I ran my first 10k yesterday and I am proud to say that I beat my goal time by 4 minutes! But before I get ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning.
I just got a new phone a few days ago and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to set the alarm and end up oversleeping. I was right- my alarm never went off, but thankfully my sister’s did, so I was up at 5:20. I had my clothes all ready to go, so it only took me a few minutes to get dressed, brush my teeth, and put my hair up.
Right before my dad and I left, I had a huge slice of sweet potato bread. (No picture, I was in a rush!) In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that was the wrong thing to eat before a race. Actually, I’m positive it was. I know better than that! But it was convenient, and it sounded good, so I had it. I paid for it later on…
It only took about 20 minutes to drive to the race, and parking was pretty easy. Once we were out of the car, I realized another mistake. NO JACKET. It was hardly 50 degrees and for this warm weather bird, I was pretty sure I was going to get hypothermia. My dad let me wear his gloves until the race started, and once I picked up my race packet and T-shirt, I wore the shirt to get a little warmer. It wasn’t a very big race, so getting through registration was quick.
My bib was 444- the same time as my marathon!
Even though it was cold, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Perfect, perfect, perfect running weather.
We walked to the starting line to watch the 5k wave start at 7:30, and I said bye to my dad and lined up right after.
Even though there weren’t that many people, the path was pretty narrow, and I didn’t want to get trampled. The gun never went off, so someone yelled ‘GO!’ and we were off!
I wish I had my brought my phone to take pictures of the course. It was around a huge park, and with the foothills in the distance and the early morning light, it was beautiful! The first mile was flat and I was averaging an 8:30/mile pace. I started to panic a little because I knew I was going too fast, but I felt pretty good. Just as I was starting to think, ‘Maybe I can beat my goal time!’ the first hill came. It wasn’t too awful, but I turned a corner and could see the next mile and a half of the course spread out ahead of me. There are two words I don’t like to hear during a race, and those are ‘rolling hills.’ Not only did I hear them, I saw them and was not amused.
I let myself slow down a little, but then I kept remembering the hills during the marathon I ran last month. These were a lot less steep, and I kept telling myself in my head that if I could run THOSE hills and run 20 extra miles, I could get through this race no problem. I was still a little congested from being sick last week, so I was coughing like crazy going up the first hill. The guy I was running next to even asked if I was okay! Embarrassing…
Even though I was trying to stay positive, around mile 2, I started to get a serious cramp on my right side. I ignored it until mile 4, when it was getting really bad. It felt like it was traveling all the way up to my shoulder, and it was making it hard to breathe. I was also feeling nauseous, and I swear to God I immediately thought of the sweet potato bread I ate and almost threw up. Never again!!!
The rest of the race was kind of a blur. Without an Ipod or spectators to distract me, I tried to let my mind wander to avoid thinking about the fact that I thought I was either going to throw up or my heart was going to leap out of my chest. Around mile 5, I saw my dad! The weirdest part is that there were practically NO spectators on the course, but right before I saw my dad, I saw a man standing to my right, and I thought it was my dad. When I got closer, I noticed it wasn’t him- but he was standing right across from the guy! Crazy.
When I had half a mile to go, I tried to pick up my pace as much as possible. It felt like my side was about to explode, but when I saw my watch hit 53 minutes and I just hit mile 6, I sprinted as fast as I could to make it under 54 minutes. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I stopped Nora and saw 54:04. Even though I hadn’t made it under 54, I was elated to finish 4 minutes faster than my goal time! While I was waiting for my dad to walk to the finish, I checked the results table. It was pretty cool- they were printing off the results as they came in! When I saw my time, I almost had a heart attack. 53:59! OOO-RAH! Yes, seconds can make a difference!
I spotted my dad about 20 minutes after I finished, and he seemed really surprised to see me. When I asked him why, he didn’t know he was standing a mile away from the finish! He thought I still had a lot further to go and that he would be able to make it to the finish before I did. He was disappointed that he didn’t get to see me finish, but he had no idea how happy I was to see him when I was least expecting him. So no pictures at the finish- just as well, I was in pain and I’m sure my face showed it.
I was so excited to get some free food after I finished, even though I was not hungry in the slightest. It’s the principle of it! I noticed they had quite a spread before the race started- muffins, bananas, oranges, protein bars, cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, and more. When I went to the table, practically everything was gone! I grabbed an orange to suck on and managed to grab one of the last Z-bars.
The awards ceremony was happening as we were about to leave, so we stuck around to see people get their medals. When they got to my age division, I wasn’t really paying attention. But when they announced the 3rd place winner of my age group, my dad said, “You almost got third place!” The girl that came in third was only six seconds faster than me. Bummer! But when they announced the 1st place winner of the group, her time was 27 minutes- too fast for a 10k. The woman standing in front of me turned around and said “For a 10k?!” Weird, right? It wasn’t until we were walking back to the car that I realized I was pretty sure the 1st place winner had dropped down to a 5k. I checked the results page on the way home from my phone to see if that meant I had come in 3rd, but the results weren’t online yet.
This morning, I checked the results again, and saw my name- in third place! I guess they realized that 27 minutes is not humanly possible and adjusted the results. There were only 18 girls in my age group, but I’m still proud. So I did what anyone would do- emailed the race director and asked if I would receive a medal. I know it sounds weird, but damnit, I feel like I earned it!
Overall, I’m very pleased with my time! The whole time I was running, I kept telling myself that I would never run a 10k again, but I was already planning on running another on December 12th, and I’m still going to do it. I can’t wait!