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Sunday, September 22, 2019

2019 Blue Doo 2-mile race

If at all possible, I try not to skip this race: it is a fundraiser for Tulane prostate cancer research, and this department is one of my primary clients. I know firsthand how much they need the money to continue the lifesaving research they perform. And I love how this is a way to keep your dollars strictly local: I'm not funding a national organization with layers of administration and staff, I'm giving money straight to the doctors who may save the lives of my own friends and family.

And that's why I dragged my 5.5 month pregnant self to a two mile race! This race is on Tulane's uptown campus, just half a mile from my house, so I jogged to the 5pm start as part of my warmup. I did two miles to warm up, and decided against strides. I should have done some, but it was crowded and I felt silly. Actually, I already felt silly without the strides. I was wearing my racing crop top, and I really dislike that it draws attention to my pregnant stomach. It seems like I'm trying to make a statement or get noticed and I'm not...but I have no choice, because my racing singlet doesn't fit at all anymore! I wouldn't be uncomfortable except a stranger asked to take my picture of my belly before the race and I was like..."Oh, no thank you...." and that just made me feel so weird! But I shrugged it off and got up to the start.

This race starts on a very narrow path, basically a sidewalk, and creates a huge bottleneck right away, so I carefully assessed where I should start. Yeah, I'm slower now, but I'm not get-behind-the-walkers slow. I squeezed past a few people to get in about the sixth row of runners. And some guy condescendingly cautioned, "Watch it, mama, you might get run over up there." Eh, I'm pretty sure I won't get run over by you and your type II diabetes, buddy. Not that I blame him for protecting his place at the start: since this is a fundraiser kind of event, you do get those kids and walkers and weekend warrior types who don't appropriately self-seed, so you do have to watch where you line up. Which is what I was doing, too!

It had rained just a few minutes before the race started, so the surfaces - including areas of slippery brick - were wet, but unlike last week, the rain brought blessed coolness. It was only a little over 80F at the start - I've run this race when it was nearly 100, so this was a nice change. I was a little concerned about my footing in my Zoom Fly SPs, especially since this course has a ton of twists and turns, but I was still thankful for the cool rain!

We started, and I saw all my teammates ahead before they basically vanished from view. As usual, there was a little surge of youngsters who pushed ahead, but by the half mile mark, they had faded, the crowd had thinned, and we were all running steadily. Most of this course is tricky - narrow pathways, sharp turns, and a campus full of college kids make it challenging. I took extra care on sharp turns, and kept my footing on the bricks, too, so the rain didn't end up creating too much of a problem. I was running by "two mile effort" feel, but every so often I glanced at my overall pace. I was at 6:55 at the half mile mark, which was faster than my estimated 7-minute pace. There were two women in front of me in blue Guidos singlets (another local running group) and I told myself that if they were still in front of me at the mile mark, I should try to pass them.

Approaching mile one was a tough section of the crowded campus, and I had to dodge some students, but I felt ok as I passed the first mile in 6:49. I was a little worried that mile one was too fast. Right after the first mile is my favorite part: a straight out-and-back section that lets you see the other runners. Normally I wouldn't be able to say much while racing a two-miler, but this time - why not? I cheered all my teammates! I noticed Brock and Casey were running together in 2nd and 3rd, and Michelle and Paige had 1st and 2nd wrapped up. Then I rounded the hairpin turn and headed the other way. Ugh, that turn. I always lose so much time there. This time was no exception: a peek at my watch said my lap pace was 7:10!

Oh, heck no, I thought. And I threw in a little surge to get my lap pace back down to the 6:40's AND pass both women in blue who were in front of me. For the rest of the mile, I passed two more people, but I ended up in the same position, because two people passed me! One was my friend Dewey, who saw me ahead at the turnaround and was not thrilled with the idea of being beaten by a pregnant girl, and the other was a guy I passed right near the end but who out-sprinted me at the finish. I like how this race finishes, with a long straight section (the rest of the race is nothing but twists and turns). You can see the clock for a good 400 meters. But I no longer have ANY kick at all, so it didn't do me much good this time! At least I didn't slow down; in fact, I ran a negative split with a chip time of 13:33. I had estimated 14 minutes before the race started, so I was pretty pleased with that. And I also finished a distant fifth female, which is nice (thanks for not showing up, other fast girls).

The Powermilers turn this race into a competition between two mostly balanced teams of runners, black team and white team (our colors), but having a pregnant lady on team black apparently hurt us, since we finished 2:30 behind team white by cumulative time! Ha! Sorry, guys! Otherwise, we had a great night as a team, taking most of the top spots, and our ladies went 1-2. Another fun night at the Blue Doo, and I didn't totally embarrass myself!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like such a fun event. Of course, I love the black and white teams!