Monday, July 23, 2012

Quarter Marathon! Check One off the Bucket List

This weekend I ran in The Durham Quarter Marathon. That's right, 10.54 km!
The race was on Saturday. I signed up on Tuesday. Crazy, right? I'd been thinking about trying a 10k for awhile. I was pretty sure I had trained enough and that physically I was capable of it. I was completely lacking in the believing in myself category though. Here's the breakdown of race day!
(at the starting line!)

4:20 am - my alarm went off. This is when I normally wake up to run, so I was ready. I had a shower, and I'd read to eat a bagel and cream cheese. Awesome. I love bagels. I avoid them usually (carbs, white flour) - so this was a yummy treat!

5:20 am - I was more than ready. I put all the race stuff, plus snacks for the family in the car. I woke up Mike and the kids and we brought them to the car. It did not take them too long to wake up and get excited for the road trip ahead. They didn't know what we were doing because I really didn't tell many people - and my kids tend to overshare!

5:30-5:55 - The hunt for an open Starbucks!!! We finally gave up, grabbed coffee at Timmies and we were finally on the road to Oshawa (a good hour away).

7:00 am. - We arrived just as they were setting up. I had no idea how busy the race would be. It turned out it was pretty quiet. So we parked, got the race kit, and then took the kids to Tim Hortons to kill some time. I ordered 2 chocolate timbits for myself. My nerves were kicking in as I didn't even make it through one!!! We then just killed time for the next hour or so, stretching, playing with the kids, enjoying the entertainment and making our way to the starting line. Closer to the start they announced the pace bunnies, so I walked over and introduced myself to my pace bunny, Steve. I told him it was my first 10k (well 10.54) and I wanted to cross the finish line by 1:20. He was a 1:10 pace bunny (the slowest!) and he said stick with him, and if I needed to slow down I could. I never run with people, but this was pretty cool.

8:30 am - we were off. This was the first race I've ever done where I've started slow. I really wanted to hang out with the pace bunny, and he started, you guessed it, ON PACE! I will always do this from now on. I enjoyed the start.

1km - This was a cool first km. I usually stress the first kilometre. When i run in the mornings it always takes me awhile to find my pace and breathe and sort of shake things out a bit. I felt strong from the first step. When my nike+ app told me I'd hit my first km I was shocked.

2-4 km - This was remarkably easy. The pace was slower than normal and I was totally enjoying the scenery. I was listening to my music, but every so often Steve (pace bunny) would check in. I'd get a thumbs up or a smile. I loved this aspect. At one point he told me to swing my arms more and watch my breathing. (on the hill). I liked the encouragement without constant chatter. I think he would have talked the whole time if I wanted.
(that's me in the pink waving - right next to me is Steve the pace bunny!)

5km - I'll admit when I hit 5km I felt amazing. Normally I'd be exhaustend but I wasn't. Maybe this was a combo of adrenaline and training and you know the whole pacing myself thing. This is the moment in the race where I got a bit emotional. I pulled a bit ahead of Steve and picked up my pace a bit. I wasn't really trying to change my time, I just wanted to be in my own space. I realized that this was the halfway point and I was doing okay. I didn't really expect the sudden wave of emotion. I probably should have stayed on pace, but I don't regret having that moment of running alone and totally feeling it all.

6-8km - Of course there were hills. I need to train on hills. This was just a challenge. I couldn't find a rhythm. I'd lost Steve (gah!) and I freaked out a bit. These 2 km I kept telling myself "just keep going." Right around 8k there was a street closed and a police officer standing there keeping cars away. I started to walk and she yelled "keep running. just keep going." I wasn't expecting that. It made me laugh. I kept running.

8km - I'd never run this far. This was when it got hard. I slowed down. I wanted to quit. The thing is,  I wasn't tired or sore. I just hit a mental block. Luckily at this point Steve caught up to me. I was close to tears, and because we were by the lake and i'd slowed down so much I was shivery and cold. It was so nice to just run with someone. I yelled "this is soooo hard." He said "It's supposed to be. You're fine. Stick with me." There were all sorts of signs at this point. Funny ones. I just kept going. When I stopped he'd say "keep running."

9km - Seriously? Another km to go??? I think I was a bit walk run walk run. But I kept going. At 9.5 Steve said "you have 6.38 minutes to go. You can do it." I took off. I wanted to be done. That last km was tough because most of it was up hill. Everyone started to walk. BRUTAL. Finally it got flat. I ran. Finally I saw Mike and the kids at the end. They were cheering. I just kept going. The finish like was sooooo close.

10km. - WHAT????  My Nike+ app alerted me to the fact I hit 10km and I was impressed. I was also on a hill. Another half a kilometre did not sound like a good idea. I really wanted to quit. I was determined to find some sort of hidden energy reserve. (at this point I actually thought of one of my yoga teachers who always says "find that extra bit of energy" and I was seriously searching!). We were still going uphill. I wanted to die. And then I saw flags in the distance. And I took off. There was that little energy. Yay! I saw Mike and the kids and I slowed down enough to wave. Ha ha. Not really. That was me speeding up. Whatever. I ran past them to the finish.

10.54 km - I finished. My time: 1:11:09. I wanted to do this is in an hour and 20 minutes. Shaving 9 minutes off that rocked my world!
(almost at the finish line. Those are the flags.)

So, I was glad that was over. I finished and then turned around and found Steve and gave him a big sweaty hug because I really thought at 8 km that I may just sit in the grass for awhile. I don't think he was expecting it. And it cracked everyone up. A woman said "usually you don't hug the pace bunny." Well, you know. Learn something new every race!

Recovery after was pretty good. Immediately after I was super thirsty and kind of just wanted to get away from everything. I was kind of stunned, and really just wanted to sit down and not do any of the after race stuff. I felt a bit gross, but I think I was also a bit dehydrated. Once I had lots of water and juice and walked I was fine. I went to a baby shower after and it was great. And then the next day I got up and felt great enough to do a yoga class. I was a little sore, but I felt way better after yoga - I think because I needed a really good stretch.

So ...

Here's what I learned.
1) I like running with a group. I've done enough running now that I felt pretty comfortable with letting someone pick a pace. I liked not being alone. (but I like running alone too).
2) Pace. Pace. Pace. Pace. I don't pace anything in my life. I should probably try to start with running.
3) If I want to keep doing this I should probably join a clinic. I've avoided this mostly because I've been kind of self conscious. I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep up. I think I proved I can. Actually - after I drafted this I went to the Running Room and signed up for a 10 k clinic and then I will do the half.
4) I really really really want to run a half. This was amazing. I want to keep going.


zoot said...

The pacing thing...I hear that! I finally bought one of those garmins after I bombed pacing SO BAD in a half-marathon. I just misjudged myself and misheard the time-keepers and did AWFUL. Now I wear my garmin to keep me straight!

WAY TO GOOOOOOO!!!! You did great!

Hilde said...

Congratulations. Great accomplishment. My young adult children both ran and I've been trying to decide whether to give it a try myself. We shall see.