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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Cambridge 5k Race for Life: Race report [20110705|22:12]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Me and mah ladies

(from left to right: K, me, M, H)

This weekend, I ran the Cambridge 5k Race for Life, which raises funds for cancer research, with three of my lady friends.

A few months ago I posted to [community profile] runners asking how to keep a group together during a race. It turns out to be fairly simple to organise - ask who wishes to be in the group first! We ended up running as 3+1, with three of us paced similarly (running continuously) while the fourth ran alone (in intervals) partly from personal preference and partly from necessity due to injury.

We arrived at Parkers Piece, where the race began, about half an hour early. I left the house feeling rather self-conscious in my kitteh outfit. We rounded a corner onto a busy road and were faced with two angels, three fairies, a bunny and a chicken. My self-consciousness evaporated.

On reaching the green, we were blinded by pink. Thousands of girls and women in pink. Seven and a half thousand, according to the official tally. We marveled at matching mothers and daughters, at tutus, at feathered head-dresses. Then we tried to place ourselves in the correct corral for the start of the race. We opted for what we thought was the "runners" corral, but ended up going through in the first pulse of 1000 participants, amongst the "serious runners". This turned out to be a stroke of good luck, as due to the congestion we had to pretty much walk the first 500 metres.

The field opened out after that and my companions H & M and I took off. We started passing people. In fact, we spent most of the race passing people. At one point, M, who has a weak ankle, took a tumble to a chorus of "Ooohs". She rolled (hello, self-defense training) and was on her feet in the next instant, to a chorus of "Yaaaays". We threaded through the crowds as one kilometre after another melted away. Spectators cheered us on. I received many compliments on my costume. Each gave me a little extra burst of energy. We kept up our banter for almost 4k. Just before the marker, we saw H's husband and son. Her husband cheered. The baby snoozed obliviously.

As we rounded onto Jesus Green for the last 500 metres, we started going faster by unspoken agreement. There was more space, so we could push ourselves harder. Chatting stopped abruptly. H, who is the fastest, silently egged us on, incrementally increasing her pace until with fists raised and adrenaline pumping, we bounced across the finish, 31:24 after we'd started.

I figure we probably could have done it in under 30 minutes if it weren't for the early congestion and a couple of bottlenecks that slowed us down. For a first attempt at keeping a group together and for what was really a fun run (no timing chips involved), I feel pretty happy about the performance. It would have been impossible for us to train together as M normally lives across an ocean. K, the friend who did intervals, finished in just over 35 minutes. I'm also pleased because I never thought that running would be a form of exercise that I would enjoy quite so much. I don't have a "natural" runner's build, as you can see from the pictures under the cut, and I'll never be a placing competitor, but the fantastic atmosphere and energy of races is well worth the training.

Also, I was pleased because my kitty ears stayed on the whole way.

I've now done a 5k adventure race and a straight 5k. The next step up for me is a 10k in October!

Put your paws in the air!


I ran the race in honour of my maternal grandmother, who died of ovarian cancer three days before I was born.


The "before" picture.


This is what happens when you give your dSLR to your boyfriend with strict instructions not to push any of the buttons except the big black one from the front, and he accidentally bumps it from "aperture-controlled" to "fully manual". He tried to take photos of us crossing the finish line, but this is the only one in which you can properly distinguish any of us - specifically, me, because of the outfit.


x-posted to [community profile] runners: Apologies to those for whom this is turning up twice.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sekl
2011-07-05 21:32 (UTC)
All right, inquiring minds want to know. How did you keep the kitty ears on the whole race?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-05 21:34 (UTC)
Bobby pins. Lots of bobby pins. Also, luck.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-05 21:58 (UTC)
Thinking about running times just makes me feel old and decrepit. 12 years ago I ran my last 'serious' 5k. To be precise I ran the second leg in a 4x5k charity relay. I clocked 23 minutes. Now, injuries and age taking their toll, I'd struggle to break 30 I think and I'd be in pain most of the time. I can still break 12 minutes for 2.4km (which is how rugby refs get fitness tested) but I couldn't maintain that pace and I can put in the road work I'd need to do so without spending most of my life icing my ankle.

