I did it! It was challenging, but I feel fantastic and it was a great race for my first 10K. This is really long and I totally understand if you don't get through it all. I just want to put it all down so that I will be able to come back and read it someday.
The morning started off VERY early. I got very little sleep, I kept waking up every hour or so and then finally woke up at 3:45 after having a race dream where I picked up my bib and ice skates?? No clue about that! LOL. I had to get up so early because I had to go petsit first and then drive an hour and a half into Saint Louis to get to the race. We aimed for 7:15 so we could pick up our bibs and go to the bathroom and we were there at 7am.
I think Dallas was still half asleep!
We had plenty of time to get our bibs and stuff, I was really excited when I saw the tech shirt! It has a TREE!!!! I kinda like trees, don't know if you noticed the huge one on my back. ;)
My mom arrived at 7:15, I was excited for her to be at the race! (she lives in St. Louis)
On top of the awesome shirt, they were playing good music and although they had some cool looking booths around as well, I avoided them like the plague, I did not bring money to spend!
They had a lane blocked on the road, so I was pleased to see that, and since Dylan (my oldest) and Savannah came, I had a photographer to take a shot when we took off.
Do you notice something about this course from the picture? See that little hill on the horizon? Uh...yeah...that was the smallest one I encountered. LOL.
The start was tight, it took a bit to get around people and find a comfortable pace. I wasn't really running at a comfortable pace though, I was running too fast. After giving Dallas so much trouble for taking off on our last 5K, I did it myself! There were just so many people and I think I thought if I could just get through that first mile faster, it would clear up. What I did not account for were the hills. When I say that I didn't account for it, I mean that I found the race map WEEKS ago, did a google map and a ground/street level view, and "virtually" walked the whole thing on the map! Guess what? When the camera is on top of a car when they are taking the street level pictures, it doesn't show the severity of the hills from that angle. I had even told Dallas that there were just a couple hills and it looked pretty flat. Wrong!
Before even the first mile, I was huffing and puffing, but at least everyone had spread out. There was a water station before 1 mile and I passed it. When I saw another before mile 2 I was really pleased and passed that one as well because I didn't need any yet and it looked like they were going to have a lot of water stations. At this point the 5K split from us and we kept going a different direction. Definitely lots of space now and I liked that. Dallas was behind me until now, caught up for a bit but then we hit another brutal hill and he fell behind.
I kept thinking that the hills would be over soon but each time I thought that, there would be another. We ran through a lot of lovely neighborhoods. Lots of shade from trees and no worries about cars. When I spotted another water station a little before mile 3 I decided I better take my gel and get a drink. I grabbed a water and kept going but was pretty unhappy when I realized it wasn't even a half a cup. It was gone and I wanted more. I figured there would be more at mile 4, so I just kept going.
I was pacing a few different women, they would walk on the hills and I would pass them and then they would run again and pass me. At some point I actually tried to walk a bit on a hill and my knees immediately hurt. Back to running!
This race was really different, I loved it, but I also pushed myself more than I ever have when training. I never really relaxed and ran my comfortable pace, I kept thinking if I could just push my pace just a little more than my norm, my time would be better. In hindsight I probably pushed a bit much for the distance of this race. When the hills started to really slow me down I pushed even more because I knew that my time was going to suffer because of them.
Dallas was behind me somewhere, and mile 4 arrived with no water. I was perplexed but figured there would be another soon. More hills and then finally a slope down towards the last neighborhood I knew we would run through. As I entered the neighborhood, which we would loop through and back out, I noticed a water station...on the other side, where people were coming out of the loop. Really? I was parched at this point and if I didn't have to submit this time I might have run over to get water, but I was so determined and nearing 5 miles. And another brutal hill.
I walked a bit, trying to catch my breath, just as I started to run again, the theme song from Peter Pan song came on. Up until this point I had almost tuned out my music, it was strange, I usually really get into my music. Peter Pan is one of my favorite rides and to hear this song as I was struggling up this hill, determined to get this time to submit to Disney for my half, I almost cried and pushed more. I had a horrid stitch in my side and my breathing was more labored than any of my training runs, but I told myself that I just had to finish!
Then I nearly got run over by a cop on a motorcycle. LOL. He was driving up the neighborhood street right down the middle. When I went to move over, he did too? Finally as I got close enough he just stopped right in front of me. For a second I thought I was in trouble or something but when he didn't do anything I just kept running. One of the women who had been going back and forth with me, ran up behind me and said "what the heck was THAT???" and we both laughed.
What seemed like a year later and somewhere around 5.5, I finally got to the water station coming out of the neighborhood. I grabbed three cups of water! Dumped one on my head and chugged the other two down. Water has never tasted so good.
I turned out of the neighborhood and headed up the main street, knowing I had to be close now but my heart dropped when I saw what was ahead. Another HUGE hill. I was looking at my phone and saw that I was at an hour and 2 minutes. (Dallas was using my Garmin) I thought for sure I wouldn't even break 1:10, it seemed like so far to go still. I turned the corner for the final road that headed to the finish and was slapped in the face with yet another hill. WHERE did these hills come from and where were the down parts of these hills? We should be in the clouds at this point!
I was starting to panic when I had to walk again for a few seconds. I fumbled with my earbuds and yanked them out. I was so stressed at this point, I could see the turn into the parking lot where the finish line was at the top of the hill, but it seemed so far away! Finally I was there, and even though it felt like I had nothing left in me, I sprinted to the finish. My brain registered seeing the 1:08...and the picture of my face crossing shows it all. The relief of being finish washed over me. I love this shot. It's not the prettiest of race photos, but the look on my face is exactly what I was feeling.
I headed for the nearest grass and laid down for a second to catch my breath. I was spent, my runkeeper was saying 1:08 and I knew that I gave this race every ounce of my being. Relief, exhaustion, and happiness were all I was feeling. I know, this sounds all so dramatic, but I really did give more than I thought I had to give. I don't think I have ever pushed myself that hard for anything and it was a fantastic feeling.
Naturally it took about 5 seconds for me to return to my former picture-obsessed-nature! Dylan caught me taking a pic of my medal to send to Rey.
So, my official chip time was 1:08:11. Yesterday I thought it was 1:08:10...that's what the paper said that they had put up, but for some reason when I look on the website, it's 11. I'm ok with that, I had a harder time swallowing the 6.3 miles that my runkeeper told me I ran (would that .1 have shaved my time more??)
I'm really happy with my time, honestly. I would love to know what my time would have been without those hills, but unless I move to Florida, all my races are going to be hilly, so I better get used to it! When I first started training for the 10K, my over-the-top-happy-time was 1:08. I had only had adjusted that in my head after having ran 6.2 in training in less time than that. Regardless, I have my time to submit to Disney and I'm proud of that time for my first 10K! I can always try to improve it in October when I run my next 10K.
Dallas came in after me at 1:11:01 and we sat for a bit, drank some water, and checked our times. We headed to Starbucks for a treat before having to head straight back home so I could get to my mid-day petsits. Dallas wasn't very pleased with his time, but still said he felt really good. Ironically, he was the only Male 16-19, so he could have gotten any time and won his age division! We had a good laugh about that. I came in 10 out of 13 in my age group (womp. womp.) and 89 out of 121 doing the 10K. On the bright side, I wasn't last. LOL.
Really sorry for how long this was and if you read it all, you are a gem! I had no pain running (except when I tried to walk) but my knees are pretty sore now!
Have you ever pushed so hard during a run that you knew you had given every last bit you had to give?