Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Great 10k Adventure Part 3

The Race Report
Read Part 1
Read Part 2

I'm standing the in road surrounded by others runners. There is an older lady standing next to me, with a child that looks to be at least 3 strapped on her back. I think to myself that I hope she is walking. Another runner jokes with her about her extra load. She laughs and says she is in fact walking and that she'd have to be crazy to attempt running while carrying her grand daughter.

There is what I assume to be a local radio station DJ off to the side and he begins counting down to the race start. He is far enough away that I can barely hear him, but apparently the race starts because everyone begins to moving forward. It is a chip timed race, so I'm not really all that concerned about it. I cross the start line in less than a minute and hit start on my Garmin.

When I cross the line I am still walking. The crowd is too thick and moving too slow to start running. I finally start picking up the pace and realize that I lined up too far forward and watch all the other faster runners blow by me. I feel bad, I hate doing that. The cold had consumed all other rational thoughts.

I start running and I feel stiff. It hurts. I go about a quarter of a mile and both shins start hurting. I decide that it is going to be a long race. I wonder what I am doing and why. I think that I can just quit now. If I turn around it's only 1/4 mile back, plus another 1/4 mile to the car.

I plod along for the first mile. My right shin stops hurting, but my left is still bothering me. I always let shin splints get the better of me and quit when they start up. I will run through just about any other pain, but shin splints make me want to sit on the curb and bawl like a 2 year old. I wonder how I am going to make it through 5 more miles of this.

I make it 1 1/2 miles and I start feeling like I am loosening up. My shin stops hurting. My hands are still freezing and they feel numb. I'm wishing I had thought to bring my gloves.

We are running along a residential area and someone has set up a water stop in their driveway. It's on the other side of the road, but I cross over and grab some water. I slow to a walk while I drink it and then speed back up. I'm still freezing.

I am running an out and back course. I haven't quite made it to the 2 mile mark and I can see the contenders for first place coming towards me running the opposite direction in the other lane. It's an amazing sight. I rarely have an opportunity to see the front of the pack runners, and the fact that they are running a pace that is at least twice as fast as mine is blatantly obvious. I am in awe. I see the first female runner pass me and I silently give a little cheer for her.

Watching the faster runners pass me gives me something to concentrate on, and before I know it I've gone about 2 1/2 miles. I'm actually feeling good. I can tell I'm picking up speed. I think that I should be seeing my boyfriend soon going in the other direction and begin looking for him.

Some where near here is the official water stop and I once again stop for some water.

The song switches on my mp3 player to Eminem's Shake That, which I love and it gets me moving a little faster. Then Ice Cube's You Can Do It comes on next. I run to that song a lot, as it is in the movie Save the Last Dance and I run while watching that movie at least once a month. I always speed up during the song, and this is no exception.

My feet are hitting the pavement in time with the music. I feel perfectly in sync. I feel like I'm flying. I'm in heaven. I feel like I was born to be in this moment. The song ends. It switches to the next one. I feel myself fading with the music change.

I look down and notice my shoe is untied. I run over to the curb and bend down to tie it. I decide to ditch my sweatshirt. I'm starting to warm up a little bit, and figure I may as well take it off while I'm stopped. I fumble with it, and knock both of my headphones out of my ears. I toss the sweatshirt to the side and take off running again, struggling to get the headphones back on. I finally do and I can tell that I am nearing the turn around point.

I have a tank top on under the sweatshirt and I can feel the cool air on my arms. It is refreshing and feels like it gives me an extra burst of energy. I pass my boyfriend going the opposite direction. I wave but he doesn't see me.

I make the turn around and feel amazing. I can't believe how well the last 2 miles have gone. I decide that I want to go back to the You Can Do It song, and back up my mp3 player until I find it. I actually listen to this song for the entire last 3 miles of the race over and over again. It just feels right.

I'm actually weaving in and out passing people like crazy for the next mile or so. I feel like I'm on fire and nothing can stop me now. I come back to the official water stop and grab a glass. I'm feeling really thirsty by now and slow long enough to drink the entire glass, wishing that I had another.

