I don't care how many races I've done, getting up at 4:30 am never gets easy, but it is necessary to be on time for a 7:00 a.m. start. We (Bianca, Chrystal, Julie and I) left the house at 5:15 a.m. just to be sure we beat the road closures. We were to our destination just after 6:00 and decided to wait in the car for awhile because it was "cold". I say cold, but it was probably about 50 degrees. Hey if you'd endured 100 plus degree temperatures for 4 months you'd think 50 was cold too!
Nevertheless, we had to brave the cold at some point. We set out around 6:20 and started walking toward the local fast-food restaurant to use the bathroom. We weren't out of the car more than 30 seconds and this happened to Bianca.
It's supposed to be good luck to get pooped on by a bird, so I knew Bianca would have a good race! I don't think she was pleased (even if it was good luck).
After we took care of business we headed to the start line which was very uncrowded. I was surprised more people weren't milling about, but maybe they were hiding out from the cold in their cars a little bit longer.
We took advantage of an empty start line to pretend we were elite runners on our mark. If I hadn't have told you, I'm sure you would have been fooled into thinking we were actually the elite runners.
I'm beginning to think we're all a bunch of better posers than runners. Ha!
Julie stretched a little as I coveted my Walmart throwaway sweatshirt. It may be ugly but it was warm. (By the way do NOT fear because even though I tried to throw this away at the start it was still there when I returned so it will be back to warm me for another race!)
Before you knew it, there were masses of people at the start line. I decided on Saturday that I would be running this race just for fun. I knew Bianca and Chrystal were planning to go much faster than I wanted to TODAY. I just couldn't see pushing myself for 10 miles just 2 weeks before my marathon. I made the decision to run with Julie at HER pace and just have a kick ass time doing something I love without any pressure. It was truly the right decision. So, Julie and I lined up toward the back and waited for the start of the race.
I think the race started pretty much on time and the masses of people were off. There were 3000 participants in this race so the start was pretty heavily congested. Julie does a 2:30 run and 1:00 walk on her long runs and that was our plan for today. 2:30 of running went by so quickly and Julie's Garmin chimed indicating it was time to walk. The crowds were so heavy at that time we ran through our first walk break. By the time the second walk break came around, we were surrounded by other people who were clearly doing the same walk/run method. This was my first time ever doing walk/run and I can definitely see the benefits of this type of training.
Before I knew it, we were at mile 3. Julie was really happy and feeling strong and confident. I love seeing her this way and loved the smile on her face.
The miles were coming and going and by mile 4 it was clear that we were both having a really good time. It's been a long time since Julie and I have run this distance together so we had a lot to talk and laugh about.
By mile five, I was SCREAMING for a potty break. I have NEVER stopped during a race to use the bathroom but my bladder just couldn't help it. Julie told me she could have stopped 2 miles ago so I didn't feel bad or as if I was holding her up by my stopping.
Miles 4 to 6 were supposed to be the hilliest of the course (personally I think it was 4 to 7 but who am I?). Julie and I just had to laugh because every time our timed walk break came we were on a downhill and when it was time to run we were on an uphill. Doesn't it just figure? It was as if someone (and an evil someone) had planned it that way. We ran those hills though and did it most times literally cheering ourselves on.
The worst hill came just before the 6 mile mark, but the top of that hill provided a breathtaking view. It's moments like these that remind me why I run. It's not to be the fastest, or run the longest. It's to soak in the moments along the way, whatever they may be. Today it was an amazing view, atop a hill, overlooking a lake, with a beautiful sky and awesome landscape. I had all but forgotten the hill I'd just climbed when I reached the top.
From then on, the miles just ticked on by. Mile 7, 8, 9... tick, tick, tick. I think I peed at everyone of these miles too! What's up with that bladder? As not to slow Julie down, I'd run ahead and then catch back up to her. At one point I was sprinting to the porta potty through a water stop. There was NO ONE (and I mean no one) around me. There were about 10 volunteers at the water station all cheering and I just kept running faster and faster as they screamed just for me. I looked down just before I reached the porta potty and realized I had been running a 7:30 pace (albeit for 30 seconds). How's that for crowd motivation?
It seemed like we had just started the race yet we could hear the finish line music and crowd. Hearing that always inspires me to think about how far I've come. 10 miles. That's a LONG way, yet now it seems so easy for me. It was over before it was even started.
I can't tell you how happy I am that I decided to take it easy today. Sure the competitive side of me wonders what I could have done today, but I had to look at the big picture and the right thing for ME to do was to take the pressure off today and just have fun! It meant more to me to cross the finish line with a friend than anything else. We crossed the finish line in 2:08.
Thanks for the memories Julie! This is one I won't soon forget.
For those of you wondering (and the rest of you too since you're still reading) Chrystal and Bianca had a great race. They started off running a pretty fast pace (around a 9:40) and were able to hold it for 5 to 6 miles until Chrystal starting having severe pain from an old IT band issue. They still finished strong in 1:49 and change! WTG Ladies!