Sunday, June 26, 2011

[50] Wilde Strawberry

Distance: 5K (3.11 Mi) [ Course ]
Date/Time: Sunday June 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Weather: Sunny, mid-60s, a bit of wind

Bib#: 701
Clock Time:56:46
Chip Time: 56:33 (155/180 Finishers)
Nike+ Time/Splits: 56:34 (Pace: 11'15"; 565 Cal)
  • Mile 1: 10:08 (10'07")
  • Mile 2: 22:41 (12'33")
  • Mile 3: 34:21 (11'40")
  • Mile 4: 46:07 (11'46")
  • Mile 5: 56:24 (10'17")

[Event Atmosphere] 
Though it received the monthly spotlight in Irish Runner Magazine's "Fixtures" summer race compilation, the event matched the town: small but meticulously organized and welcoming. I got a sample of the local culture when I went to pick up my race packet at the National 1798 Visitor Centre. There is something organic and comforting about the simplicity of their organization. Simple type written bib-number list divided by event. Hand-written names on the race packet. "No need to show ID, dear. We trust you," mentality. 
I was Dorothy in Oz, but it looked suspiciously like Kansas. 

[Fashion Choice]  
lululemon athletical run: skirt (Tango Red), UnderArmour Baltimore Running Festival 5K Semi-Fitted heatgear tech shirt* (dark gray), Asics military style hat in green. Arriving at the race, I realized that my look was distinctly American, or at least a far cry from Irish countryside running. Save for a handful, all of the women wore black bottoms. Capris and cropped running tights were in first place, followed by loose fit shorts. The ladies rocked their racer back tanks and technical shirts, but in subdued colors and loose fit fashion.

I felt like the Molly Malone of Running-- the tart with the bright red running skirt.  

This was round two for the Nike+GPS SportWatch, and thankfully it fully cooperated this time around, including accurately mapping out the route I ran. I am still gutted that it did not properly function in Edinburgh, but it appears that I may be able to create my own map using Route Boss Mapping Tool. Linking the Polar WearLink+ still eludes me. When I have time at home, I am going to figure out how to do a factory reset for the HRM and link it to the SportWatch.

Imagine the quaint town Cameron Diaz goes to in The Holiday, but plopped in the southeastern Irish countryside (and minus Jude Law walking through my door drunk) in the summer time. Rolling hills, winding roads, and friendly locals who take pride in their local culture. Though the event ran in tandem with the 2011 Strawberry Fest, many still came out to cheer the runners. Families sat outside their houses. Children playing in the yards stopped to cheer passers by. Even the national police, the Garda, were wishing runners well as they directed traffic.

Though it may be significantly smaller than my races back home, a race like this is like a splash of cold water: refreshing like an Irish Spring commercial. What took some getting used to was sharing the road with the local traffic. Unlike races which shut down parts of Manhattan, the locals of Enniscorthy have only so many roads out of town. Starting at the back of the pack, I was startled when I heard a car drive up behind me without sounding like it was stopping. Thankfully, there was a sidewalk to hop up onto, but it gave me a new appreciation for the 'no headphone' rule.

As promised, there was a single water station after mile two. Small bottles of CelticPure spring water were available for the taking, and the sport bottle style made it handy to sip while running. It did upset me to find some bottles discarded along the route as it meant people were littering in the name of sport. I did enjoy the water as its softer than some I am used to drinking in the United States. 

I lucked out and the majority of the route was shaded, courtesy of all the lush trees and beautifully landscaped yards. The sun came out to play, but the temperature remained cool. Prior to the race, I summoned my iPod Genius to generate a playlist based upon "That's Not My Name" by The Ting Tings, and I wound up with a solid 25 for running. Other artists included: P!nk ("Bad Influence", "Crystal Ball"), Lily Allen ("22", "LDN"), MIKA ("Any Other World"), and Lady GaGa ("Speechless", "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich"). Britney ("Blur") and Ke$ha ("Dinosaur") also wiggled their way into the mix, but with tunes which aren't overplayed by radio back home. The highlight was closing in on mile four and "Hella Good" by No Doubt started. I never really liked the video, but the song is great to pace against.

Closing in on the last half-mile, I passed a couple of boys on their way to the open air market. One of them looked like a cross between Harry Potter & Nevile, especially when he smiled and said "Best of Luck to Yah!" I wish I could have stopped to take a photo with them. My only fear was breaking momentum. Pulling into the hairpin turn and seeing the finish chute, I heard something I wouldn't have ever expected:

"Here comes Karen Peterson, number 701..."

This will most likely the be the first and last time my name is ever called out in a race, unless I become massively famous, something crazy happens, or I set some bizarre World Record. Clearly participating in a smaller race, starting near the back, and being one of the last finishers in the event has its perks. After having my B-tag clipped off my shoe, I ambled through the finish tent to get my tech shirt, medal, snacks, and most importantly-- my voucher for tea and sandwich at the host hotel. After some decompressing outside in the breezy and some light stretching, I packed up and walked back to my host sister's house. With the roads being congested from the races, open market, and the music festival, walking home was much quicker and a great way to work out those last post-run kinks. 

All in all, I had a fantastic time with it. 

Oh, and by the way, the gent announcing called my name twice. ;)

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