Sunday, March 8, 2009

10th Annual Truffle Shuffle 5K

It was a good day to fly a kite. It was not a good day to run a race. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the more than 350 runners who turned out to run the 10th Annual Truffle Shuffle 5K on a balmy, if extraordinarily windy, 71F day. Depending on the weather source, sustained winds were between 21 and 27 mph, and gusts were in excess of 35 mph.

I showed up with two friends of mine Crystal (her first 5K, way to go!) and Eddie (a somewhat seasoned runner and racer). Eddie and I jogged around for about 25 minutes before the start, and after ensuring that Crystal had a good position, we lined up near the start. You can see me above on the far right, about 3 rows of people back, about four in, wearing sunglasses, white singlet and black shorts.

This race director did a great job of counting down to the start, so everyone was prepared. I took off with a kick, and made the first two turns well before a quarter mile was up. By a half mile we were going up a moderately steep hill that lasted for half a mile. The front group of about 20 was well ahead of me, and no one was really behind me. As a severe gust blew mightily into my uphill run, forcing sand and salt into my nose and mouth, I felt singled out for the toughest experience of all participants on this hill. I remember looking down at my watch and seeing only a little more than a half mile had elapsed. I was already miserable. This was going to be a tough race.

At the top of the hill, we were wound onto a trail of small, loose gravel, where we would stay for nearly two miles. This path was circuitous, and several times we passed on the same trail the runners behind us which was somewhat confusing to me. I'm not used to being this far in the front and could really only see one or two runners head of me (the others had spread out sufficiently they were out of sight). More than once I'd decided I'd taken a wrong turn, and would just give up soon.

But I kept going. At nine minutes into the race, I thought my pace was going to bring me just under 23 minutes, and I started counting down in 30 second increments. With twelve and a half minutes to go, I had the following conversation:

Me: "Self, you only have twelve and a half minutes to go. You can suffer for that much longer at this pace."

My response: "Uh, no we can't. No way. Quit now."

I didn't have that discussion again. With five minutes to go, I was seriously spent and quite nauseated. I looked around (again no one really near me in either direction) and considered just giving in and throwing up. But before I knew it, 30 seconds passed, and another 30 seconds, and we were approaching the finish line. I hadn't been passed in a long time, and somehow I was still running fairly strong.

Then a woman passed me. I knew at this point I had been third female overall, and I had not lost this position. The other two very fast chicas I hadn't seen since the gun went off, but none others had passed me. My Garmin read 2.85 miles elapsed.
I didn't want to take fourth. Couldn't, in fact, take fourth. I demanded of my body, "You are NOT going to let this happen!" I settled, and determinedly overtook her, shouting that same phrase over and over again in my head.

Soon, it was a sprint to the finish line, and I was shocked I had anything in the tank. But, I did, and I pressed hard, especially when I heard my name and "a female finisher!" by the announcer. My official finishing time was 22:59 (this was not chip timed), which was a win for females 40-49 by nearly three minutes, third female overall, and 27th runner overall.

This was a tough course (my toughest 5K yet), but I was really proud of myself for hanging in there and enduring.

You can find the race report from BJ the DJ here.


steve said...

Sounds like a tough race indeed!

Well done on digging deep to recover your 3rd place spot - excellent mental resolve.

Nice report...


runner-grrl said...

Thanks for the visit, Steve! I'm super impressed with your race yesterday :-) -Alex

Rick said...


Great job out there! Your guts and determination are amazing. You truly are an inspiration!

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Rick! Now get out there and get your second state record already :-) --Alex

Sharneysrun said...

Awesome finishing time Alex! What a super tough course, too! You should be so proud of your effort- you are so hardcore and inspiring! Another well deserved award for such an amazing runner!

Btw, I ran my first mile today! I took it real sloooowww- 4.0 mph. I had some pain, not bad, but pain nonetheless. It's so hard to know where I should draw the line. Very frustrating!!

Anyway, CONGRATS!! :-)

RunColo said...

Well done! Spring = Wind, wind is never fun.

runner-grrl said...

Sharon, Well, take it easy on the come back. I'll drop you a note in the next couple of days. Don't get too discouraged. You WILL heal :-)

Thanks for the kind words! -Alex

runner-grrl said...

RunColo, Seriously! It was so funny... as I was trying to stand upright waiting for the gun to go off at the start line, I was thinking about your Fall Marathon advice, with unpredictable winds being a large part of that. Thanks for the visit! -Alex

Sharneysrun said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Alex! I took a rest day today and will try another one miler tomorrow. I haven't run for the past 3 days, so that should be enough of a break, don't you think? I am developing some hip/butt pain on my good side. I'm not sure if it's from my intense cycling or using my body again. Scary just the same. I just can't shake the fear that it is another stress fracture or serious injury. This injury has really messed with me mentally, for sure :-(

Have a great weekend and I'll talk to you soon :-)

runner-grrl said...

Sharon, You'll have to go through some of the running accommodations pains that you went through when first starting out. Every three days for a few early runs is a good idea. Then you should try every other day for awhile. Keep up the recovery! --Alex