Non-runners probably won’t understand how a particular race can hold so much meaning for someone. Especially a small little race like the Mid-Land Half, 10k and 5k. But this one is more than just a run for me, in so many ways. In fact, it holds so much emotion for me that I didn’t even want to run it this year. Then, of course, a few of my running friends were like “Hey I’m running it!” and as usual I gave in to the best kind of peer pressure (running races peer pressure) and decided I would do it.
Looking back on some of my older posts, I described the 10k has my favorite distance. This year that has changed for me. Just a few weeks ago I answered the question posed by my running group leader “Which distance is your favorite?” with either the 5k or the half marathon. Something I never in a million years thought I would say. And I added that the 10k was my least favorite distance.
So then WHY in the world would I run a race that has so much emotion attached to it and not only run that race but run the distance that I claim to hate when my other two favorite distances were offered? Well mostly peer pressure – and also to prove something to myself. That I can move past difficulties. That I am always changing and adapting. That I am a badass runner chick.
In 2014, the Mid-Land was supposed to be my first half. My training was lacking and I dropped to the 10k, then down to the 5k, and then the day before the race I dropped out completely because of a very difficult personal issue. In 2015, I had planned on doing the half again, but my training came to a halt mid-October, I wasn’t prepared, and I got sick. I decided to still run the 10k last year though, and that 10k was rough.
2016 has been an incredible year of running for me. I have met so many awesome people and have gained new best friends that share the passion. I found the community that I was looking for – I had thought I had found it before, but something still didn’t feel right. It didn’t all come together until I was brave enough to start putting myself out there with the running community. I never felt like a “real runner” until this year, and I am so very thankful to the people who have helped me get here.
But I digress. This is supposed to be about the Mid-Land 10k, which ended up being an amazing race. I met up with my two friends from my running group and my long-time running friend that has encouraged my pursuit of my running dreams so much since I met her almost 5 years ago. I started the race with my two friends, with no intention of keeping up with them. But somehow, I just felt great. My lungs felt good, my legs felt good, and I kept up with my running friend who normally kicks my butt. It was just a good running day for me… and I knew that she had been struggling with running lately, so that motivated me to stay with her, no matter how fast or how slow we ended up going. The race itself is super flat and beautiful – all along the rail trail in Midland, and this year the fall colors were just incredible. The temperature was perfect. I was totally shocked when we ran our first mile in under 11 minutes. We kept strong, even when we slowed down to walk a few times. Our slowest mile was 12:11. My friend kept telling me that I could keep going if I wanted to when she would slow down, but I wasn’t having it. As she said, we had stuck together this whole time, we were finishing this together! We both were complaining that we were thirsty and hungry and couldn’t wait for the race to be over.
Our last mile we walked a lot, but we made up our walking with a full out sprint to the end. The healthy competition we had going on made it so much fun! I did not even see our time as we crossed the finish line. I was just concentrated on not puking on myself. When I finally composed myself, I checked our finish time. I saved the race in my Garmin and saw “New Record!” I got my fastest mile time (since I had my Garmin at least), my fastest 5k time, AND my fastest 10k time. My official time ended up being 1:10:56, blowing my previous 10k PR of 1:13:58 out of the water. (Technically my 10k PR showed up at 1:11:20, but that race was only 6 miles, so I don’t really count it – but STILL. I even beat THAT.)
Although I had an awesome race, I still stand by my previous statement in my running group – the 5k and half marathon are my favorite distances. Every race makes me stronger and I am so glad that I decided to give the Mid-Land another chance. Who knows, maybe next year I will finally tackle the half!