The race is billed as the Pinkest 5K/10K ever. I like pink. I like totally signed up for this run like a girl- She.Is.Beautiful 10K. The course was going to be rolling through the Santa Barbara shoreline out to Montecito and back, there were promises of $500 for first place, and pink was the word. I actually did not know anything about the prize money until two days before the race. What I did know is that I have rolled my eyes at the finish line of a 10K more than once because I just never seem to line one up.
I kind of got into the girlie-ness of the event. Everywhere they had fun signs primping out words like: I am In Charge of How I feel; Sweat Every Damn Day, Darling; Love Peace & Chocolate…. it was super cute. It also made me wonder how I would react if they had a dude’s only race. Excuse me? That’s right- no women allowed. That ain’t right? Oh you see where I’m going with this don’t you, but really what would be the point? Men only? Haven’t we done that for oh what hundreds of years? That’s right girlfriend! OK, I don’t feel guilty anymore. Plus what would their cute signs possibly say? Scratch your Balls like you Scratch your Ass; Sweating doesn’t Count as Showering!; Why should I put the Seat Down? She should put it Up!; I liked it, I put a Ring on it, Now what?; How can I miss you when you Don’t Go Away? I like my women like I like my car washes: Automatic. STOP ME. Stop.
Like I said, I was getting into the girlie-ness of the race. Isla and I baked pink lemonaide cupcakes the day before. I did not have one single lick. Foreshadowing, make note. Yes, those are little straws sticking out of the tops of the cupcakes- so cute.
I didn’t feel particularly good the day before the race. My hamstring still hurt and a chest cold had crept in. Plus since it’s girl time nature stopped by for her visit. Oh those cupcakes are so cute, I need to cry. You? Sniff!
I did what any athlete would do- went to bed and played dead. Race morning was calm, warm and humid. The course was well marked with cones and more more pink signs. I warmed up, I lined up, and I waited for the gun.
“OK Ladies, safety rules la la la, there is a cash prize, but only for first place.” Whoa, winner take all! I like that if I’m the winner. I make note that the lead biker is a man in a pink and purple speedo. I wonder if that is a women’s brief bottom. Where do you buy a man’s pink and pur…
We are off. I push into the first mile and feel feet rise up beside me. She is young and runs smooth. We pace along and I wonder what she’s doing. She pulls ahead and we cruise through the first mile at 5:30 pace. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck. I hit the brakes. I hope that she may come back to me later, but in the mean time there is no way I can run this pace. I should not have run that pace. I sink into a small hole of I just seriously messed up right out of the box boo hoo. Then I snap right back out of it. I pull back through the second mile and find my rhythm. I watch the woman that I will learn is Tori who owns a 1:16 half marathon pull steadily away from me. Hmmmm, I don’t think she is coming back.
I settle into my own race. I push hard up the hills and try to turn it over on each down hill. My children are cheering right around the corner from the Biltmore. My husband has dressed them in their purple and blue Santa Barbara Running and Racing hats. Go Team!
I start to feel like junk before the turn around. I edge around the cones and push back up into the hill. Heading back I watch all the women running in their pink and purple with smiles and determination. Suddenly I feel good again. My legs turn over and my pace drops. I make up a little distance between Tori and I but not nearly enough. I power back past my family, “Yeah Mommy!” I enjoy this. For a small moment the pain softens and I reflect that I am thankful to be able to run strong today- this day. Hopefully there will be lots of tomorrows, but I don’t have those yet.
Rusty rides across the street on his Elliptigo and shouts encouragement. I wake up out of my brief mini seemed pain free reflection and stare at the next round of rollers. I know I just have to get up that one bloody little bitchy hill and then it is a fast cruise to the finish line. I watch Tori slow up on the hill and I hope that somehow magically that does not happen to me.
Ah-hem nope. I too slow up on the hill. I take five steps to shake it out at the top and press hard to drop my pace. Tori is gone. She has done the exact same thing. Good girl. I let my legs turn over fast into the downhill and for a moment my breathing relaxes and becomes very smooth. Up ahead there are a couple 5K runners on the road. The 5K took off 15 minutes before the 10K and the leaders are now finishing up. There is a woman in black (she will take 2nd in the 5K) who is 100 meters ahead of me and looking back. I charge her as if she is in my race. Nothing personal sweetheart, but I’m just gonna use you for your body. She looks back again. Then again. And again. This is incredibly motivating. That good feeling that I had somewhere in the middle of the race is completely gone. Rusty kept calling numbers, but they were not making sense to me. Nothing made sense to me and I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line clock: 36:05. OH! I’m going to be under 37! I’m gonna be way under 37! I cross the line at 36:18 good for second place and a personal record. The only problem is that the COURSE WAS SHORT. Oh. So the PR? As real as the ring. One big shiny cubic zerconia. No Bling If It Ain’t The Real Thing. They should put that on a cute pink sign.
The woman in black from the 5K slaps me a high five and I tell her great job. Then she goes into a saga about how she held me off and she has a chest cold and……. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was in the 10K just using her.
It was a very good event and I look forward to it again in the future and maybe it will be a 10K. Now about those cupcakes…..