Race Numbers Make the Runner

While preparing for my first running race since New Year’s Day this week, I asked myself, ‘when do you know if you’re a runner?’

I have never considered myself a runner. Since I was little, I was usually the last finisher in any running activity—the mile in P.E, line sprints in basketball, my delusional attempts at cross country races. It just wasn’t my thing. I resigned myself to thinking that my legs were built too thick to ever be fleet of foot.

But, as I continue to train for triathlon, my running has slowly, but steadily, improved.

I just read my favorite definition of the difference between a jogger and a runner. “A race number!”

So, yesterday, I was a runner. I was so happy to get to participate in Seattle’s Seafair Triathlon as a member of a sprint relay team.

Because I’m still not cleared for swimming, and I’ve just started to ride my bike on the road again, the run was pretty much my only option. I was so happy that Alison and Lisa, my teammates, were willing to join me in the sprint relay adventure.

Ready to get our relay started.

It was a beautiful day for a race, the first day it has truly felt like summer this year. We had to arrive really early—5:40 am as the Olympic distance race started first and our packets said transition would close at 6 am. We ended up standing around forever and the relay swim start didn’t go until around 8 am. I got antsy, wished Alison good luck, and headed out for my warmup.

I had a strange ache in my right shin that I’m going to blame on pre-race jitters. It went away the faster I ran and started back up again when I brought the pace down. Just another motivator to run as fast as I could. A couple of miles later, I headed back to transition and made it back in time to watch Alison be the first woman relay swimmer out of the water! Our team was off to a great start! Lisa took her bike, and booked it out of T1.

Alison finished the swim super fast!

I started to get antsy again, so I started to jog in small circles around the transition area.

I didn’t have to wait very long. Lisa had an amazing bike ride on a steel-frame rig, and I can only imagine how quick she’d be on a carbon road or TT bike. She tagged my hand and I sprinted out of T2.

Lisa, hauling on her bike.

Like, ridiculous-what-am-I-doing sprint. I hit the start button on my watch as I went over the T2 timing mat and started my run waaay too fast. I have to laugh that my watch says I reached a 4:42/mi pace at some point. Tooo fast.

I was so excited to be passing runners at an alarming rate. I know they had all swam/biked, and some were doing the Olympic, but I fed off the energy since it was a very rare experience for me. My shin didn’t hurt at all. I felt really good until I got to THE HILL. Anyone who has done a 5K at Seward Park knows what I’m talking about. I slowed down my breathing a bit and just made sure I got up the hill without completely blowing up. I did the same on the way down, only running as fast as I thought I could without falling on my rear.

I started to feel a bit lightheaded on the last part of the run, so I know I was giving it all that I had, and the next thing I knew, my race was over! It was a 5K PR for me by 2:30 with an official time of 22:07.

Last stretch before the finish. Gutting it out.

With a final time of 1:16:31, our relay team placed second among women-only teams and was first in our ‘under 105 years’ division. (They combine the ages of all three racers together.) In our division, each of us had the fastest splits of the day!

Winning triathlon team!

It was a beautiful sunny day and I was so blessed to get back to racing. And as always, it was great to hang out pre- and post-race with my other teammates and athlete friends.

A great race day and great company!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Race Numbers Make the Runner

  1. Courtenay says:

    Carly you ROCK!!! All that rest from your shoulder, aqua jogging, and the extra motivation has you made a speedy runner!! I am truly inspired by your hard work at training, keep it up! I can’t wait to hear about your Ironman in the future!!!

    • carlsincharge says:

      Thanks Courtenay! I don’t know if I’m quite speedy yet, but I’m definitely getting closer. Ironman feels forever away (4 months, 2 days) but I know it will be here soon!

  2. Delighted to read this – yes, very good fast time! And even more important, great that you’re racing again – it is good for the spirits, especially when racing with friends.

    • carlsincharge says:

      Racing again, in any capacity, really does help the psyche. I hope to read some race reports of yours really soon!

  3. rosalyn says:

    Nice job this weekend! You were looking strong and fast 🙂

    • carlsincharge says:

      Thanks Rosalyn! Congratulations on another very solid and impressive performance this weekend. I hope it didn’t involve any more bodily harm this time!

  4. Alison says:

    Carly! You truly are an inspiration to me! A kindred running spirit! I have NEVER called myself a runner either. Despite doing several races, a marathon, half ironman etc. Many things my circle of friends just don’t do! To see how far you have come as a runner is truly inspirational to me. It shows me that I can only move forward and faster the more I work at it. And boy do I ever have to work at it! I thought I was going to puke yesterday at our track workout!

    I loved your race report and I had so much fun with you and Lisa at the race!

    • carlsincharge says:

      Thanks for the kind words Alison! You just have to be patient with your improvements. That is the hardest part of this whole thing for me and lies at the root of why I’ve been injured a lot. By this time next year, I bet you won’t feel like puking and you’ll be asking, ‘What?! This is all you got?!?” Your cardiovascular system will be ready for much more before your skeleton is. Now, if I could only swim as fast as you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s