Saturday, August 9, 2008

Virtual 8 Mile Olympic Race Report

Or...Three Reasons Why I Love Running With Betty

Betty and I once again woke up REALLY EARLY to get our Virtual 8-Mile Olympic Race in before the heat, humidity, and other professional obligations (I was on an agenda to give a presentation at a teacher workshop at 10:00) overtook us. We didn't wear any Olympic regalia, but we did talk about the opening ceremonies for a few minutes as we ran...does that count? The drummers at the beginning were completely amazing!

I am completely lucky that I have a running partner. Betty is the one who talked me into running my first 1/2 marathon, my first marathon... We're both pretty competitive, but the way it manifests itself, since neither of us runs very fast, is that we keep each other running. Inevitably, there will be days (weeks) when one of us doesn't feel like running so much, but then the other one will call, and we'd both rather die of shame than think that one of us is running and the other is not. Really, it's an ego thing...but in a good way.

So as Betty and I head toward the one year anniversary of our first 1/2 marathon (next weekend's America's Finest City 1/2), I thought I'd share in this race report as three of my reasons why I love running with her.

Reason No 1.
Betty doesn't care too much when I'm late to pick her most cases it works to her advantage.

To begin with, I overslept. Woke up at 5:45 and was supposed to be at Betty's house by 6:00...well, THAT wasn't going to happen. So, I sent her a text that I'd be there by 6:10. Luckily, I'd laid out most of my running gear the night before (how my watch ended up next to my flip-flops underneath the dining room table, I'll never know). I slammed down a 1/2 cup of coffee (just to stave off the I'm-addicted-to-caffeine headache and I just LOVE Walter, who got up to make me a pot of coffee, as I stumbled and ran around trying to get ready quickly) and hoped that the pizza I ate the night before would give me enough of a carbo-load to make my tummy feel not-so-empty (my pre-race nutrition leaves much to be desired doesn't it). I'd use a Gu before I started running and one time during for some calories to burn...and I was OUT THE DOOR!

Yes, I was at Betty's front door by 6:10. Her comment to me? "So glad you were late. I wasn't ready at 6:00 either..."

Reason No. 2
She is really flexible about where we run and pretends to let me decide.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a control freak. That's why I drive. The night before the Virtual Race, I mapped out several routes we could take from Harbor Island. I wanted to make sure we ran 8 miles after all. All of the routes I mapped out had us going west. The advantage of all of those loops is that they would have taken us by the water station set up by the Track Club.

Here's the Harbor Island to Shelter Island route

Here's the Harbor Island to Canon (big hill) route
Here's the Harbor Island to Rosecrans route (smaller, rolling hills)

But, when Betty and I got to Harbor Island, we took one look at the sun starting to shine on Point Loma (for those unfamiliar with San Diego, Point Loma is to the south-west-ish of where we were. All my pre-mapped routes would have taken us toward Point Loma), so we decided immediately to head east, toward Seaport Village and downtown San Diego, where it was still overcast and foggy. By then it was getting close to 6:30am and we were both already sweating due to the 78% relative humidity... a little moist, dontcha think?
Anyway, here is the route we ended up taking (click on the "Markers" button to see the miles. It'll help with the rest of the race report, which I swear I'm getting to):

Reason No 3
Betty makes me laugh

I wish I could remember all of the random things that Betty and I talked and joked about during our race. I know that when I'm running, I think "I gotta remember this" for the blog, but most of the time, I forget. Here's my best recollection, although I emailed Betty this morning to remind me of the rest:
  • Before running - Into the parking lot our view is blocked by some city-worker who is taking a picture of his truck with the city in the background. We ponder why he would be doing such a thing? Is he taking a picture of his rig w/the city in the background to impress the girls? Because the rig is his true love? Of course I take a picture of it, but because I'm trying to drive and take a picture with my iPhone at the same time, it doesn't turn out so great...
  • Mile 1 - Betty reminded me that on Tuesday, she entertained me with noticing Flag Poles and that I didn't write about it. She wonders: why do people have them in their yard? Do they also act as a lightening rods? Why don't they have flags on them? I kept wondering why she was pointing them out to me. Apparently these are the things she notices as she's running. She's going to need to do a "guest blog" one day. I know her well enough to know that her random ideas will be truly random and hysterically funny.
  • Mile 2 - We noticed an increase in the number of homeless people sleeping underneath benches than we have in the past. Is this sign of the economy, or is it that I'm usually not on the bayfront this early in the am? I wonder, at what point do the homeless start to look homeless?
  • Mile 2.5 - An old-guy passes us as we run (I'm used to this). Turns out he belongs to another track club that has a water station set up, so he stops to drink. When he starts running again, he passes us a SECOND TIME, and as he runs by we remind him that he only gets to count us once!
  • Miles 3-4. We start to notice the new really cool art-sculptures on the waterfront. Betty tells me she wants two benches with tiles as a memorial when she dies, so for her funeral, we'll have a tile painting party. Note to self: Momma will have to organize as I know nothing about painting tiles.

