DFL was DLF: A Palm Springs Race Report (finally!)
The night before the race we gathered around the table after dinner chatting...in the usual Berry fashion. My dad, at the advice of his coach, withdrew because of severe shin splint pain. He was pretty miffed and made sure that everyone knew this. And by everyone, I mean the entire population of the resort and neighboring cities. We were all bummed out for him since he was really looking forward to running the race (although he probably would’ve slaughtered all of our times). He’ll be ready to run by the time St. Louis comes around.
So anyway…we were sitting around the table and I had to explain what DLF meant to the fam. For some reason my sisters thought it was dead effing last instead of dead last finish. But whatever. I never said they were the sharpest knives in the drawer (I’m kidding you guys, really…I am). So the DFL became the running joke of the evening. I was prepared to take the DFL slot and estimated that it would take us around 3:20 to complete the course since we’d be pretty much walking the distance.
Now, I should probably tell you that my mom and two sisters participated in the relay. I went along with each of them on their respective leg. My mom took numero uno with 4 miles, my speedy sis was in the middle with 4.5 and sleepy sis came up strong in the back with 4.6 miles.
Race morning came quickly and I was amazed at how cold it is in the desert before dawn. Damn cold. Like part of me wished I was wearing pants and a heavy fleece cold. Thankfully the sun came out and warmed things up to the mid-upper 70s during the race. It was an interesting adjustment to all the sub-zero weather runs I’ve been having in Chicago.
The first four miles with my mom went by quickly. She kept trying to run and I wouldn’t let her (doctor’s orders!). But she was dead set on passing a few folks along the way. As we trucked along we walked with a group of high schoolers who were training for the LA Marathon…one of them proudly reported that his favorite part of the course was where you run by a strip club and all the strippers are out there cheering everyone on. Oh, to be young and hormonal! Before we knew it, we heard my dad’s cow bell as we were approaching mile 4, and so we ran it in...
At the relay exchange, speedy sis (who earned this nickname during the race for her ability to hold a swift 9ish mile) and I took off like a bat outta hell and quickly passed the cheater, cheater pumpkin eater from the aforementioned post. This section of the course had a lovely 2 mile slow, gradual incline. We passed Mike coming from the other direction and cheered him on (he’d continue on to set a new PR…the dude is destined to break 2 hours in the half mary distance this year...oof!). The best part was definitely the downhill section as gravity just pulled us down nice and easy…
By the time I got to sleepy sis, she was amped and ready to roll. Speedy sis went and passed off to her in the relay, and I diverted to the porta potty to empty the bladder (much to my sis’ chagrin). Now…this chick, who only runs when being chased, ran well over a mile without stopping. I was massively impressed. We ran back through some loopy sections and took in the sights…er, well, interesting lawn art is more like it.
By the time we crossed the finish line as three generations (we picked up my 4 year old niece at mile 13) about 20 minutes before my predicted finish time, they had run out of medals. But I didn’t care. We had around a 3:05:00 finish time. I was dead effing last in my division…but it was definitely lotsa fun (DFL for DLF). Some days…like that day…family and fun trumps speed and racing. And ya know what? That was way better than any medal I could’ve received.
I’d definitely do this course again. It was gorgeous with the desert sun beaming down over the mountains, with a course taking you through well to do residential areas (included Elvis’ old house) and well supported given its size. Although the race could use a few more sponsors as it was not a chip timed event and it is drawing a larger field from outside the palm desert area.
Labels: Palm Springs Half Marathon