This year I chose the 10K. Running the 2 mile just didn't seem worthwhile. (Next year, I'm hoping to run the 10K and 2 mile with Rebekah - we shall see!)
I haven't been doing a whole lot of running since the half-marathon. I've been focusing lately on my endurance and had 2 7 milers under my belt that included just a water break half way through. But I'd been running pretty slow - about 13:30 miles.
So this week I hopped on the ol' dreadmill a few times to help remind my legs how to get the job done. I really hate the treadmill, but it is a pretty good tool for this.
When I go to a race - I always like to know what my goals are ahead of time. It sets the tone for the race. So for this race I was waffling between two different goals.
1) Run the entire 6 miles, no walk breaks.
2) Run in less than 1:15.
It felt like I couldn't get both - so I went back and forth. I eventually decided I was going for endurance. With my 7 mile runs under my belt, I felt like I had half way trained for it at least and that it was attainable. I wasn't really sure the 1:15 time goal was attainable.
William was up at 4:00 AM (or so) as he had a golf tournament this day. (It was a schedule flub on my part - he originally intended to be there at the race!) I was up at 5:00 AM after wrestling around for awhile. I hadn't intended to get up that early, but sometimes you just wake up and that's that.
I got up and went about my business. As I was getting out of the shower (I don't always take them before a run - but in the case where I'm not returning anytime soon, I do go ahead and get one in) I could hear Ruth up. It was 5:30 AM. She wakes up about this time a lot, but she will lay back down with one of us and go back to sleep. Today there wasn't really anyone for her to lay back down with. I laid with her for 10 minutes or so, but felt like I couldn't spare more time. So I whispered that I would be back - and she laid there for awhile quietly watching my every move.
I fixed my hair, got in my race gear and a few other things. I made myself a list of things, so I wouldn't forget what I needed. Ruth then got out of bed and started following me around in her sleep state. Eventually she perked up, but I knew it would be a long day for her.
My mom came over around 6:30. We chatted a bit and then I was off. I was able to leave in time to stop and get some pre-race caffeine. This also doubled as my "breakfast".
I met up with some folks from work and we chatted for a few minutes. I ended up in the start line with a few of them and we stood around. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was out in full force but the temps couldn't have been more perfect. I started up my music and waited.
I stood facing my coworker for awhile because the sun was blaring. I don't have sunglasses (I need to get some), and the sun will give me a headache if I stare in that direction too long. Because I was facing him, I for some reason felt the need to make conversation. So I blurted out "You know, this time last year I ran the 2 mile and was completely intimidated!" He looked at me and said "Oh really?" and went back to waiting.
Some gal sang some patriotic song (not the National Anthem - but one of the others that are pretty popular) and I turned around. I wasn't sure whether to put my hand on my heart...since it wasn't exactly the national anthem. I decided to go ahead and do it. The announcers said some stuff and then BANG! The start gun went off and...
And everyone stood there. No really - everyone stood there. I could see up ahead the crowd moving, but again for some reason, folks walked to the start line. It picked up pretty quickly from there, but it took me exactly a minute to get up there. Walking. At turtle pace. I wasn't really that far away from it! I was relieved I could actually start running once I was past the start line.
The sun was in my face so I couldn't see much. It wasn't long before we turned and I was so grateful. I enjoy running in downtown...I mean, how often do you get to run in the middle of the street and it be OK? The view of the buildings on foot is amazing. (And for that reason - I think it would absolutely be awesome to someday participate in some kind of NYC race! :-P)
I looked around at the folks around me to try and find someone to use as my motivation. I zoned in on a couple that were moving slightly faster than I was. Perfect!, I thought! I'll latch onto these guys. About a mile into the race I had passed them. And then just as I passed them I heard the girl say she needed to walk. I never saw them again.
I waited awhile to find anyone else. I thought perhaps I had chosen too quickly. No one really stood out. I checked my phone - 1.5 miles. I was feeling pretty good. The sun wasn't in my eyes. Pandora kept trying to play super slow songs - which is actually unusual. I don't think I have thumb-downed so many in a row before. (Yes - they were THAT BAD!) At least it gave me something to fiddle with.
