Sunday, April 27, 2014

10K Finisher

That's me. ; )

A couple months ago, it was suggested to me that I run a 10K race to help me step up my 5K pace. I've been gunning for that sub-thirty 5K for ages, and conventional running wisdom is that upping the distance helps the speed. So I gamely signed up for the Capitol City Classic 10K, then nervously strapped on my running shoes and started pushing the distance.

I've done very well, actually. Last weekend I pushed to an all-time high of 7.5 miles, and I've been consistently running 6 to 6.5 miles every Sunday for a few weeks now. A 10K is 6.2 miles, so I knew I could comfortably and confidently run a whole 10K without a problem.

And I did!

Oh, it had its moments. I pushed a little to hard a little too soon, but in my defense, I had to get around the power-walkers who ignored the signs and started up front with the 6-minute milers. Because of this, I set off at a pretty quick (for me) pace so I could get around the slower people, and by the 2 mile marker, I had worked up a good sweat and was starting to think I ought to slow it down a little.

When I reached the point in the course where the 5K runners went one way and the 10K runners another, it felt a little strange to go with the 10K route--if I'd taken the 5K route, I might even have finished with a near-best time, at the rate I'd been going. But I gamely soldiered forward towards the 3 mile marker, knowing that all these mid-pack 5K racers were about to get their bagels while I kept plodding along. (I was a little jealous, I admit it. But mostly I just felt badass.)

The course took us across Sacramento's Tower Bridge and along a nice river walk I didn't know existed, along the well-loved local bike trail, and into some gravelly bits that had me picking my way along cautiously. There were two moments where I almost walked out of necessity--simply to keep from slipping on the gravel on one short uphill and another short downhill. I still consider what I did in those places running, just slow, careful running.

Around the halfway point, my stomach started doing its "oh, honey, you shouldn't have pushed me so hard" rumblings, and I'm sure the people I was running near were perhaps concerned with the gasping and small grunts (which I tried to keep to a minimum) I kept emitting. The course took us over a bridge, so I ran near the edge in case I lost my breakfast, but it didn't end up happening--and I did not walk.

The first four miles of the race felt endless, but the last two seemed more reasonable. I had slowed down a little but I kept running, focusing on making my mind think of pleasant things. My legs felt good, my stomach (mostly) settled down, and I just kept chugging along. I was actually feeling quite pleased with myself for being out there.

Finally, the mile 6 marker came into view, and I could hear people at the finish line ahead. With a burst of fresh speed, I finished the race strong, at 1:09:02, with a smile on my face. I wanted to wave at everyone when I heard my name called out by the announcer. I just ran a whole 10K!!

After grabbing my free bagel (most races I run have bagels for the runners and it's just so nice to stuff carbs in my face after a run) and a bottle of water, I went back to the finish line area to attempt a selfie. A nice lady saw me struggling (and still breathing hard), and offered to take the pic for me.

Red, sweaty, exhausted...and SO PROUD. 

I wandered around a little to gather myself before hiking five blocks back to RosiePro. The bagel was a goner, as was the bottle of water.

My official time ended up being 1:08:05, which is not bad at all. I was hoping to get in under 1:10, and I did just that. It's about a 10:58 pace, but I know a couple of my miles were faster than that...and I know that every time I get out there and run, I improve my speed, my strength, and my endurance more and more.

On the picture above, there's plenty to feel good about--a good time, finishing in the top 50% of women and of my age group. But the best part of all is that one word after "Status." The f-word.


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