It's a bit overwhelming to write a race report and a Disney vacation report. So I've decided to talk about the race in this post and then take on Disney next.
Saturday, which now seems like ages ago, was an ideal day for a race. A cloudless sky with temperatures that would later reach the 60's. I had snuck out of Disney World's confines: a magical place for kids, but a nightmare for anyone attempting to go on a run (think half mile sidewalks that end abruptly and don't begin again). I spoke French with the Haitian cab driver for the half an hour drive to downtown Orlando (there is no shortage of Haitian immigrants in Florida these days - it is hard not to be saddened by this). It was still dark when we arrived at 6:30 for the 7 am start.
(I should add that SR was at the ASH [American Society for Hematology] conference outside of Orlando and didn't want to miss any of it for the race - it was hard not to be a little down about that).
There were nearly 3000 runners signed up (officially 2309 finishers: 1156 women, 1153 men) The line was too long for the port-o-potty, so I enjoyed a pee by the shore of Lake Eola, in the heart of the pretty downtown. There was a tiny sliver moon: my new favorite moon phase.
It was time to line up and I really didn't have a strategy at all. I was actually a little scared. I knew I could near a PR if I really pushed it, or get in the low 1:30's (It's a perfectly flat course with relatively few turns). But I was hesitant to run fast for two reasons (for those joining the blog now, I'm 6 weeks pregnant today):
1. When I look back on my miscarriage 4 months ago, I can't forget the day I was running a tempo run and got severe pain in my left pelvis, which corresponded approximately with the time the fetus might have died. Considering my pregnancy tests were always weakly positive, there was likely something wrong from the beginning (the urge to blame oneself is so strong!)...
2. I finally read James Clapp's book: "Exercising Through your Pregnancy". He is a cheerleader for exercising, especially running, pregnantinas (excuse my neologism for pregnant women) and reinforced what always made sense to me biologically and evolutionarily: exercising while pregnant is not dangerous; it is healthy. BUT there was this one study he did that bothered me. He actually showed there were signs of decreased blood flow to the baby while the mother ran. This exact fact makes for a bigger placenta and a more resilient baby in many ways - over time. But this also pointed out to me that if a mother is exercising at max pulse for a considerable amount of time, that blood flow may, at some point, be inadequate. Cigarettes, alcohol and hypercoaguable disorders, all proven causes of miscarriage, negatively impact bloodflow to the baby. It is hard to believe that something so natural and healthy as exercise could be harmful - but at an intense enough level, if the bloodflow is decreased enough, theoretically it could. Deep down, I doubt this is true, but I certainly wish there were more research on the subject...
So I lined up with the 8 min/mile group. And I actually ran the first few miles slower than this because I had a weird pain in my pelvis (on the left, as always). I thought about stopping, but it was such a beautiful day and I felt so good otherwise. Eventually the pain migrated up to a side-stitch. I was relieved. I began running at about 7:45 pace. My goal at that point was to finish under 1:44. I felt so in control and energetic. It was a beautiful route (if you like road running) half on pavement, half on cobblestones and with no shortage of palm trees. There were cheering crowds everywhere, sporadic music playing and announcers attempting jokes at various points. The more I ran, the more struggling young people I passed. I felt so old and wise! Starting out slowly sure is fun. I picked up the pace even more for the last couple of miles and came in at 1:43:30, 90th female, 7:54 pace. I think this pregnancy may teach me how to run a race as a training run. It was fun and I wasn't even sore the next day.
The first female came in in 1:14:07 and was 4th overall! Damn! Her name is Erin Nehus Vergara and she's from Indiana and was attempting to qualify for the Olympic trials. Sad thing is I don't even know if she did - though I imagine she did.
Above is the scene after the race. Perhaps the woman in the pink compression stockings catches your eye. I did beat her, but who's keeping track? ;)
Same old race outfit as always, this time with an Orlando flowerbed backdrop.
Lake Eola in downtown Orlando and right next to the race start. This is the exact spot I had peed right before the race.
I didn't even listen to my iPod during the race, so no running song today - sorry!