Survivor Mode

I will be heading out to compete at my second triathlon later this morning and just realized I still need to report on my last event. Held two weeks ago at Lake Shoreline in Mountain View, the Race for Japan raised money for survivors of last year’s devastating tsunami. I joined friends Sachi and Truc in the 8Km run while our daughters banded together for the concurrent 3Km walk.

I thought I had made sure to register well before the deadline, but found out days before the race that I had never actually finished the registration process.  Even though I was able to sign up on site the morning of the race, officials had run out of both race bibs and timing chips. While that meant no official race time for my efforts, at least I could still gauge my performance via my ever handy GPS watch.

The morning was clear and crisp.  Race time temperatures called for cool but not cold weather clothing.  I opted to wear capris rather than long pants because the last time I ran a race in long pants in similar weather I regretted the surplus fabric for the last 4 miles.  To keep my calves warm before the race and afterwards, however, I pulled on a pair of long socks which I could opt to push down if I overheated during the race.  The choice for the perfect pair was clear — pink (breast cancer) Survivor Socks from the Sock Fairy, left anonymously on my porch months ago.  Thank you, Sock Fairy!

Truc, Sachi, and I started out together, well at the back of the crowd of hundreds.  We crossed the start line at least 40 seconds back from the front runners.  Starting in the back of such a large crowd usually means that the first mile or so is slow going due to the dense packing of bodies.  We spent the first few minutes weaving through the crowd, leaving even slower runners behind.

Unfortunately, while avoiding one large group, I passed on the left, just as the terrain off the path dipped into an undulating patch of densely packed grass alternating with gopher holes. My left (recently sprained) foot of course inserted directly into a gopher hole.  I correctly quickly, pulled back onto the level path, and assessed while running gingerly.  The ankle and I both were a little shaken, it seemed, but as far as I could tell, no lasting damage had been done. Lesson learned:  look down before passing.

The remainder of the approximately 5 mile run proceeded without incident.  Despite my earlier bobble, I felt strong, going a little faster with each successive mile.  By my own watch, I took a few seconds over 45 minutes, putting me at about 9 minutes per mile, good enough to have placed 4th in my age group if I had been wearing a timing chip.  This is a clear improvement over the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 10K.  The distance was similar, but as it was in the middle of chemo I ran a much slower 9.5 minutes per mile.  For this race, my body felt more responsive and less sluggish than in November.  I can only hope the next MUGA test will show my heart has healed as much as my conditioning seems to have rebounded.

The post race activities included a lengthy raffle and dizzying array of delicious snacks from steamed Chinese buns and oolong tea to Nesquik chocolate milk, nachos and mix your own trail mix.  The festive atmosphere and plentiful snacks made the race a winner for our children as well, and I’m happy to report that my daughter later asked when we could do it again!

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