Well, good afternoon!
Yesterday was a momentous day...I RAN MY FIRST RACE! A 10K to be exact. I didn't finish in the time I wanted to, but given where my long runs have been, my overall time was respectable. And I was practically last. But as Catie told me when I called her, Last Place is better than Did Not Finish which is better than Did Not Start.
I got up at 4 am to drive to the location (news flash: it's reeeeeally dark at 4 am) and got there a little after 6, which was my goal. I wanted to be there for packet pickup as close to 6 as I could since this was my first race and I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, there were a bunch of other people there and I could just kind of look around and see what they were doing with their bibs and chip timers to figure out what to do. I mean, the bib was obvious...but the timer on my shoe lace? Less obvious.
Found the bathrooms, had my granola bar, and then started milling around the parking lot. I tend to have a quarter mile walking warmup before my training runs, so I figured walking around would be a good substitute so that my body would be ready to start right away. And I'm glad I did, because that's when I made a new friend: Alysha. She was taking a picture of a sign and I offered to take her picture with it. She was from near where I live and had recently moved there and was there a lone too, so it was nice to have someone to talk to while we waited for things to start (and stare at the reeeeeeeally intense guys warming up in the parking lot).
Finally, it was time to start the race and we played the National Anthem and then we were off! The pack pretty much took off without me, but that was okay. I was expecting them to, and determined not to let the pack's pace dictate my pace. I knew what I was and wasn't capable of and I felt pretty confident that there were still people behind me when I checked.
Now, the one thing I was not prepared for: HILLS! There are no hills on my training routes. Possibly on purpose ;)
But there were hills on this course! I didn't notice the first one because it was within the first mile, and, well, ADRENALINE, but I noticed the one between miles 2 and 3. And I noticed the first one on mile 4 (the course was done twice by us 10K-ers) when my legs were tired.
I forgot to eat until about 40 minutes in. Eating is something I only do on runs that are more than 4 miles, and it's not something I've been doing until recently...so I kinda forgot I was supposed to until it was too late. Miles 4-6 were hard fought. I don't know where I found the strength to keep going...probably in the part of my brain that knew stopping in a strange neighborhood far away from my car wasn't a good idea. And in the part of my brain that wants to go to Disney. Because Miles 4-6 there was DEFINITELY part of my brain questioning whether this whole "run 22.4 miles in one weekend" thing is the best idea we've ever had. But then I could see it...my final turn...and as I turned onto that final quarter of a mile stretch and I could see the finish line, I started running again, not letting myself stop until I crossed that finish line.
I crossed the finish line determined that I had finished last...but I was handed an ice cold water and got some granola bars and bananas and found Alysha and saw that I had finished before awards had started (something I'd been worried about) and sat down and ate and drank and started to feel better. Because even if I HAD finished last, I'd finished. And according to my tracker app, I'd finished at a pace I felt proud of.
Alysha actually finished 2nd in our age group. I finished 12 of 12. But we both met the goals we had set. Hope to see her at a future race.
So overall, I'm pretty proud of myself. As a friend of mine commented on Facebook yesterday, I did something not everyone can do.
And I'm convinced this is a sickness...as I'm about to sign up for another race for between now and February. At least I have a time to beat now.
I used to think runner's were nuts. Maybe I'm just nuts now too.
Oh, and I actually DIDN'T finish last. So there's that.