Friday, March 5, 2010

Let 'er Buck!

In the chatting after Hagg Lake, a few people mentioned they would be doing Gary and Shandi's Buck Mountain Mudslinger the following weekend. "Yeah, I am planning to do it, too," I told Sean and the rest of the group, "but only just for fun, not as a race."

"Bullsh*t!" was Sean's very emphatic response. Wow - I don't like to think that my competitive nature is that transparent! But, yes, pinning on a race number seems to get me all fired up and ready to run. It is very hard for me to not take a race seriously. I am pretty sure it is a personality disorder.

Despite that, I don't like it when people call me competitive. To me, that implies you are trying to beat someone else and that you care more about winning than having a good race. Or perhaps that you are a sore loser. I am well aware that my position in a race depends largely on who shows up that day, so going into races I always try to have time goals rather than goals for how I am going to place. I would feel better about having a great personal performance and finishing at the back of the pack, as opposed to having a mediocre performance and winning the race. For example, my best marathon was the 2008 CIM - a PR for me by 3.5 minutes, but I was only 60th female. On the other hand, I have four second place marathon finishes, three of which were horrible races and I certainly don't look back on them as good days just because I was "on the podium." However, it just so happens trying to beat the person in front of you can help motivate you to reach your personal best. And so race day when I think, "I can totally take that girl," I am sure you understand that what I really mean is "staying focused on running hard and pushing it just a little to catch that woman in front of me will motivate me to run my best today." ;) Aaah, who am I kidding?!? Yeah, I am competitive. But I know it is all fun and games, and I like to think great rivals can also be great friends.

But for last Saturdays' race, I REALLY was just out there to have fun. I also just wanted to support Run Wild Adventures because I love the idea of trail races around Salem. And so, I decided to embrace the "dress like a cowboy" request from the RD's. I was going for "Western Cowgirl" but the outfit turned out more like Annie Oakley with Down syndrome! The spandex tights under the skirt really compliments the shirt from the boys' section of Goodwill, don't you think? If nothing else, there were quite a few guys on the course who did NOT like getting passed by a chick in a jean skirt! But I did have a good time on the course, and I can't tell you how many stupid jokes I made in reference to the guns.

And I completely let the competitive side melt away. My Hundred in the Hood pacer, Dan, and I started the day with a ten mile warm up as an insurance policy against racing. At the start, I didn't pay any attention to who was ahead of me, what place I was in, my pace. Seriously, I just ran. The sun was a big surprise and I was loving such mild February weather. Around four miles in I kept yelling at "Honolulu" (because of his shirt, I am sure he loved me calling him that) to keep up with me and to fly by me on the downhill. At the very end I caught up with another girl and encouraged her to pick it up and run in with me. Hey, not my fault she didn't keep up. ;) When I reached the finish, I really had no idea what place I was in, and I didn't care.
I've looked bad in a race before, but this is ridiculous!

We finished up with another 4 miles to make it an even 20 on the day.

Sunday was another awesome sunny day so I spent the whole day outside prepping the garden for spring. It was so nice we even had our first back yard fire of the season (sorry East coasters!). But after having a s'more (or maybe it was two. Who keeps track??) I still hadn't gotten my run in for the day. Funny that I was so psyched about running the day before but so not into it the next. My thinking is that if you are going to have two hobbies and one of them is ultra-running, the other should be something ultra-sedentary, like knitting or reading, not something that requires hoeing, digging, pulling, and weeding!

But after the kids were in bed, Mac gave me the athlete's sacred first bump and told me "Get it done!" So I slogged my 12 miles on the treadmill, watching Apollo get DQ'd (I was a few days behind in my Olympic viewing) and picking up my last 'X' on the first page of the wall calendar! Now on to page two!

(Note: page 2 is not starting off too well. I was on call this week with two late nights at work. I missed Wednesday's workout and don't think I can fit in a make-up, meaning no red X. Oh, the shame and horror!)


SteveQ said...

You had me laughing as I recalled pulling out trophies from races I'd won and wondering "when did I do that?" They were mostly from races where I ran slowly and no one else showed up (but the 5th place medal in the Twin Cities Marathon has to be a mistake; I think I'd remember that).

T said...

Oh Pam I love, love, LOVE that second photo of you. It is pure giddy joy! I also admire your ability to laugh at yourself and post it.
I had to look at it three times, love the smile on your face.

Lori said...

The only thing that could be more impressive than running in that jean skirt would be adding spurs and a cowboy hat! ;-)

Olga said...

I can just picture the look on the guys' faces when a jeans skirt gal passes them. Gotta love it:)