This year’s Gate River Run was nothing short of a “laugh fest on overdrive”. I’ve often said, “if I’m not laughing, it’s not worth it” and about all I did at this expo, race and post-race was laugh. It was just that fabulous.
My history with the GRR goes back about 8 or 9 other GRR races. My personal record with the race is 1:10, and that was in 2004. I knew this year I would not be doing any personal records, for lotsa reasons. I had a hernia fixed on 12/22 which slowed down my training a few weeks, I had picked up 5-6 lbs. that I haven’t lost as of yet, and my longest run since the Onward Shay half marathon back in October
had only been 7 miles. I showed up the start line this year with the attitude of “it’s more about the mingle and less about the time this year”. A rather “jack in the box” approach to finishing.
The race expo was a fab kickoff. I found the capri tights I’d been looking for there (20-30% off), noticed Brooks Adrenalines on sale too, and ran into three friends I hadn’t seen in ages. On the way to the parking lot, after getting my race number there was a man walking near me to his car and he said, “man, I’ll be lucky to finish this year without stopping”. I said join the club and I was right there with him on the lack of training this year. He was a scream, never caught his name or saw him again, but the funniest thing he said, was he was going to be “losing face” by running with his neighbor who was retired and 20 years his senior and would probably cross the finish way ahead of him. It was the best kickoff to my weekend. I said getting in the car, it’s more about the post-race this year, and we both cracked up.
The day of the race was fab. No rain, a light breeze and temps in the low 60’s. I didn’t catch the humidity percentage, but it was “do-able”. With my Onward Shay half marathon finish time I did back in October (a little over two hours) I was able to be seeded in the orange section.
At the race start, the ropes went down and we were off. The first mile was slow, at about a ten minute mile. Back in the days of my more intense training, I might’ve tried to weasel ahead and get faster at the start. But this year I figured who cares, and to just focus on not stopping until I get to the bridge.
Miles 2-5 were on negative splits, getting several seconds faster per mile than before. I settled in at a decent pace and got water any time it was offered. I didn’t wear a watch, but the pace was probably around a 9 minute mile, maybe a tad better. My training pace is 8.5 minute miles, so I just chalked it up to being a slow day.
Miles 5-7 felt great. I was amazed I had no aches or pains and just loved it. Nirvana had really kicked in. I knew my biggest challenge would be after that anyway.
After mile 7 things were good, but the thought of the bridge and the wind were nagging me. No matter how loud I had my headset jacked, the thought never went away. Everyone that knows me knows I train with music. I love it. Rock and Roll, R&B and top 40 have always done me right. When I got the bridge I saw 1:11. It was funny, I thought to myself, “well, several years ago that was my race finish, and now I still have 1.3 miles). I did about a minute uphill and then walked 60 seconds. I did the math and thought if I could just pull out the stops, I might be able to get 1:22. I took off again. The wind was blowing sideways, and once I got the top, I knew I had the downhill on my side. I never stopped again.
I crossed the line with 1:24 on the clock, which later equated to a 1:23 chip time. I turned the corner to exit and had made it in to a top ten percent finish. That probably made my day for a whole week. I jokingly called it “Beth returns from the dead” and said “alrighty then” to the lady handing me the hat, with a big smile. I wore the hat all day, celebrated with a few beers and had my boyfriend take pictures of me with Sam Kouvaris, @samkouvaris (the local sportscaster), Colleen Clarson, @colleenclarson(the race media post) and Herb Peyton (entrepreneur, Dad of the former mayor of Jax and founder of the Gate stores). The day got even more fun with seeing a few friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. My boyfriend and I stopped to get a burrito on the way to my home at Sierra Grille. It was fabulous.
My next race is the Irish Runner 5 mile on June 17th in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a festival of sorts with a few races for the family. Register for the event at Irishrunner.com.. I hope to see everyone there.
Work hard and laugh harder:-)