My time for the 10K was a little over an hour. I averaged about a 10 minute pace. It was rough! At the start, I began to get nervous and a little emotional. My stomach had been uneasy all morning, that will come into play later. I was nervous and a little proud thinking about how far I had come.
At the sound of the horn, I walked towards the start and at the sight of the start, I began to cry. The adrenaline kicked in and I took off. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to complete the race. I didn’t run consistently for the past two weeks, I fell off my race diet, opting for Dairy Queen, cocktails and McDonalds during my travels. I also had trouble finishing 3 miles 2 days prior to the race, so I was a little worried.
The beginning of the race was a bit up hill and as women passed me, cut me off and did everything they could to remind me how slow I was running, my confidence wavered. My goal then turned from splits, to making it to mile 3. After mile 3, I’d see how I felt. This was after debating about how to split the race, 3 sets of 2 miles or 2 sets of 3 miles. After mile three, each mile became a race on its own, with me constantly saying to myself “make it to the next mile”heck, sometimes it was “make it to the next tree.”
I walked for about at total of 1.5 miles. I couldn’t help it. I was relieved to know that we were not running the “big” hill, but I forgot that the course had a series of smaller, longer hills. So the hills got to me, they were the victors that day, due mainly to my lack of mentally preparing for the hills. Running is after all about 60% mental 40% physical.
Between mile 5 and 6 were the most difficult. Once you start walking it is often difficult to start to run again, but you soldier through it and hope for the best. I did curse myself at times for walking, but I also had to remind myself that this was my first race and that running is a built up sport, that I’d started from much slower the year before and ended the year with an 8 mile pace. I could do it again.
At the 800m mark, I started to walk again. The worse thing that someone can shout out along a race course is “you are almost there” unless I can see the finish line, I’m not almost there! While some people think it is motivating to say that when you have 3 or 2 or even 1 mile left, it is actually not a motivating thing to say. It is especially demoralizing, if like me, each mile is a race by itself and you have 2 more races to go.
At 800m I heard a voice from behind me saying “come on mamma, don’t stop now!” This older lady with the energy of at least 5 runners came up next to me and carried me to my next point of progress 400m. As she ran next to me, she also started to shadow box. It was a little annoying because I could barely make it, while she had the energy to not only keep my pace but exert additional energy, to shadow box! WTF!!
At 200m with the finish line in my sight, I perked up a bit and decided to sprint to the finish to stay under 60 minutes. Did I mention the finish was up hill? Well I did it, I finished the race and as I crossed the second time mat, my stomach rebelled and I gave my water and Gatorade back to the sidewalk. I was embarrassed, but felt much better. A few other women joined me in what seemed like a trend. I felt weak and pulled myself away from the puke fest.
I can’t tell you how I looked, I probably had spit down my chin and my hands were gross. So I sheepishly collected my flower and medal and tried to find a way to clean up. Which is not an easy task to do with bagels, fruit and popsicles being shoved at you.
So I say, it was pure will power and not training that got me through that 10K.
With that difficult mini victory, I’ve decided to surrender to my running coach. It’s time to amp up the training, eat properly and do what it takes to get into good running shape. Goodbye ice cream and cocktails, hello 50-25-25 and water, lots of it. Goodbye 8 am runs in the park, hello 5 am wake up calls and runs on the beach. Running requires sacrifice, but in the end it is one of the most fulfilling things I do each day.
My goal pace for the marathon is 8:30 per mile. I’m currently running 10:05 per mile.