I was nervous. I don't know why really, but I was. There ended up being about 175 people in the race (well, if they all showed up). It was 35 degrees out there, but according to weather.com it "feels like" 26. The winds were from 13 mph with gusts up to TWENTY THREE miles per hour!! ((When the race was over, it started SLEETING!!)) I've said all that to say, I was happy to just get out there and run, much less in a race!!
It seemed like everyone there was a serious runner (who else would get out in these conditions??....and so, what does that make me?? !!!). My "goal" became to not finish last. I lined up toward the back but not at the very end, because I knew I wasn't going to walk, at least not to start out. One mistake I made was not warming up. I told myself I was going to, but when I got there I just didn't. I really felt like I would look stupid because I knew I wasn't going to RUN, so it felt silly to warm up to jog in the back of the pack. That really was a mistake I won't allow myself to make again. I don't think it "hurt" me at all...but it's just something I need to make sure I follow through on next time.
We got bad news just before the start of the race.
It rained all day yesterday so the greenway we were running on was flooded. They had planned for us to go up and over the flooded area in a school parking lot, but due to a function at the school, that wasn't possible. So, they had to shorten the race. They hadn't determined the exact distance, but it ended up being 1.7 miles. I was disappointed, but not as much as the "seasoned" runners. I think, for me, it turned out to be a good thing.
I stared out at a quick pace (for me) of 8.5 min/mile. My heart rate took about 2 1/2 minutes to get up to 175, which I think is great. I decided I wanted to keep running, as opposed to doing intervals of running and walking, so I slowed down to a rhythm of a 10.5 min/mile pace. After about NINE MINUTES my heart rate went above 180 so I slowed it down a little more, determined to keep running at least until I made it to the 1/2 way point....or (giving myself an out) until I just couldn't do it anymore.
There were two separate couples who passed me along the way. The guys were obviously going very slow for the women. I wanted so bad to run with them, but I knew if I sped up my heart rate would spike up and I wouldn't be able to keep running. So I resisted the urge to compare myself to these people I knew nothing about and just keep running.
The "hot rods" made to the 1/2 way point (which wasn't even in my sight) and were already on their way to the finish line as I was still plugging along. I was convinced I was last, because the guy who runs at the end had passed me up (good indication of race position). I started telling myself that I was crazy for even being out there. I actually had the thought that I could tear off the race number, turn around and go back to the car and no one would even have to know. ((I told you before, I've been known to quit when things get difficult...)) But, I PUSHED PAST that babble in my head and just kept running, determined to finish the race even if I was dead last.
When I got to the 1/2 point, I didn't take any water because I didn't want to slow down even more...last was bad enough. To my surprise, when I turned around I realized I was NOT last!!!!! There were several people behind me! I almost cried.
My new goal was to run the whole way...and to not let any of the people behind me pass me up!! My hope was to be able to pass someone before I crossed the finish line, but I was going to settle for not being last and running the whole way (even at a snail's pace!). Just ahead of me I saw one of the couples...and the woman had started walking! I wanted to kick it up but I certainly didn't want to run out of steam and look foolish. So instead I just kept running at the same slow and steady pace---and I PASSED THEM!!! (YEA ME....) I kept telling myself that even if she caught her second wind and passed me again, I would focus on me and me alone-but it sure did feel good to PASS HER (again, there was a guy with her, but it was obvious he was there for moral support).
About that time I started seeing people, who had already finished the race, circling back to keep running (my inspirations). There was one lady who was obviously older than I who came by; I couldn't resist telling her how awesome she was. I asked one older man how far it was to the finish. He was so nice. He told me it was just ahead, that I was doing great, and he encouraged me to keep going. About that time I saw the other couple who had passed me earlier....I resisted the urge to make it a competition with them. I remembered to focus only on ME and what I was doing...and I PASSED THEM!!!!
I could hear the people at the finish line cheering, although it was around a corner so I couldn't see it. I heard two sets of feet behind me and was convinced it was one of couples I had passed earlier. I knew I was giving all I could because my heart rate was up to about 183 at that point. Disheartened, I kept running at the same slow and steady snail's pace I had settled into. I about jumped up and down with glee when two men who had already finished the race, and apparently run past me earlier, overtook me--it WASN'T EITHER OF THE COUPLES!!
Just then, in my moment of pure race bliss...I saw IT--the FINISH LINE!!! I decided that I still had run left and wanted to leave it all there so I kicked my legs in high gear, ignored my heart for the moment, and finished as strong as I possibly could---at a whopping SEVEN minute mile pace!!
I stuck around to hear results, because I thought I might get lucky and there wouldn't be any other 40-45 year old women running that day--meaning I would WIN a prize!!! And, guess what??!! I DID win....FOURTH in my age group. I don't have any idea how many of us were there, I just know that I was FOURTH and I'm happy with it.
- I finished the whole race!
- I wasn't last, and even finished fourth in my age group!
- I ran the whole way!
- I passed FOUR PEOPLE!
- All in 35 degree, wet, overcast conditons.
What a GREAT DAY!!!!
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!