So today was the day! Because of holidays and vacations and family being in town, I hadn't gone running for two weeks before today, so I was kind of nervous. Plus the farthest distance I've ever run was 4.5 miles. But they say you aren't supposed the run the full distance when preparing for a race, so I was okay with that.
I ended up getting there right on time, but I still had to register, so I started about 3-5 minutes after everyone else. Oops! The last race I did was a 5K back in June, and it was organized very poorly. It was a total joke. We started late, it was a confusing course, there was no one there to direct the runners what direction to go... I guess I assumed that this race would be similar. But I didn't really care, because I was competing against myself, not anyone else. Plus they gave us a chip that we tied to our shoelaces, so in a week or so I can check Striders website to see my official time.
So how did I do?!? Well I have a pretty slow pace compared to most runners. Partly because I have short legs causing a short stride and partly because I don't want to exert myself so much that I won't be able to finish. So when I examine how a run goes, I think about how even my pace was, if I progressed from my last run, if I was able to control my breathing; not just how fast I finished the course. It's all a mind game. My mind tells me I should stop, but then I realize I'm breathing fine and my body feels fine. That's when I feel like I could go forever.
It was when I was about halfway through that I felt like I could probably finish the entire course without stopping to slow down and walk. I was doing great! I felt like a goddess! Then when I was a bit past mile 4, I hit a wall of exhaustion. I went as far as I could feeling exhausted, but I finally slowed down to a fast walk. This happens occasionally when I go running at night, but I never stopped at my last race (a 5K) so I felt like a bit of a failure. I ran/walked for the next mile or so. I think that listening to your body is smart if your goal is to finish, I felt a bit light-headed. I'm glad I did.
At about mile 5 I ran into the half-marathoners. There were three races going on at the same time. The 5K and 10K started at the same time, and the Half Marathon started 45 minutes before. Seeing their energy and pace made me feel guilty and re-energized me a bit. By the way, having a good running soundtrack is key! Some songs just really pump you up more than others. Seeing the half-marathoners could easily have discouraged me since they are so much more advanced than I am. But it made me want to be like them. Plus at the time I was listening to Eminem's song "Lose Yourself." The following lyrics really inspired me at the time, especially as my left knee started giving out:
Success is my only mother-effing option, failure's not!
Feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got!
Music has a way of inspiring me like nothing else can. Even from artists like Eminem that don't usually bring inspiration to most people. I wanted to feel success, especially after feeling failure.
When the course for the 10K and the Half Marathon split paths, I found myself in a group of runners for the 10K. That's when I found out that I may be more competitive than I realized. One or two runners would take the lead for a bit, and then someone else would run ahead. It was kind of funny. Then we hit the hill. All the runners slowed down at the hill. Well, I kind of consider hills my specialty. I will NEVER let a hill beat me. When I see a hill, I say to myself "I'm gonna conquer you!" So at the hill, I charged ahead. At the top of the hill we see the sign pointing us in the direction of our end point, which was downhill. There was no way they were getting ahead of me at this point. I just let gravity take me.
My mom wasn't prepared for me because I told her it would probably take me an hour and a half. So there are no pics of me actually running, but here I am at the finish line!
This is the hardest thing I have ever physically done, and I am incredibly sore now. I'm really glad I decided to do it, and I can't wait to do more! I'll post the official results as soon as I get them!!
Today I'm thankful for everyone in my life who has been so supportive of me in my goals. I hope that I have been just as supportive to them as they have been to me.