I will start out this race recap with the following disclaimer: no persons, either real or fictional, were actually harmed during the running of the Zombie Dash virtual race.
So the morning started out dark and ominous with news reports on TV that there had been strange and mysterious sightings of people wandering around with dazed and confused looks on their faces. But you know, that really isn't too strange when you think about where I live, so we decided it was safe to head out for a basic, everyday training run after all. We had 11 miles at a pretty mild pace on tap...in my case, it was a HMP +30 seconds, which equates to upper 12-lower 13 minutes/per mile (this was my last day on my low end of pacing...this too will be explained in the future - just know that I'm gradually stepping down (up?) my paces over the next several months). Piece of cake.
We did a nice little warm-up walk around a short block and then I hit the Garmin and started going. I stayed fairly close to my mom and sister for the first several minutes, which in hindsight was good since it seems like us traveling in numbers was useful, but eventually I broke off to find my own stride and get into a rhythm that would carry me through a long training run. But not long after I left my mom & sister I started hearing a groaning, shuffling sound behind me...I didn't want to waste time and look back because I figured it was probably just one of the people from my group. I should have known better.
Next thing I know I feel breath on my neck. Could it be a slight breeze? We are supposed to be in Santa Ana weather after all? Perhaps I was just freaking myself out a little bit...but nooooo - I'm pretty sure that's breath I feel and hasn't the moaning gotten louder? I finally decided to look back thinking I would see nothing, but it wasn't nothing. It was...no it couldn't be...yes, it was a ZOMBIE!!!! (cue dramatic music here)
There it was...reaching out and incoherently mumbling something about brains. It was then that my fight or flight instinct kicked in. Run down a side street - dash up and back on a cul-de-sac - take a lake trail - head out to a more populated street. No matter where I ran the zombie stayed tight on my tail. I couldn't slow down and I definitely couldn't stop. I passed my house at one point and considered stopping, but I didn't want to draw the zombie into my home where my sleeping husband would be unsuspecting of the zombie apocalypse that was dawning with the new day. After all, a clever zombie might have turned him while he was sleeping before he even knew what was happening! I couldn't let that happen so I kept running.
I eventually made it back to my sister, but it appeared that something disastrous had happened since my mom had disappeared and my sister was running by herself - alone and defenseless. We teamed up and kept running back down the same streets trying the entire time to shake that darn zombie! I found out that my mom had escaped to leave for work...so I was definitely glad to hear that it wasn't something worse! Whew - that was a close one! I would occasionally draw the zombie off by running ahead of my sister, but would always circle back around to make sure she was safe and she was definitely holding her own. The zombie was closing in though and there was a scary moment where I could have sworn that the zombie got it's hands on me...was that a scratch? What would happen if I was infected by this zombie??? No time to stop and worry about it, I finally was able to shake him after a cul-de-sac and kicking in the turbo to return to my sister.
We had a period of time where we didn't see any additional zombies...perhaps there were only a couple? I'm not sure but I was happy to be able to slow my pace and just head for home. And then after a few more miles it started...I began to feel strange and not like myself. I was hungry - no, not just hungry. I was STARVING. But I wasn't craving my usual breakfast comfort foods of cereal and coffee...I had an overwhelming desire for...BRAINS!!! There was my sister up ahead and she has brains...and I bet they are pretty tasty! As I tried sped up to catch her I developed a cramp in my leg but was unable to stop so I dragged it behind me in what turned into a slow shuffle as my arms stretched out ahead of me attempting to catch her. As hard as I tried to catch her, she was just too fast and before I knew it she had made it to a safe zone and acquired a zombie antibiotic. I was saved and just in time!!!!
Whew - who would have known that a boring training run could turn into a mad dash through the 'hood running from zombies?
Okay - so seriously...obviously we weren't being chased by real zombies, but we did participate in the Zombie Dash: Run the 'Hood Virtual 10k this past Saturday. I finished in 1:14:55...not a 10k PR (10 seconds slower than my 10k time at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon this past January), but I wasn't really going for one either. I do have to say that I felt so great that if I had wanted a PR, I'm pretty sure I could have gotten one. :-)
There is one part of the story that is sort of true - I did chase down my sister while pretending to be a zombie at the end of her 10k to give her a little added "drama" and remind her why we were running that morning. Funnest part of the day!!! Who doesn't love pretending to be a zombie??
The registration for this "virtual" race included a medal and t-shirt so I was happy to put my new medal up on the rack - I earned it after out running those zombies and narrowly escaping becoming one myself! Glad I lived so I can run another day...