Saturday, July 18, 2015
~88°F, 6:30pm The Galleria at Erieview
We noted in our list of summer races that The Winking Lizard A Shot in the Dark is a party and if you were there on Saturday, you know we weren’t lying! As soon as we arrived, there were masses of people everywhere, some already drinking, some getting pumped for the races, and some creating a drink plan for after the race. The fun atmosphere of this race from the get-go was enough to snap us out of the “It’s so hot, I’m going to pass out” moods we were in and get us stoked for a great run!
K ran this race in 2011 with Kelsey, her first running buddy. The day was warm (not like this year…), there was plenty of beer, and it was certainly a memorable one. Which is why, when it was time to find a July race, K and R decided this was a great opportunity to actually run as a team!
This was not only R’s first time running it, but his very first evening race! Even though the “shot” wasn’t quite in the dark, there was an obvious difference between this race and a morning race. The crowd was more lively pre-race and the anticipation of the event built up over the course of the entire day.
Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the anticipation of this race was the weather. It was a warm…OK, blistering day. After some worried texts concerning the weather, K realized she should probably remind R of some other important race preparation. If anyone has learned anything during the past year and a half of racing together, it’s that R is forgetful.
Thankfully, there was no oversleeping or forgetting! We made it to the starting line and took off – the starting bell went off without ANY warning, which was shocking, so we may have had a clumsier start than we’d admit – skipping through the crowd and running faster than we realized. When we hit the 1 mile marker, we saw 8:30 and were shocked. We had joked about running as fast as possible through the 2 miles to get a good team result (the 2 person relay consisted of one 2 mile course that both teammates ran and their times were averaged at the end to determine their placement), but we had no idea how fast we really would run. We both agreed that it was quite a struggle to go that fast in the heat (the sound of our forced breaths was probably a little disconcerting), but we were on a serious high when we saw that we finished with an average of 8 minute miles. 8 minute miles, folks. That’s a milestone for us! And to have run that pace as a team, sticking together for the entire race felt even better than the final numbers.
Despite being super happy with our times, turns out this race (or maybe this heat) brought out the speed in a bunch of others as well. A volunteer told us before the race that we wouldn’t have too much competition in the co-ed bracket, but it seems we’ll have to step our game up even more next year. The winners were running around 2 minutes faster than us per mile!
Ernest was waiting for us at the bar, with all the other “handlers”, so we quickly walked (not quite “ran”) inside to excitedly tell him all about the past 20 minutes. He high fived us and repeatedly told R to stop trying to speak and catch his breath. Then we chugged some water and went straight for the beers. If there ever was a finish to celebrate, it was this one!
-K & R
P.S. Earlier in the week, KR-Craftday resulted in the very first Keep Running CLE tshirts! Keep an eye out for us running in KRCLE gear from now on–we enjoyed making those shirts A LOT.