I did it! I braved the cold, conquered the absence of
accountability a racing partner, and ignored the fact that I hadn’t technically run the 6.2 miles in one go yet and ran my first 10k!
To say I’m rather proud of myself is a bit of an understatement. But that’s okay – my mom, daughters, support team, neighbors, mom-in-law, Ex, friends near and far, and co-workers have all told me they’re proud of me too. I think I’ll be riding this runner’s high for a while. Heh.
I was a little nervous: when I picked up my runner’s packet yesterday, the convention center and all neighboring streets, parking lots, and sidewalks were packed. 30,000 people had signed up for the six races held this weekend and it seemed as if they had all descended on the area at once. I decided I had better revise my ‘roll out of bed and park somewhere ten minutes before the race begins’ strategy.
I did pretty well; I opted for the parking area that was the second closest to the start and end points, assuming the first lot would already be filled even though the 10k was the earliest scheduled race. (7 a.m. – who is in the mood to run that early?!) I was less than a mile from where I needed to be and I found lots of friendly people to follow to the starting line. The only problem, as I discovered later, was that our lot was in the middle of the course. Oops. Thank goodness Siri was able to talk me through a go-around or I’m sure I’d still be there waiting to get out.
The problem of starting the race so early – besides the fact that I wasn’t even close to being awake – was that it was pretty dark out. It was also freezing-too-cold. 32° on the thermometers, and even with no wind (thank you God of Crazy Runners) I still couldn’t feel my calves after standing around for 10 minutes.
Look at how crazy close I was to the right-hand starting line!! The faster runners were asked to line up in the left-hand lane – and by fast, they clarified that they meant those who were running 6- or 7-minute miles. ?!? I will never in my life be one of those peoples! But being so close to the start of the line meant that once we started (on-time, again, thank you God of All Running Creatures), I didn’t have long to wait until I could start warming up. Of course, that meant that my pace started out way too fast, even with Run Keeper on to help me keep track of a) where we were, b) what mile that meant, and c) what my pace was. It was so cold that even when I started running, my fingers stayed pretty cold the entire time. I also had a drippy nose and eyes that wouldn’t quit leaking. Oh, and my crappy lungs kept being all asthma-y. At one point, I acknowledged that if it was a regular run at home, I would have called it quits and gone home to do a nebulizer treatment – I was that wheezy. I had an inhaler with me, but I didn’t use it. I just told my lungs to knock it off and slowed down when I needed to.
Still, even with the crappy lung situation, I did pretty good – I still managed an average pace of almost exactly 13-minutes per mile, which isn’t far off my usual 12-minute miles. It helped that I ran most of the race with two really, really old men. And if they could run, then golly so could I. There were quite a few middle-aged kids (10-ish?), some YaYa women who looked between 50-60, and even one young lady who was a blade runner. And all of them kicked my butt. But that was okay – you learn pretty quickly to put aside your ego when you’re running and just stick to your own pace.
Turns out my pace was pretty decent all on its own. I finished in the top third! Not my best time, but still pretty awesome. I chatted with some great people (there is such a camaraderie amongst runners, no?), had a good time, and did something I never thought I’d be able to do – doubled my longest run with less than 100 days to train! Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement, and especially for letting me be all bloggy bloggy about it so often.
I can’t believe that five years ago, I could barely run from my front door to the mailbox and then my friend Crisanna forced me, mid-divorce, to train for a 5k with her. I didn’t want to. I resisted for a long time and she finally bullied me into it. I started the C25k - Couch to 5k – program with her and always jokingly called it the Couch to 5k…and Back Again program. But now, even sore and tired from my run, I’m thinking about training for a half-marathon. What a gift it was that Crisanna refused to let me sit out. Now, there’s no going back for me.