It was hot. The first really hot day we've had this year, and we were out pounding the asphalt down a country road with no shade.
It was hilly. Gorgeous scenery - rolling farmland, with vines stretching as far as the eye could see. Gorgeous. But it's hard to notice that when all you can think about are your quads burning and your heart pounding.
It was tough. My mind wasn't in a good place, and coupled with the heat I hadn't trained in, I was saying all sorts of curse words about the sport of running. We came around a bend to a water station at mile 4, and a cute little pixie handed us our Dixie cup of water and squeaked...
"All uphill from here!" as she cheerily waved us on.
"Wait, what did she say?" asked Anne.
"All. Up. Hill." I grunted.
We chugged along, our happy chatter from the first mile being replaced by occassional comments and eventually, just the sound of our breath and our feet pounding. Our paces changed, and soon I was by myself. I put my headphones on and prayed some Gaga and some ZBB would carry me to through the final mile.
I came around another corner and saw the gates of the vineyard in sight, and picked up my pace. I saw the mile marker 6, and knew there were just 0.2 left go and poured out everything I had. I saw my friends waving from the finish line - done already, happily nursing their powerades and cheering for me. I pumped my fist, I picked up my legs, I crossed the finish line....
And I puked all the way down the lawn in front of a family and 2 EMS volunteers.
What does Jillian always say? "Unless you puke, faint or die...keep going!"
I'm pretty sure it was the heat, coupled with the fact that I hadn't been exactly faithful to my training plan the week before. (I was busy, I had a messed up toe from a pedicure, I prefer sleep over running, blah blah blah...) But nonetheless, that is what I will always remember from my Running through the Vines 10k.
On a happier note, it was both Anne and Akanksha's first 10k and they did amazing. There's no better feeling that surpassing a goal you previously thought impossible and I'm so, so proud of them. Also, Jamie came out to support us and seeing her smiling face and big camera lens at the finish line was the extra push I needed to get me ACROSS the line before my eventful finish. She drove all the way up from Winston - an hour's ride - to stand in the heat (at 20 wks preggo) to support us. That is a good friend.
After the race and getting a little food in me, we walked across the street to the cheap hotel room we had rented for the purpose of showering and napping. Both of which were much needed. After some BravoTV and napping, I dosed myself with the necessary medicine for recovery: 1 liter of water, 1 packet of Goody's aspirin and a happy meal from Dairy Queen. With that, I was good to go.
We were able to enjoy a great tasting at Shelton and pick out a bottle to carry out to our picnic blanket on the lawn and settle in for the concert. The Embers did not disappoint. They brought down the house... as soon as their first song started playing, there were folks out there shagging and by the end of it, I think the entire lawn had spilled out on the dance floor. I love beach music and I love the culture of shag dancing - but that's a story for another day. For now, let me just say that the evening's events... a bottle of wine, the sun setting over the vineyard, some upbeat music and dancing with my girlfriends... more than made up for the morning's miserable run.
I'm still not sure whether my legs were sore the next day from the hill at mile 3 or 3 hours of shag dancing.
PS, Thanks to Jamie for all the race day pictures!