april 29/6.2 MILES

44 degrees
get in gear 10k race
mississippi river road north (msp)/lake street bridge/mississippi river road south (st. paul)/ford bridge/minnehaha falls

I think that this post-race picture of me with my tongue sticking out about sums up my feelings about the race right after it was over:

It might be my slowest 10K ever. The time doesn’t bother me¬†that much. I’m trying to go slower and my average pace in the race was still about¬†45 seconds faster than training runs. What bothers me the most is that my hamstring started giving me problems around mile 4. It became difficult¬†to lift it up and the¬†rest of the race was hard.¬†There’s a lot more to say here, I’m sure, but I’ll leave it alone for now.¬†

After a little more distance from the race, I began remember things about it that didn’t involve my pain or failure, like standing in the corral¬†just before the race started¬†and looking at everyone’s running¬†shoes. As we stood there, I mentioned to Scott that¬†I love doing this:¬†so many intense¬†colors and I can stare at people’s feet for a long time while I try to process what I’m seeing without it being too weird. How many times have I made this same remark to Scott? Too many to count, I’m sure. Yet, as I say it,¬†it always seems like a new revelation that I’m communicating¬†about my quirky vision and how I struggle to focus¬†on images because my central vision is scrambled. At this race, my favorite pair of shoes were an intense blue with lime green stripes¬†and laces.

I also remember the National Anthem. This happens at every race right before it starts. They play a¬†recording¬†or someone sings–frequently it’s one of the racers. Occasionally they have live musicians. My favorite National Anthem was at the Get in Gear¬†race two years ago when a brass quartet from the Minnesota Orchestra played it. After that,¬†they played the William Tell Overture as we began running through the starting gate. Pretty cool. I have some serious problems with patriotism and nationalism and how¬†they’re used to regulate behaviors and maintain an “us versus them” mentality, yet I still appreciate the playing of the anthem. I enjoy anticipating which¬†version¬†it will be: the standard recording with the crashing cymbals?, a super cheesy recording with a choir? Someone who can sing? Someone who can’t?

I remember walking around and seeing people stretching. Leaning up against trees. Sitting on the ground. Swinging their arms. Swinging their legs. Jumping, running and swinging. Lots of swinging. It can be dangerous. I almost got hit by someone’s leg as they swung it back, stretching their hip.

Check out the runner just behind me, stretching with the tree:

And I remember waiting in line for the porta potty. The guy ahead of me was nervous or impatient or just a jerk, I couldn’t decide. As we waited, he kept trying to direct ¬†the people ahead of him, pointing out which potty he thought was open and telling them to go. He was always wrong.