  • Mile 4 - As we pass the cruise ship terminal, we have a rather lengthy discussion about when a floating vehicle is a ship and when it is a boat. Betty tells me that if it carrying other boats, it is a ship.
  • Mile 4.5 - We get to experience the smell of a garbage heap in Embarcadero Park. It was difficult to hold my breath, but I had to because even "mouth breathing" made me taste it...ewwwwwww!
  • Mile 5 - Betty lets me run ahead of her. This is one of the problems I have running long distances. After running about an hour or so, I start to get restless and want to run faster. This is often a bad idea because if I'm going to be running for two hours (the 1/2 marathon), then it's really too early to speed up, but I do it anyway. I'll pay the price later.
  • Mile 5.5 - We again enjoy view of "my boat" (or is it a ship? or yacht?) from the Cayman Islands. You know the one that comes with an auxiliary boat tied to it and a helicopter up top. I ask some random guy who is standing there looking at it if likes my boat! He says he does...I am secure in knowing that he's looking at the floating device on the bay and not "my boat" as I run past.
  • Mile 6 - Dead Rats - We pass two, almost step on one. EEEEEWWWWWW. I've run on the harbor plenty of times, why so many dead rats today? I'm starting to feel the effects of having only Gu and coffee for breakfast.
  • Mile 7 -Nice looking Coast Guard personnel emerge from their base and then run past us (don't mind that so much...nice view...makes us happy and distracts from any running pain we might be feeling). I'm starting to really pay the price for my earlier speed up. My legs feel like lead. Betty reminds me at a stop light that we really only have about a mile to go. I keep thinking...I can run a mile in 11 minutes...that's only 11 minutes more. Since I didn't map this run, I'm not too sure how far we've run. By my clock I figure we're close to 8 miles, but my legs feel like I've run 10. (Note to self: Next weekend, don't speed up at 6 miles, and eat breakfast for pete's sake!)
  • Mile 8 - Thank gosh, we're finished! Where's the SDTC water station? GAH...since we started earlier than the track club (which started the run at 7am), the water station must still be on the course (but in the sun). That was the trade-off in 1) starting our running earlier than the track club start, and 2) running the opposite direction of the track club water station support in exchange for an overcast, cooler run...Not a bad trade-off. Unfortunately, we have to drink from the water fountain, which is now a problem for me because on Tuesday night at Balboa Park (Betty reminded me) we watched some guy let his dog drink out a water fountain (WTF is up with THAT?). It certainly helps to explain this water fountain Drama Girl and I saw at Coit Tower in San Francisco last month...

So, it was a great run. I thought I was completely dogging it (ha ha) in the last mile or so, but our stats don't seem to show it.

8.1 Miles
11:05 Pace
5.41 Ave Speed

Thanks to Non-Runner Nancy for putting the Virtual 8-Mile race out there. This is the first time I've done a virtual race and I'm looking forward to reading everyone's race reports (I've already read a few from those of you who were able to run your race on 8/8/08. I had to wait until 8/9 to do ours).


  1. Loved your mile by mile replay. It was as if I was running with you both with out leaving the comfort of my home! I don't use water fountains anymore after a particularly horrifying encounter involving a water fountain, me and a small runny nosed boy. I will say no more. ;-*

  2. What a great race report! Great job!

  3. Great report! I love the play by play. Great run as well speedy!

    We have lots of those doggie fountains. They are nice, but my dog is scared of them.

  4. Thanks for the play by play and nice pictures. I thought that first one for sure was Beijing. :D

    Everyone should have a Betty. I'm so jealous.

    Thanks so much for joining us. Check back for a full race results post in the next day or two.

    Nanc :D

  5. Very nice...thanks for reminding me to head down to the Embarcadero and see the latest "art trees" along Harbor Drive. It's been about a year, so they should be changed out by now.

    Nice mile-by-mile commentary too!

  6. Your commentary/race report is hilarious!! I love that you two talk about so many random things as it really does help pass the time.

    I hope that you have as much fun this coming up weekend at the 1/2 marathon and for Goodness Sake EAT BREAKFAST!! :-)

  7. CONGRATS LADIES!! YOu did awesome! Dang you and Bettie need to come my way! I love me some good laughs!

  8. OMG, you and Betty would totally fit into the Wooo Hooo group...for sure!

    anytime you are in're more than WELCOME

  9. Great race report! There is nothing like have a great running partner.

  10. water fountains give me the creeps, but sometimes they spit gold for parched runners. i read that you should carry a small spray bottle of disinfectant(i think hydrogen peroxide)to squirt on the spout before taking a drink, but who thinks of those things before going out.

  11. Geez Alice -

    Do we really talk about all those things? I know I'm quite the chatterbox - what else is there to do at 6 in the freaking morning! Thanks for pacing me all those miles!
    My favorite part... hearing about how you researched the Cayman Islands yacht to find out it is a Princess Cruise Lines yacht for really, really, freakin rich people who don't want to go on a "normally overpriced" cruise!

    P.S. - You make every run exciting and I love running with you also! Happy Birthday and Happy Birthday Week!

  12. Yes Betty, we really talked about all those things...

    And the yacht? That was my guess that it was owned (perhaps) by the Princess Cruise Line as a high-end cruise experience. I was wrong about the who owns it, but right about who rents it...Ya got an extra $700,000? We could rent it for the week.

  13. Excellent job! loved the mile-by-mile report.

  14. *sigh*
    I SOOOO need a betty.

    she have a sister in TX by any chance?

  15. Love your posts. Great job getting 8 miles done!! can't wait to be to that point.