I much prefer to follow a target and pass in the last half mile of a race. The pressure is so much greater being in front and hoping they aren't going to pass you. But that’s what so fun about racing. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you have to continually think on the fly and adjust as you go.
So I knew the girl in blue was behind me and I suspected she has targeted me as I had targeted her and would be pushing to pass me at some point also. So I had to keep my lead over her or else I was going to have a very hard time over coming her in the last stretch. I was getting tired and I was afraid I would start slowing too and she’d get the jump on me. And I may not have enough 'juice' left in the last half mile to over take her again. And it was getting hot!
I knew Kris was going to try to meet me at around mile 10 and I was looking forward to seeing him. I was getting tired and the day was getting hot! I knew heat slows me down. I hope it had the same effect on the girl in blue.
At least we were now running on a multi-purpose trail through a nice wooden area. The scenery was great! Up ahead a saw a couple little kids running around on the trail squealing and throwing water. Then I noticed the trail was wet up ahead. As I drew closer, I saw that it was ‘raining’.
There was a man sitting in a lawn chair holding a hose. He had it pointing toward the runners but aimed over their heads and such that the water would only fall on half the trail so runners had plenty of room to move over and avoid the spray. His kids had little dixie cups in their hands and were filling the cups and throwing the water on runners as they came by.
The little boy was especially excited and was actually chasing down the runners and throwing water on them. I could hear his dad as I approached,
“Hey! Don’t throw water on anyone unless they say it’s ok. Ask first and if they say, “Ok” then you can get them wet. Not everyone wants that.”
What a good dad. But I definitely wanted the water!! In fact I ran straight into the spray of the hose and headed right for him! I was trying to get where the water pressure was strongest. I was hot and the water felt great! But I think I scared the guy as I must have looked like I was going to run him over the way I was headed straight for him.
I was also worried he would turn the hose away from me thinking no one would want to get that drenched! So I yelled, “Thank you so much!! That is awesome! Oh this feels great!” As I ran toward him so he would keep the water coming on strong!
He did. By the time I ran past him and his hose, water was dripping from my clothes and hair and skin. I couldn’t get any wetter. But his son threw a dixie cup worth on me anyway. Just for good measure! I said, "Thanks Man!"
|Planes flew over our heads at around mile 9 as the trail was next to the runway where they took off.|
The water evaporated way too fast and I felt myself heating up again. But my attention to my discomfort was diverted when rounding a bend I saw a group of people bent at the waist and peering into the brush across a little bog. WILDLIFE!!!
“What is it?” I whispered to one of the group.
“There’s a baby moose.”
‘Oooo!!!’ I thought, ‘a BABY moose! Even better!’ and looked in the direction everyone was looking. I saw nothing.
“Where?” I whispered again.
“Right there,” my new friend was pointing, “See the big bushy bush on the other side of the bog and then there is that little open space in the branches? When the baby flicks its ear, you can see the ear. But you can’t really see it unless it moves.”
So I watched and waited for an ear flick. I saw it! I think. It did look like there was a flash of movement in the opening of the branches. But what it was I couldn’t be sure. So if any one asks, it was a baby moose.
Off I went up the trail. I was hoping the girl in blue would also stop to see the moose yet hang out there longer than I did. I’m sure she was right behind me.
Mile nine mile marker and I thought, “Only one more mile until I see Kris.” Then I started climbing a hill.
It wasn’t a bad hill. But a hill none the less. I was hot. I was tired. I was sore. But I was also determined. I powered up that hill remembering the girl in blue had been strong on the earlier hills. So I needed to be sure not to loose ground here. As I rounded a corner I heard shutters clicking and looked up to see Kris shooting pictures of me.
“Why are the photographers ALWAYS at the top of a hill???? No fair! You want to get us looking are worst don’t you!”
Kris stood up grinning. That’s when I saw right behind him was one of the course’s official photographers. See! I told you! It never fails! Any photographers out there reading this; can you please tell me why you insist on lying in wait at the tops of hills for us? It can’t be a flattering picture. So why do it? Is the light that much better shooting downhill? Let me know.
I couldn’t help but feel a little smug knowing I had my own personal on-course photographer! :) He followed me to the next water stop. It was a cute Polynesian themed stopped. I love Polynesia. Pineapples, coconuts, palm trees, pristine beaches... But my favorite thing was that they were handing out wet sponges! Yeah!!
Did I mention it was hot? I grabbed a sponge and decided just to put it under my hat and let it sit there until it dried out. It felt sooooo good! The initial coolness of the sponge touching my head was invigorating! Then when I put my hat back on, it squished a bunch of water out of the sponge that ran down my sweaty back. It was so cold it was shocking! Oh! Heaven! It gave me a nice boost which I needed as I still had another 5k to go!