This was my first ever 10K race...which is why I'm expounding a bit.
If you ever would've told me I would be able to run for 6.2 miles straight through I would've laughed at you. In fact, when my husband suggested the race about two months ago, and encouraged me to give the 10K a try I didn't think I could do it. I knew I could run a 5K (3.1 miles) and I was about halfway into the Couch to 5K Program again, so I thought the race would be a perfect goal for my interval training.
It was a good goal, but not just for 5K. It was a goal to see if I could push myself to strive for more than I felt capable of. It was scary to think of at first. In fact, when I printed out Jeff Galloway's 10K training plan and read how he is a big supporter of taking walk breaks during a race to finish strong this is how I thought the race would go:
- I would run and plan walk breaks about every two miles.
- My goal would be to finish the race, but nothing more. No set times.
Then I began training and saw my goals change. Over the course of a couple of weeks, and finishing a few long runs, by goals became:
- Try and run the whole thing, only walking if absolutely necessary.
- Finish in under 75 minutes (1:15:00), giving me ample time of a 12:00 pace for the entire time.
Then I began to have some hip pain, got discouraged, learned what could be causing it (my conclusion is overexertion and weak legs) and then learned how to keep running without doing permanent damage. I took it easy a few days to take care of my hip, and it would recover better from runs when I did that.
The week before the race when I would still get hip soreness from running I added to my race goals:
- Start the race pain free.
- Enjoy the run.
A week prior to the race I was so extremely busy that it was hard to remember I had this big event coming up. I kept working out, but spent more time recouping from the stress of my Mother's Day Lunch than worrying about the race.
Around Wednesday I remembered I have this big deal coming up. :) A friend of mine was running the race as well and asked me if I was ready. She used to run a lot (has a marathon under her belt) and has been getting back into running. The excitement came back after talking to her.
Friday I decided to try and carb load just a little, more out of feeling important that I had anything that needed some carb loading. I ate pizza for lunch with a small bowl of pasta. Whee! (oh, and the small brownie and cinnamon roll that I called "carb loading", but we won't go into that...) My husband had been out of town all week and he came home that night and we got to bed at a decent hour, which was good since we had to leave at about 6:30 for the race.
Saturday morning I woke up excited and a nervous. I did what I do every morning and made my coffee, ate half of my Clif Bar, then I put some mascara and lip gloss on (figured I'd try and look a little more decent for the race..LOL). My son was up bright and early and we had to get husband out of bed and get him moving.
As we drove to the race (10 minutes from my house) I realized no one had pockets to carry my camera in. So, we decided to take a few pre-run photos at the car and then I'd get one afterwards. I was a bit bummed about this, because I wanted a photo of me crossing the finish, but oh well. My daughter was going to be the photographer, but she and her sister ended up going out of town for the weekend.
Anyway, I had decided to wait until after arriving at the stadium to use the restroom. Um, that might've been a mistake...the line was SO LONG. Thankfully, I made it in perfect time to go and get to the 10K corral with a good 3-5 minutes to spare.
While waiting we were able to chat with my friend who was running the 10K and ran into another friend of ours who was doing the 5K. My son was going to run the 1 mile, so we left him in his corral with instructions where to meet my husband after his race. (I knew hubby would be done faster than me)
Finally it was our turn to head over to the start line.
At the "GO!" the crowd surged ahead and I pushed the start button on my Garmin. I began running wishing my husband and friend a good run, dodging around a few walkers (who apparently never heard of race etiquette - walkers stay at back of crowd...) and then noticed I was getting left behind. Again.
Watching the runners go mostly ahead of me I began to feel very slow, but then I looked at my Garmin and I was at an 11:00 pace already. I knew for me I needed to slow up a tiny bit to be able to finish the race. So, it took a good mile or two for me to settle and get past the mind battles watching people run up ahead of me. This was the hardest part for me, the mind battles of being so slow.
It also took a couple miles to get over having to "go" #2. Um, yes...*giggle* I didn't think it was funny then, and thankfully it wasn't as bad as my run where that feeling hit hard at mile 4, but still...I barely started jogging and felt the urge. "Oh no...not now...I can't stop to use the bathroom on this race!!" So, I began praying.
Yes, I'm serious. I was like, "Lord, please take this feeling away and keep it at bay 'til I'm done. If not, give me the strength to ignore it for the race and keep going." I'll just leave you with knowing a little while longer I realized I didn't have to go anymore. Glory!
I haven't mentioned this yet, but it was a glorious morning to be running! The temperatures had dropped a little and it was only about 63 when we started. The sun was shining and we were running through very pleasant neighborhoods. I enjoyed looking at the different runners, noticing how people of all shapes and sizes were out. Smiled at the lady who was holding up a poster board with giant ant cutouts all around the edge and written on it "Run like there's ants in your pants!" She was cheering us, all by herself with her little dog. So fun! I even complimented some young girls on their cool knee-high socks and then suddenly began seeing....
...people were taking walk breaks. Not even two miles into the race people were stopping to walk. I just kept my little self jogging right along, not really passing them, but knowing I didn't need to walk yet.
Next thing I knew we passed a water station and it was 3 miles. I was half way done and I smiled really big when I realized this. I felt strong and the running wasn't so hard.
I guess after the halfway point is when I started passing a couple people, who I didn't recognize. Now, we were overlapping with the half-marathon people so some of those were running twice as far as me; but I did see some people stop to walk that were 10K'ers and I passed them.
Jeff Galloway encourages taking walk breaks to finish a race strong, and I completely understand that. But let me tell you there was nothing that made me feel better than to know that I may not have shot out of the gate, but I was still running. My mantra began to be "slow and steady wins the race".
And win the race I did. I won my race anyway, and that's all that mattered.
As we rounded for the last half mile I realized I was still running at my good steady pace and I wasn't feeling over tired or winded. I felt strong.
As I came up to the 6-mile mark my two girlfriends called out to me and joined me. I almost cried, and felt like one of the Biggest Loser marathon runners when people come and run different lengths with them. LOL They were so sweet and encouraging!!
Suddenly, as we were about to make the last turn towards the finish, my son showed up and joined me. We sprinted over the finish, past my husband calling out from the sides, "GO LEAH!!", and I finished.
6.2 miles in 1:10:27
Running the entire way.
My husband gave me a huge hug and I started crying out of pure joy and disbelief.
I had done it. I had finished a race I never thought I'd be able to do, and I enjoyed it!!!
We stood around for a few minutes chatting with the friends and listening to the winners. (The male half-marathon winner came in at 1 hour - wow!!) And then we headed back to the car to go to breakfast. A lady parked nearby obligingly took a quick photo of the three of us all together - race finishers.
Then we headed over to Cracker Barrel and I basked in more glory as I watched other runners from the race milling about and being so proud that I was one of them. :) There was a day I would not have cared to be included in that group, and would have cheered on anyone who cared to without feeling bad about myself. But this past Saturday...let's just say I wore the race t-shirts we were given all day because I was so proud of my accomplishment.
It was a day I'll never forget, and it leaves me feeling hopeful that I am capable of accomplishing great things if I'll only just believe and put a little elbow grease into it.
If you made it this far...I hope you enjoyed the reading. I wanted to remember every detail of this HUGE first in my life. :)