For the Grapes

The forecast said storms. The kind denoted on the five-day calendar by not only rain, but little gray clouds and lightning bolts. I went to bed early Friday night having run well all week and feeling prepared for a good race Saturday morning. I was bummed about the rain, but I decided I could live with it for the 30ish minutes it would take to finish — and I even had myself convinced the rain might actually make me run faster.

I woke up to the alarm Saturday morning and I rolled toward the window, expecting to hear rain. It was quiet. The race is on! Until then, I'd had a security blanket at all my races with Jeff there at the start line with a last minute word of encouragement and at the finish line with a cold bottle of water. But last weekend, I was a big girl and let the boys sleep in a bit while I ventured out for the 7am race.

Not knowing what to expect for parking and packet pick up, I wanted to get there early. Earlier than necessary, as it turned out, but better safe than sorry. The last few weeks had been so terribly hot that I had already given myself a pep talk about racing in the heat. 30 minutes. No biggie. Drink some more water. Then, the rain. And as I drove, I looked up at my rearview mirror to see this.

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67?! I can't remember the last time that thermometer read 67 degrees! It could have just as easily read 87, folks. I was pumped so I cranked up some pre-race Black Eyed Peas as I drove north to Tontitown.

I was there super early and parking was a non-issue so I had plenty of time to wander around and get nervous. I had already told my running buddy, Jennifer, that I was gunning for a sub-30 minute race and we were ready to roll. 30 minutes, here I come.

But really, I should have known there would be some, well, gray area in the timing of the whole thing when I saw the start line:

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Ya gotta love small town races! Jennifer and I started about 30 feet back and by the time we got to the "start line" that little piece of white tape was long gone. So I smiled and started my Garmin — at some point between the first cone and the last cone.Who cares? Game on!

I felt really good during the race and ran well despite the hills. The weather was perfect (well, maybe a little humid from all the rain), I was pacing perfectly and was looking forward to (FINALLY) celebrating my first sub-30 race.

And who doesn't love a terribly flattering finisher's picture as a momento?

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After crossing the finish line, I looked down at the Garmin.

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30:03!? No way! I know I was right on! But I told myself the distance was a little long with an extra .04 miles and my 9:35/mile pace was the best I've ever run so I decided to go with it. Sub-30 would have to wait.

The girls and I had our picture made with the grapes, seeing as it was the 15th Annual Run for the Grapes and all.

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Note: I'm posed here with a few new running friends my friend Amy (center – purple shorts) introduced me to, and they rocked the Run for the Grapes! The three girls in the middle placed first, second and third in their age group. And Meghan, on the end in blue shorts, pushed a STROLLER, with a BABY in it, and still came in just a few seconds behind me! These four ladies make up the original Marathon Mamas. I want to be like them when I grow up.

We chatted and watched the seriously adorable Kids' Fun Run — and waited for the awards. I knew I hadn't placed in my age group, but that didn't keep me from winning a door prize! $25 gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants!

I headed home to see my boys and take a good nap.

But wait! There's more!

I got home and let the .04 miles get to me. I couldn't help it. So I found a handy pace calculator online. 9:35 pace… 3.1 miles (the REAL distance of a 5K)… And, duhn duhn duhn! 29 minutes 42 seconds! I knew it! Sub-30!

Usually, official results are posted online within 24 hours or so of these races. And I can only assume ArkansasRunner.com is trying to torture me by withholding them ALL WEEK. So it's Friday and I STILL don't have my official time, but if you factor in the start line ambiguity and the extra .04 miles — I think I'm ok sticking with my "unofficial" first sub-30.

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3 Responses to For the Grapes

  1. Amy August 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    You did so good! I am not sure what is up with not posting the results….I guess I should not be surprised since we were timed with a stopwatch.

  2. meghan hastings August 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    thanks for the encouragement! meg

  3. Katie August 21, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    You should think about doing the Chili Pepper 10K in October. It’s just an extra 3 miles, and is a TON of fun! Plus, you run it on the U.of A.’s cross country track, which makes it easy on the feet! I bet you can do it easily!

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