Five days ago I completed my first 10-miler -- the Perfect 10 Miler -- an all female race. And I think I'm still on a runner's high! Prior to training for this race, I was not a runner. On the contrary, I thought I hated running. In high school, my least favorite part of playing team sports was the running: the 2-mile timed runs during tryouts; the 2-mile warm-up runs during practice; etc. Each time, I tried to keep up with the fastest girls, and each time I was left feeling both extremely exhausted and extremely defeated when I would fall behind. Hence, I hated running.
Fast forward 7 years, and a group of my college girlfriends decided to sign up for a 10-miler race. This would be the longest race each of us had done, so we made a pact that we'd train together and support each other. I figured I had nothing to lose, and heck, I could just walk most of it if I needed to. Either way, I was determined to train my best and make the most out of it.
From the months of July through October, I stuck to a pretty solid schedule of running 1-3x a week. I didn't try to push my pace, and over the months I discovered that I actually enjoy running. I enjoyed the game of it. I looked foward to seeing myself accomplish running further and further each week. I looked foward to seeing if I could improve my times. I looked forward to posting my runs on Garmin Connect and seeing my elevation gains. It became a personal challenge, and I liked that.
A week before race day, I was very apprehensive. My longest run was only 8 miles, and my shins/calves were overworked and gave me trouble on even the short runs. The nerves were definitely there. Being competitive in nature, I couldn't help but be scared that I would be the slowest one out there or that I would be much slower than my training times. I knew I'd be crushed if I didn't run the race to my best ability. When relaying my fears to my good friend, she replied, "That's silly! It's just one race. It's a learning experience. This has been such a fun experience training, and if it doesn't go as planned on Sunday that's all the more reason to think of what you learned and try again! Adrenaline leads to amazing things and I bet it will on Sunday!"
With a new perspective, I let my body rest a full 5 days with no running and decided I'd just let it be. On race day, I said a quick prayer and set out past the Start line. As I ran past the Mile 1 markers to lots of women besides me cheering, I felt a sense of pride. By Mile 2, I was in awe that my shins weren't bothering me like they had just 5 days earlier. By Mile 3 and 4, I felt great and picked up my pace (these were my fastest miles). Along the way, I let my mind wander. I thought of my friends... Matt (my fiance!)... my parents... my family... I thought of how supportive they were to me. And that helped me to keep going. Miles 5 and 6 were steady. By Mile 7, I had my first wave of uneasiness, as I worried about finding the energy to get to 10 miles! On Mile 8, I found some renewed energy and this one felt easier. Mile 9 was the toughest. My body had not run longer than 8 miles previously, and I was just out of energy. My lung capacity was fine; I wasn't out of breath; I simply was just tired. But when I turned the corner for the home stretch and final mile, I pushed myself. The crowd was at its largest on the last mile, and I could hear the emcee in the background as I got closer to the finish line. On the last straightaway, I pushed my pace. I saw a lady in purple ahead of me, and I vowed to finish ahead of her (I said I was competitive!) As I sprinted past her, a smile crossed my face. I finished my first 10-miler!!
|Pre-race... showing off our running shoes!|
|Crossing the finish line! Photo courtesy of CGI Racing.|
|Lehigh girls. My support system.|
|Post-race mimosas :-)|
|My No. 1 Fan!|