Every year in June, the hospital that I work for puts on a 5k/10k race. Last year was my first time running the race, and I ran the 5k with my boss… it was his first official 5k race, and I set my own PR that day! When I signed up for the race this year, I really felt like I was doing “eeney, meeney, miney, mo!” when choosing whether to run the 5k or 10k. I have not run a 10k race since October so I figured, what the heck, let’s do it. My biggest concern was weather/heat. The last summer 10k I signed up for I ended up switching to the 5k because it as just too hot and too humid. I was determined this year that it would not happen, no matter what. My confidence was draining as the week drew closer and the forecast said 90 degrees on race day… this summer has been SO HOT and my pace has suffered. I decided on my second to last training run that my goal was to just NOT. DIE.
This year I volunteered before the race, which made things a little hectic. I arrived at 6:30am to help with registration and bib pick up. It was busy, and fun, and it made the time go by faster and calmed my nerves a bit… that is, until I realized it was 7:45, and my race started at 8… and I really had to pee! So I got in line for the bathroom… decided maybe I’d have better luck with the porta-potty… ran outside, saw my runner friend Nick who told me GOOD LUCK with the bathroom situation, ran back inside and waited in line AGAIN… and managed to get to the start with just about 1 minute to spare!
I started off slow, and quickly realized that I was in the back of the pack. Like… literally the last person. I waved to my friend Lisa and her daughter as I passed them and joked that I was the caboose! About a quarter mile in, I ended up passing a few people. Prior to the race I had told myself… if it’s really hot, do run/walk intervals. If not, try to run the whole thing. Well, when I realized I was barely “not last”, I decided that I better run the damn thing. I have never finished a race dead last, and there’s something about at least being “not last” that I’m happy about.
The course was nice, aside from dodging potholes in the trail. It runs along the Saginaw River and has some shaded areas, so we didn’t have the sun beating on us constantly. It has some minor hills here and there, just enough to get your heart going. Since my phone is a PILE and didn’t charge last night, I ran with my husband’s iPod and my Garmin Vivofit for a timer. I glanced at my Vivofit each mile. My first mile was about 13 minutes. After that, I sucked at math, but I’m pretty sure my second miles was slowest, third was still slower than the first, and then I picked up the pace. I also had a girl that was running right behind me that tried to pass me at about 1.5 miles in, and I was bound and determined to keep her behind me. I have NEVER been that competitive before… but somehow that pushed me through. After the turnaround just before the 4 mile marker, I even passed another runner! I was pretty impressed with myself.
The last mile of the race was brutal. I kept telling myself… it’s just a mile. This is nothing. I heard my friend Maggie’s voice in my head telling me “Don’t bitch it!” Between that, staying ahead of the girl behind me, and thinking of all of my other amazing running friends that have been encouraging me over the last few weeks… I kept going.
I realize as I am writing this that this 10k was my very first warm weather 10k. The others that I have done have been in the fall or winter. So that makes this next fact even more awesome… I ran the whole race. The only other time I have run a whole 10k was not an actual race, but something I did on my own to prove that I could. When I got my PR for a 10k, I ended up switching to intervals towards the end of the race. So today, I was a beast. I may not have been the fastest – but I wasn’t last, not even in my age group! And I did something that I thought I could not do. I told my mind to shut up and I ran the whole thing, even when it got hard, hot, and painful.
It was over two years ago that I ran my first 10k… something I thought I could never do. A year ago, I ran a 10k without stopping. Today I did it again, in a race, in the heat, and I beat my time. Although 1:18:29 is not an overall PR… it is better than my first ever 10k, and it is better than the only other 10k I have run without stopping to walk by 5 minutes. In my mind, that’s still a PR, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through!
Now I start my training for my SECOND half marathon coming up in September… yeah, you heard me right. :)