Lets see if I can come up with some descriptive words for the race yesterday. Oh, I have a good one. PAIN.
Yesterday morning I get geared up with my husband to head out to Tipp Hill - the old Irish section of Syracuse. It is a great little neighborhood with beautiful old houses and pubs on what seems like every other corner. However, this section of town does have some serious hills. This course is not for the faint of heart. Hence why I was wishy washy about if I was going to run it right up to the start of the race.
We wake up and the weather is cold and freezing rain, moving over to regular rain. I am like shit. Can I run in this? Should I run in this? Here is the thing. Actually two. I haven't run regularly in months! Maybe a few miles here and there, but no way to prepare me for the race. The other thing is my lung condition. See, a little over a year ago I was diagnosed with Scarodosis of the lungs. Which in layman terms are hard little, what I call pebbles, in my lungs. I have several on both lobes. What happens is when I over work my lungs or it is too cold outside I start to cough, my chest burns and it is difficult to breathe. And afterwards, it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. However, if I train and work up my endurance it doesn't bother me too much. However, I didn't train and I knew if I did run my lungs were NOT going to appreciate it. I was right.
We get to the race and the weather is cold, but not bad and the rain has stopped. I see a friend of ours Sue with her sister and brother-in-law. I figure I can stick with them since Bill is wicked fast so I have someone I can run with and since the weather isn't bad I'll run.
Gun went off and we headed out. Right away I spot two guys in front of us and decided to let them pace us. Actually this was my strategy through the whole race. I would pick someone and keep pace with them. Anyway, Sue and I stayed with them for the first mile - 10:24. WTF! WAY TO FAST. And this is before the major hills. I knew we were in trouble and so were they.
Once Sue and I got into the neighborhood and after the first short slow incline we lost our pacing partners. They had to walk. Tipp Hill started to take them down. Sue and I headed on and I am not kidding you when I tell you I was S T R U G G L I N G. Fighting tooth and nail to move one foot in front of the other. We would head up those hills nice and steady. Not going fast, but not slowing down. Just trying to keep our pace and then using the down hill as a recovery.
Mile 1-2 isn't too horrible. Hard yes, but doable. Mile 3-4 is a fucking killer. The f-word is really the only appropriate word to describe it. Mile 2 you are running in the neighborhood and they have bands at all the pubs you run by. VERY cool. There were people out there cheering you on, toasting you with their beers. It was a great vibe. Between 2 and 3. You stop caring and you want to rip the beer bottles out of their hands and smack them over the head with it.
There are several hills in the neighborhood. Some are short slow inclines and some are quick and really steep. The steep kind you think you can power up. BIG mistake. What people don't realize is that there are more hills and the biggest, most painful one is soon to come. Big Mama is calling and calling you a big fat sissy.
Mile 4. Welcome to hell.
Sue and I pass the water station and round the corner to Nibsy's Pub. This is where the real fun starts.
Hello Big Mama. Shall I bend over now?
At Nibsy's. Slow at first. So slow that you ask yourself...is this a hill...then you body screams back at you...HELL YES IT IS A HILL YOU MAROON!
The casualties were scattered all over. I passed at least two people puking on the side of the road. Heard more people groaning and listened to people with desperation say, where does it end. Sigh. If the pounding in my ears and the pain in my chest wasn't so bad I would have offered words of encouragement. But at this point. It was every man and woman for themselves.
It literally was sheer will power not to walk, but I didn't. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fast. It felt like I was in slow motion. My arms were pumping faster than my legs. When I reached the top I was near tears. Not tears because I did it, but tears because it hurt and I knew I still had a ways to go and another goddamn hill to get up. BASTARD.
The brief straight a way is used to recover, but I was alone. Sue was back battling Big Mama. Then I saw her. A woman to keep pace with. Thank you Lord! For awhile we ran in perfect harmony. Not knowing each other, nor acknowledging each other, but we both knew we were using the other to just get through. We stayed together through the straight away and the last hill. After the last hill I pulled ahead and kept going. To the woman in blue - thank you.
Finally the last turn then the finish. I crossed in - 43.33. Faster than last years time. WTF! I don't know how I pulled that out of my ass. I really don't.
The aftermath: Lungs are fine. Legs are not. What is hurting the most are my ankles and the Achilles. Could barely walk down the stairs this morning. I may have conquered Tipp Hill, but it certainly gave me a beating of a lifetime. Till next year Big Mama.
P.S. We don't the exact time, but Bill ran the race in: 31-32 minutes!!!!!!!!!