I start back up and feel myself fading slightly, but I'm still doing well and still passing people. I round the corner with 1.2 miles to go, and I know that I'm going to struggle with the end. It's getting hotter, and I'm warming up and getting uncomfortable. I feel like I need more water, and I'm giving it everything I have and it's taking it's toll. I'm coming out of the residential area and there is less shade

About 3/4 of a mile from the finish, I have to go up a hill. It about does me in. I struggle big time, but finally make it to the top. And I want to sit down and cry about the fact that I'm not done yet.

I keep going. I feel myself slowing down. I can see the end in sight. The end of the race is a loop around the high school track. It feels like torture. It's hot. I'm tired. I feel vaguely like I'm going to throw up or pass out. Maybe both. I'm regretting the decision not to stop at the porta-potty I passed 3 miles ago. I have 1/4 mile left and I'm seriously considering stopping to walk the rest of the way. I'm arguing with myself to stop being a wimp.

I round the final curve in the track and just have the straight away left. I kick it into high gear and finally cross the finish.

I bend over to take off my chip and don't think I'm going to be able to stand up right again. I grab a water and start to chug it down, I eat a banana and some yogurt, and proceed towards the car where my boyfriend is supposed to be waiting.

While walking, I'm watching other runners cross the finish. I can tell the struggling 10k-ers from the early half marathon finishers. I stop to watch some of the faster runners go by. One poor kid gives it everything he has, barely crosses the line and starts loosing his breakfast off to the side of the track. I'm thankful I hadn't done the same, knowing I was pretty close.

Official Time: 1:10:55.80

Garmin Time: 1:11:06.30 (for 6.30 miles - I forgot to hit stop until after I'd removed my chip. Oops!)


Mile 1 11:33
Mile 2 11:41
Mile 3 10:56
Mile 4 12:08 (This was where I stopped to tie my shoe and fumble with my sweatshirt and earphones)
Mile 5 10:54
Mile 6 10:37
Mile .3 3:13

These are amazing split times for me. I never run under 11 minute miles. And even the first two miles were pretty good considering I hadn't bothered to warm up or even stretch. I was just too darn cold, and I really wasn't taking the race seriously anyway. At that point I was still telling myself that I could quit and go back to bed.

Over all, the race could not have been better. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure that I could have completed the half and regret bailing on it. But, it was what I felt I needed to do at the time.

The entire run my knee, ankle, hip, and back were completely fine. It made me wonder why I was quitting. Then I stopped running, my hip locked up, my back started hurting and I was limping like a 90 year old, and I quickly remembered.

I don't know how to feel about the race. It was amazing. It was the best race I've ever ran. And I did it with no preparation, and my head not even remotely in the game. It's given me the urge to keep running. To keep racing. Makes me wonder what I could do if I was better prepared. But the nagging pains are telling me that I really need a break. I haven't made any decisions. I'm still really thinking about running the 8 miles around Mackinac Island in September. Guess I'll have to just see how the next few weeks go.

I apologize for the three part report. It really wasn't from a twisted desire to keep everyone is suspense for days! I've been super busy since getting home and have been blogging in between patients at work. It can take a while to write a blog post in 5 or 10 minute increments!


  1. Congrats on a great race! I have never mastered the drink water while running.

    At my last race (did the relay) I watched the marathoners cross the finish know none of them looked happy. Just thankful that it was over. I would be doing cartwheels. Well doubtful b/c I couldn't bend down to take the chip off my leg at the relay.

  2. Great Race! Congrats!! Amazing splits, I'm sure you're really happy you didn't go back to sleep afterall ;-)

  3. Great job on the race. Way to go with the effort.

  4. Way to hang in there!! Good race and cosistant times.

  5. Congrats to you on an awesome race! You did it, sistah!

  6. I'm still convinced we're connected in some weird way as running buddies (nothing like a lil' bit of Ice Cube to get me moving). Plus we're the same speed! We need to find ourselves a 5 or 8 or 10k and meet in the middle for a fabulous friendly race. I'm seriously, lady.

    But the report was brilliant. :) And I am so proud of you for totally putting 'that ass into it.' Way to go!!

  7. Great running report--very inspiring! Just stumbled across your blog, glad I did.

  8. Look at those splits--you look so happy in the photo, deservedly so!