When a Race Delivers the Unexpected

Spankies. Rundies. Barely-theres. Speedy girl pants. Whatever you want to call them on race day, those little cheekinis are usually flying solo underneath a single flyweight (and sometimes very sheer, much to the delight/dismay of those around me) sparkle skirt. I have one pair of run briefs and they only come out on race day. They only come out when it’s time to GO. This race was different. There was no flat runner picture taken the night before, no rundies. A pair of compression shorts and two skirts layered up for color-themed fun meant I knew there was no PR coming and wasn’t sure what to expect outcome-wise

For runners of every ilk, it is often difficult to have achievable goals, but heading in I tried to drop my usual high expectations and simply enjoy it. Familiar faces I’d met at packet pick-up the day prior helped settle my nerves at the start. It’s amazing what a smile can do! In addition, I was right in front of the bright-goldenrod-clad crew of Running for a Better Oakland kids who were taking part in the 5K. Their energy – and their speed, those kids are FAST – pumped me up for when the gun went off and we set off, all the 5K and 10K participants at once, trying to avoid fresh puddles while smiling for the racearazzi.


After going out way too fast, I tried to embrace the rest of the race, focusing on my goals, not the others around me. The rain held off, but that also meant it was suddenly thick and muggy along the coast. Before I knew it, only a couple of miles were between me and my next medal, and I knew that meant two things: the hill and the track. Thankfully, I knew that hill was coming: last year I had saved my own butt by being smart enough to ‘save something’ for it at the end. This year, I powered through that hill, taking smaller steps with greater turnover, and then took my lone, 20 second walk break at the very top. Once I regained my composure, it was off, around the outside of the track, then in to finish the last 100 yards on the Golden Gate Fields Racetrack itself. Experience was paying off, finally!

I started kicking it out a bit as I turned the corner, trying to figure out how much harder I could push before crossing the line between ‘full throttle’ and ‘vomit.’ I found a good, worn path on the track and started trying to bound it out; I could hear the announcer say my name as thoughts that had lain dormant for the last 58 minutes began to swirl. Are you breathing? Could you go faster? Oh man this track is a killer; it’s like trying to sprint on the moon. Is that my husband on the side?! He’s waiting! Oh that guy doesn’t want you to beat him. OH, it’s ON NOW DUDE. I’m not the fastest gal out there but will admit when I close in on the finish line, I’m letting anything I have left out.

It made for a fun picture where I’m smiling and he’s got his arms raised, but clearly pushed hard to get there. I get it: no one wants to get passed, especially at the finish, by a little lady dressed in sequins and metallic sleeves. Surprisingly, it made for two of my favorite race photos to date: where sparkle never looked so serious, and where my finisher’s smile may have never looked so genuine.



As I stumbled over and received my medal from a fellow Team Run the Bay member and drifted into the crowd, my husband’s smile my beacon, I felt great. While it was no PR, my stride felt more natural and stronger than ever before. I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. My run game is changing and I am embracing it. It felt so great to know my mister was there to see my finish and his “I’m proud of you” never ceases to make me flutter a little. The race delivered the unexpected for me. I didn’t think this race was going to hit me hard, but it allowed me to get into places in my head for 58 minutes and 31 seconds that I really needed to visit, and for that, Let’s Go 510, I thank you. Let’s do it again next year.

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Upcoming Represent Running Events:

February 7 at 7am
Athletic Performance, Willow Glen
The San Jose 408k: March 1, 2015
Let’s Go 510: October 2015