Well, the inevitable day arrived. I woke at 5am to make sure I was ready and not rushed. Grabbed my heart monitor, my ipod, and the directions to the event. Check in started at 6am but parking looked limited on the map and I wasn't sure where this race was taking place. I hopped in my car, drove lost for a few minutes, found the check-in booth, got my ankle timer and event number, and reparked my car. Okay, I had an hour and a half before it started so I walked the couple of blocks to the nearest Starbucks, ordered my Pike Place brew and a low-fat coffee cake. That's when I realized my wallet was still in my work bag at home. Opps! Darn I really wanted that warm cup of coffee before the race. It was still very chilly along the coast at that hour! The nice guys behind the counter said to go ahead and enjoy my treat. Wow! Humbly I thanked them and savored every drop. Okay, now it was time to warm up, stretch and get psyched. Back near the Check-In tent a massage business offered free stretching. That sounded cool, so I waited for my turn. I laid down on the massage table where he proceeded to pull my legs this way and that. Wow, I knew I was tight but he made me feel as if I would just snap! I was coffeed up, loosened up and ready to go! Only there was still a half hour to wait. I noticed a group of people pointing at something in the water. Two harbor seals were playfully putting on a show for the crowd! I thought this couldn't get better. A beautiful morning, generous people and a spontaneous seal show. Then the announcer called us to line up. Since I had a hard time following my training routine, I knew I should stay toward the back with the people who were a bit slower. I was determined to run this thing but knew I had better not push myself too hard.
The race was on. I started with a slow and steady jog along the Elliot Bay trail. Okay, this was going well. Slow and steady. First marker states 1K. Great, I'm started to sweat but doing okay. Then the side cramp kicks in. I look at my heart rate monitor. Gee! 168bpm! I slowed down to a fast walk and waited until the side cramps resolved. Feeling better, I began jogging again. Good there's the 2K marker. Awww. The sculpture garden. I had heard about it a couple years ago but now I get to run past it. Keeping the pace, I reach the fountain and my turn around point. I checked my HR again. 174!! Wow, I'm outa shape. I walked for a bit until it lowered. I didn't want to walk though. I signed up to run and that's what I intend to do! More that half way there, the side cramps returned. More walking. Now home stretch is within reach. The photographers lined up at the finish line, the large timer off to the side, it was thrilling to know I made it!
After downing some water and checking my time, I realized I didn't go as fast as I had hoped. But here's my perspective. This event was my baseline for the year. A starting point for moving forward. I did, after all, complete the race in 50 minutes and enjoyed the comradery of my fellow racers.My heart rate concerned me. I hadn't measured it during training so I didn't know where I was at. It was a wake up call. Although I'm a little overweight, I had no idea that my heart had to work that hard to keep me moving. It's enough to motivate me to continue seeking active lifestyle and set new goals for myself. I am proud of this accomplishment though. It was a beautiful day and I couldn't ask for a more scenic location. Slow and steady, I will get there!