You can take the girl out of the races. But you can’t take the races out of the girl.
As you know, all of my fun in-person running events (as well as almost every other fun in-person event...work, school, shaking hands) has been cancelled for 2020. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find my own racing fun. So when my local running buddy Lisa sent me a link to a ‘virtual’ race, the Catalina Wine Mixer 5k, I jumped at the chance to sign up. With some Trinidad running buddies on board, I knew - we could make this epic!
Running buddies Lisa, Juanita, and I quickly devised an Official Catalina Wine Mixer 5k Race Day To-Do List of activities to accomplish to ensure that we were having a real, live race-day experience. The list included the following:
Arrive at the venue (for us, the Trinidad Lake State Park’s South Shore entrance) at least two hours before the start of the race in order to simulate attempting to avoid long pre-race check-in lines. Let the shenanigans commence!
Be sure to be dressed up in Official Catalina Wine Mixer 5k gear - including race t-shirts and bibs. Everyone MUST know why we are here!
Spend the pre-race hours alternating between the following activities:
—Wandering around the parking lot, asking anyone available if they can direct you towards the start line.
—Consuming as much caffeine and calories as possible to fuel up for the race. Calories should preferably be in the form of carbohydrates — a very serious pre-race fuel — such as leftover pizza from the night before, pop-tarts, biscuits and gravy, or pancakes. And don’t forget to chomp on some antacids. It’s hard to race with the burps and/or heartburn.
— Stretch. Slam a 5-Hour Energy shot. Sprint around your vehicle to warm up those hammies. Repeat.
—Search frantically for a port-a-potty or bathroom facility. Stand outside the door for a minimum of fifteen minutes, hopping from foot to foot, to simulate actual race-day potty lines. Enter and use the facilities. Return to the front of the restroom, and resume the standing-in-line-whilst-hopping procedure. Repeat at least four times or until less than one minute remains until the start of the race, whichever comes first.
At the starting line, announce loudly for anyone within earshot to hear at least one of the following phrases:
—I have hardly trained for this race. I’ll let you win this one.
—I have a pulled hamstring. I’ll let you win this one.
—It’s too (pick any of the following) hot/cold/early/late/humid/dry/flat/hilly today. I’ll let you win this one.
—A 5k really isn’t my distance. I’m more of an ultra-marathoner. I’ll let you win this one.
—This race is fun — but nowhere near as epic as last year’s Boston Marathon. I totally killed it there.
—At the appointed hour, commence the race. Beforehand, promise to stick together as a pack — after all, we are all guaranteed to win First Place in our Age/Name groups. No need to show off TOO much.
—When approaching another individual on the race course, be sure to sprint past them. It makes no difference if this is another runner, a hiker, an early-morning fisherman, or even a goose looking for breakfast - lapping someone counts as 1 point. Air high-five your fellow racers (no actual touching to maintain social distance) for each individual ‘passed’ in this manner on the race course.
—Loudly shout race updates to one another. Phrases may include, “We just ran a 10:14 mile. Slow down, Speed Racer, before you pull a hammy!” or “Only 1.7 miles left to go...I can smell the barn!” or “Watch out for that goose! It looks like it wants to eat us for brunch!”
—When passing through the lake’s campground, be sure to recharge your batteries by snacking on any breakfasts campers have conveniently set out on their picnic tables. When they look at you in a confused manner as you grab their bacon, smile warmly and yell, “Thank you for manning this aid station! Man, did I need this!”
—Sprint away from said campers as they attempt to chase you down, trying to take back their bacon. Look at their efforts to apprehend you as motivation to set a new Personal Record (PR) for this race.
—As you cross the finish line with your friends, immediately raid your vehicles for post-race goodies to replenish the calories expended from all the sprinting: preferably chocolate chip cookies and/or tacos. And an Orange Julius, to wash down the aid-station bacon.
After ticking each of these items off of the to-do list, Lisa, Juanita and I donned our finisher medals and posed for a quick selfie, basking in the glow of our accomplishments and pride in a job well done.
Just goes to show — fun is always to be had for those that are willing to make their own.