I came up to the first water station. I decided I was going to run past it and grab the water as I went. I have run an entire 3.5 miles before with no breaks, so this seemed pretty logical to me. I knew I wanted two waters, so I started to put my phone in my pocket so I'd have an extra hand free. PLOP! My phone completely missed my pocket and fell to the ground. There went the idea of running by! I stopped, picked up my phone and shoved it in my pocket. I grabbed two waters and gulped the first one. When it was gone I started running again. I pinched the top of the second cup so I could continue sipping. (My dear friend Amber taught me this trick at the GOTR race in May!)
When the water was gone, I took out my phone and worked on putting the headphones back in and restarting the music. (It always pauses when the headphones get yanked out...)
Soon I was back in my groove again. I was listening to music and deep in a little place I like to call 'Miriam Land'. I actually can't recall what I was thinking about - but I certainly immersed myself in it. This is one of the beautiful things about running - I can be in this place and it is perfectly OK. No one to interrupt me...just me, myself and I hanging out and having a good time. (If you can't enjoy being around yourself, why should anyone else?) Before I knew it, I had come up to a second water station.
It was pretty crowded so I did have to again stop to walk so I could grab some waters. There weren't enough people passing them out for me to grab them from someone. So I had to walk to the table and grab a couple. I did the same thing as the first station minus the phone drop - I guzzled the first one then started running while I finished the second one.
Somewhere - and I can't quite recall if it was before or after this second water station - I crossed the 5 mile marker. I checked my time and it was a few seconds past the 1 hr mark. OH. EM. GEE! I thought to myself! I did it! I ran 5 miles in less than an hour!!!! This was one of those milestones that I (up to now) had eluded me.
I tried to do the math...could I finish the entire thing and beat my time goals? It seemed possible, but I wasn't sure. I don't trust my math while I'm running - I get too eager in my estimations! I decided I was going to kick it up a notch for the last half mile. I wasn't there yet - but I have my phone to read me little updates every .4 miles. I knew I'd get an update at 5.8, which seemed like the perfect moment.
I passed up a final water station. No walking and the crowds were thin enough that I was able to nab a water without stopping. I grabbed just one this time.
By now I had targeted a new person to beat. A couple kept running/walking. This doesn't usually bother me, except honestly...every time I caught up to them they would take off running again. They were also pretty loud (read: entertaining), so it kept screwing with my head. But my dear friend Amber's voice kept running through my head. "Those run/walkers are so annoying! We are going to BEAT THEM!"
Please note - run/walkers do not annoy me in general...I'm a huge fan of walk breaks. But these particular ones did in fact annoy me and my goals for this race were to in fact NOT walk...
"5.8 miles..." my phone started saying. I focused, dug in, and started to increase my speed.
I passed up the couple. And I kept on going.
I approached last year's finish line. All sorts of people were walking. I wanted to yell "YOU ARE ALMOST THERE! GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR!" - but I refrained. I just kept on going. Soon I rounded the bridge near the finish line. Crowds lined the street - and what a rush! They were just excited (in general). I did momentarily wish that my family was there to greet me - but it wasn't meant to be.
I crossed the finish line.
|Self-portrait with camera phone post-race!|
Someone stuck a meddle on me and I grabbed a water cup. They also had giant off-brand sport drink bottles on ice. I grabbed one of those too. I remembered to stop my phone timer, and I got in line for breakfast.
I didn't see anyone I knew but I was ok with that. I mentally took off some time for the delay at the end and I took off a minute for the delay at the start. My timer read 1:15:47. I knew I had completed both my goals. I DID IT! I looked around at the crowd around me...and there simply was no one to share my joy with. So I texted my mom.
And while she would be happy, I knew she wouldn't really understand. She'd try of course...so I texted Amber. Honestly - it was her push and drive that caused me to really think about trying to run farther with no walk breaks.
I feel just as proud of this accomplishment as I do of my half marathon...and that my friends is the crux of the joy of running. It is so easy to find accomplishment in it!
Mile 1: 10:50 <-- adjusted for the 1 minute delay in start
Mile 2: 11:33
Mile 3: 11:59
Mile 4: 12:10
Mile 5: 12:11
Mile 6: 11:55
According to my phone - I went 6.34 miles... :)
Official completion time: 1:14:33