Plus I will never (never did) look as cute as you doing it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-05 22:10 (UTC)
23 minutes! I'm envious. I can only dream about 23 minutes. I know I can run 5k in 28 minutes, which is the fastest I've done it outside (on rough terrain). But I seriously doubt I could ever do 23 even on a perfectly flat treadmill.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-05 22:58 (UTC)
I was hoping to break 20 and I ran the first 2k in 10 but I couldn't maintain that pace.
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2011-07-05 23:17 (UTC)
Sorry to hijack but oh dear. I want to ref Rugby and in our fitness test this evening I ran 1700m in 12 minutes. I'd better bump that up ...

And DUDE. That's some serious running, I am very impressed.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-06 00:09 (UTC)
Go for it! Everywhere needs refs and, except at the highest levels, I think fitness is secondary to game management skills.
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2011-07-06 07:08 (UTC)
Part of the reason I want to ref is because as Fixtures Sec we've had so much trouble getting refs so I know how badly they're needed ! I really need to get on the course.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-06 10:43 (UTC)
The other good reason for doing it is it will completely change how you think about the game. I think every coach, and probably every player, would benefit from reffing a few games.
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2011-07-06 12:15 (UTC)
I agree, but on the flip side I worry that I'm not experienced enough to ref, because I've only been playing for 2 seasons.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-06 12:18 (UTC)
Our head referee coach never played at all. Also we have some very young referees who didn't play much before starting reffing. Come to think of it that's true of my son too. He only played minis and he refs now in the ACT.

What position do you play?
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2011-07-06 12:23 (UTC)
That's reassuring. I'm a utility forward - started at flanker, have been dropped into the second row at a pinch, currently moving towards hooking, but might have to prop since we've just started our second team, which I'm vice-captain of, and so we're liekly to eb short of experience front-rowers. I believe we're the only North London ladies club with 2 teams, which is quite a source of pride to me
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2011-07-06 12:32 (UTC)
Sounds like my playing days. Started as a hooker (so emergency prop by default), moved to flanker/8 but towards the end of my playing time played more at second row. Third team rugby. You have a 40 something 200lb guy and a 17 year old who's 160 dripping wet. Who plays flank and who plays lock, even if the bigger guy is a much better flanker?

It's great that you can run two ladies teams. My club just about manages that plus an U18 girls side.
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[User Picture]From: painted_dreams
2011-07-06 00:42 (UTC)
Wow, I love your costume for the race. You look fantastic :-D I've never done a 5K before, but friends of mine have. It'll be something I'm looking into doing.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-06 08:35 (UTC)
It's a very civilised distance. You end up feeling like you've accomplished something, but you're not completely knackered and can still walk home and host(ess) a barbecue. :D
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2011-07-06 03:56 (UTC)
6 minutes a K - that's not too bad at all! Good for you, and for gaining style points as well with your outfit!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-06 08:36 (UTC)
Thank you! I'm hoping to get faster with more training. Now that a 5k feels manageable, a 10k doesn't seem too unreasonable. :)
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From: anokapolis
2011-07-06 05:02 (UTC)
Congrats, you guys look lovely and I can tell everyone enjoyed being part of something important:)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-06 08:38 (UTC)
It was quite an emotional atmosphere, since most people were wearing those pink back signs. Some had photographs and stories about loved ones they'd lost to cancer.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2011-07-11 04:45 (UTC)
Oof, camera frustrations are...frustrating. :/ But thank you for sharing your kitteh photos with us! And you kept the little bob @ your neck--I thought for sure that'd drive you nuts--not so bad, then?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2011-07-11 09:32 (UTC)
Actually, the only annoying part of the outfit during the run was the paws, because the rest of me was pretty much isolated from the outfit by proper running gear. I had shorts and a sports top on underneath so I couldn't feel the polyester. But the gloves got very, very hot by the end of the race.
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