to make sure I was ok, that it really had nothing to do with taking hundreds of pictures of me, but I'm cool with that. That's what sweet, concerned husbands do. There were tons of police everywhere guarding the intersections, so I know if I had needed medical attention I would've been taken care of quickly.

My goal all along was just to take it easy, keep it conversational, and maybe end up around 45 minutes. That was a goal that made me cringe, but 20 pounds of baby really slows you down. (Last year I ran it in 25something, the year before in 24:06.) Girlie and I have had our moments - she went through her "sitting on my bladder phase". We've also been through the "how do I run with porn star boobs" phase (answer:double the boobs, double the quantity of sports bras), and now we're in a happy place together. I have some shin pain, but I think that's a combo of def needing a new pair of shoes plus the extra weight. It's very similar to the pain I get when it's time for new shoes.

So we started slow, I'd walk any hills, and I just kept it easy. It felt nice to pick people off, slowly. Pregnant running is weird: people stare but won't say anything. I think people here still find it odd that I work out. I get comments about it at work, a few at the gym, but generally people just avoid me. The only people that talked to me before the race were the running stroller crowd. My miles ticked off evenly at around 13:30-13:40 each, which I was very happy with. One police officer kidded with Brent and said "Shame on you, making a pregnant woman run!" and I said "I'm the one making HIM run!", but generally I was just stared at, then ignored.

The new course goes around the Farmer's Market, instead of running through it, which was sort of disappointing. That was always my favorite part of this course and of any race in Nashville. Running through a building of shocked and confused produce shoppers was always fun. The race ended similarly to the former course, we ran up the hill past the Market, a turn and the new finish was even closer than the old - no big finishing hill! When I rounded that last hill I was so proud of myself, I was NOWHERE near last and I had done it - with no pain, discomfort and not much sweat. Brent sprinted ahead to get my finishing pic, final chip time of 42:05 - several minutes ahead of my goal. I had my chip cut off, then told the old guy who ALWAYS volunteers how good it was to see him, and (like always, no matter how I did) he said "Great time for you today - Oh WAIT! Great time for you AND baby! Good for you!". I was 71 out of 82 in my division, I was 752 overall and they had said there were over 1,000 people signed up. We stood and watched some others finish before looking for some water. We watched the awards, and of course I secretly hoped all other female 30-34 year olds had the flu, and then headed over to the festival.

First stop - the church bake sale. I bought some chocolate chip cookies that were wonderfully melty in the hot sun (it was something like 85 degrees yesterday. Normally Oktoberfest is my first long sleeve race, or it's at least a little chilly - not a chance this year!). We shopped the booths, then went back to the Mad Platter BierGarten where we feasted on polish sausage (the best!!!) and bratwurst. I heart polish sausage, big time. We walked around a little more and then got a funnel cake to share while we watched a polka band (the same band that performs at the Gerst Haus.) Good times! Baby girl enjoyed the beats and was kicking away.

Enjoying bake sale goodies:

Monkies make everything more fun:

Funnel cakes make life great:

German music and dancing makes babies kick:

On our way back to the car we went through the history festival at BiCentennial Mall. We listened to Abe Lincoln talk for a little while before heading back to the car.

Abe talking to the crowds - I never knew he had a Southern accent!

Capital Mall: Turned into (Revolutionary) Tent City

All in all, I couldn't be more pleased with my "race". I met my goals, maybe inspired a girl or two to keep her fitness up one day when she's having a baby, and maybe pictures of us running "together" will inspire my own baby girl one day. It wasn't my normal 24 or 25 minute race, but it was special in its own way. I don't know if I'll do any more races before my due date. The two I wanted to do for sure were the 5K for Fatherhood I did back in June, and this one. I'm really glad I was able to do both of them, the first at 10 weeks pregnant and this one at 24 weeks pregnant. I'd like to do the 5K before the Christmas parade, but as it's 6 weeks before my due date I'm not sure how much I'll be running then!

Have a great week!


At 5:10 AM, Blogger Anne said...

How far we've come from the days when pregnant women were heckled by spectators for "being so selfish" -- glad the public's attitude has changed. Nice smile you had in all those photos -- it must have really been fun, especially beating your predicted time. I don't think I'll be going to Montell's if I'm ever in Nashville. That fat guy's probably still there!

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Tiggs said...

pregnant running is awesome! wtg rachel and baby girl!

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

You are so awesome!

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Jill said...

You may want to try Carmax. We've successfully purchased 3 cars from them and if they don't give you a good trade in, you can always sell it on your own. There is a rather larger market for Jeeps (teenager knock around cars...esp. with summer around the corner). If you go, ask for Mark Stengel - he is awesome!!

PS. Congrats on the first baby did fabulous. And, yea, Monnell's stinks. Did that before too...unless you get friends/family with you..not a good time.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger brent said...

bravo on the race!!!

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Danny said...

you look great! good for you to keep it up!

At 5:44 PM, Blogger David said...

You could walk the Christmas race and then turn left and head straight to the hospital.

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