Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cotton Row 10K--Yo!! I did it!!

Thankfully before sitting down to write this post...I read THIS BLOG.  Reading that post changes what I was going to say about the 10K race I ran yesterday.  Well...I should say what I was going to say about the effort I gave running.

Let me start with saying what I'm about to write will be a little like writing in a foreign language for me.  I'm going to attempt to write in a way I'm not used to.  Instead of telling all the things I should have done, the things I didn't do, the things I want to do for next time...I want to focus on what I did RIGHT.  It's going to be hard for me.  Although I believe I'm a pretty optimistic person...I am that way when it comes to other people, not myself.  I can tell anyone they did a GREAT JOB, except myself.  That changes today.

I did a GREAT JOB!!

I set out 12 weeks ago to finish a 10K, and I did it.  There were some goals I had to let go of along the way, but I finished the race.  There was a point in there that I wasn't so sure I would, but I kept going and I did it.


I resisted the urge to blog about how nervous I was.  Instead, I had a party for my training group the Saturday before the race.  I thought focusing on a party instead of the run would help, and it did!  I cooked some pasta and some sauce, and the people who came brought salad and bread and dessert.  It was a lot of fun. 

The day before the race  I worked the packet pick up.  Man, let me just say...THANK YOU to all the volunteers who help to put this race on.  WOW.  I'm amazed at the number of people it took.  I had no idea just how big this race was going to be.  The Races for the Cure I've done in the past were big...but I never really stopped to think about the people who put the event together.  I just took it all for granted.  I paid my entry fee, showed up, and had a great time.  But, the man-power it takes and the countless hours the race director has to put in to bring it all together blow me away.  "Thank you" just doesn't seem enough to cut it.  (This picture is only 1/3 of the expo room--all those people behind the tables-volunteers!)

Anyway, having not run for 10 days, and the fact the last two times I tried to run were so painful, filled me with more than just a little trepidation.  I considered switching from the 10K to the 5K, but I figured I'd come this far, I might as well go all the way and stick with the original plan.  I got a decent night's sleep...I drank a protein shake for breakfast...took some drugs (anti-inflammatories and Tylenol)...got all my stuff together...and set out for the race.


I pretty much held my breath until I took the first step of my warm up.  I had no idea what to expect....and I got something I would have never guessed.  My left leg, the one that's been hurting all along, was PERFECTLY FINE!!!!  But...(isn't there always a "but"?), my right leg was hurting.  I think it was just tight from not running so long.  It didn't kill me, but it didn't feel good.  I joked with my coach that I hadn't learned how to limp the other way so I should be fine!  After a slow and easy 1/2 mile warm up, the gun sounded and we were off.

I had planned on trying to stay with a pacer who was running 12:00, but I was going to be fine going slower.  (After getting the MRI results, my goal had dwindled down from "run the whole way no matter how fast/slow" to "FINISH".)  I was so excited to be running again, I had to pull out my phone and snap a picture!!  It's not very good, because I was trying to maintain my pace and not let myself get run over!!  You might not be able to tell, but there were about 1500 people in front of me and maybe 600 behind!!

My husband told me he was going to be around the 1 mile mark, so I was searching for him pretty hard, but he wasn't there.  He found a way to get to the end of mile two--which was MUCH better!  This starts the hardest part of this course for me.  There's a little hill, and then about a mile long incline to the "real" hill at the very end of mile three.  His smiling face, and words of encouragement kept me going at that point, although I took a little walk break going up the little hill and then again at the water station.

I walked the hill to the sound of the theme from Rocky, "Gonna Fly Now", thanks to a gracious home-owner who apparently plays it every year!!  (That's AWESOME, I loved it!!  It kept me moving, albeit slowly, unlike some people I saw stopping on the way up.)  When I got to the top I really did want to quit.  I'd like to say my leg hurt, but it didn't at that point, I was just over the excitement.  I knew I wasn't going to do well by my standards.  I had already walked before the hill...I didn't feel like I could keep going.  And then I remembered---it's "all" down hill from there. That worked, and gave me the best running of the day (average pace of 11:30, best 7:57).  

Even after that great mile, when I got to the end of mile five, I seriously considered trying to find a side street to slink down.  But....as if he could read my mind...just as I was about to cry, my darling husband showed up again. 

I had fallen a little behind my running partners for the day and one of them called my name.  I managed to say "I'm here" as I was looking around for my escape route.   She said, "no, LOOK!"...and there he was, smiling ear to ear.  He told me I was doing great and that he was so proud of me.  He told me there was just a little more than one mile to go.  Just when I didn't think I could do it, he told me I could!!

That infusion of love and support carried me through to mile 6....when the finish line was in sight, sort of.  There were 2 banners--the first was just a little tease.  I had decided before the race that I would sprint from the first to the second (the real finish line)...but when the first one was in sight, the second wasn't.  Drained and done, I attempted to renegotiate my goal with myself.  And...then I saw him AGAIN!!!  My loving husband decided to show up short of the finish to cheer me in!!  And, it worked!!  I started sprinting at the first banner.  I gave it all I had.  There was a "photo line" that was just shy of the finish...and I made it there full on (my picture probably looks horrid because I was about to lose my protein shake at that point....)  I pulled up on the pace and heard what I later found out was my daughter yell, "FINISH STRONG!!!" enabling me to take the final two or three steps to the finish mat for a final time of 1:18:23.  ((My final sprint pace?? 5:37!!!))

Thankfully I remembered to keep moving through the chute, turned the corner, and .... surprisingly enough did NOT toss my cookies.  I did, however, forget to stop my Garmin so my numbers were just a little off.


I was feeling like poo, beating myself up, thinking of all the things I didn't do...until I read THIS BLOG.  Honestly, it made me stop and think about what I do.  I'm never happy with myself.  I could tell everyone out there how great they did--and cheer in the final "runner" (who finished with a time of 1:56:50)...and tell every single one of them how GREAT they did---EXCEPT myself.  I won't go into all the thoughts I had against my accomplishment, they are not only unproductive...they are COUNTER productive.  I like to think the whole "this-is-what-you-did-wrong" approach helps...but it doesn't.  I'm not saying it's wrong to look at ways to improve...but not at the price of waiving off what I did right. 

I did it!!  I finished a 10K-my first 10K ever-with an official time of 1:18:23.  I finished 86/100 in my age group and 1920/2048 over all.  I refuse to allow myself to think there's anything at all wrong with that.  I'm NOT lazy.  I'm not pathetic.  I gave all I thought I had to give at the time.  Recognizing the fact that I might have had "more" isn't wrong, it's a tool I will use next time.  It's the same thing I found out at the Cookie Dash when I managed to pull out a sprint at the end when I thought I was giving all I had.  It's the same tool I used at the end of this race when I sprinted in.  I didn't think I had it in me, but (with help from some well-placed "cheerleaders") I found just a little more.

I'm proud of what I did.  Yes, I want to run faster next time...I want to run the whole way next time...I want to be able to run further.  But, I am really happy with yesterday's results.

Yo, Self, I did it!!!


Okay, I'm taking the required six weeks off.  My left leg is SCREAMING at me today.  It's definitely bone.  My muscles speak a decidedly different dialect than the bones do.  I'm listening.  Even after getting a trail run invite from a precious person I never thought I'd have the chance to run with...I'm sticking with the recovery plan.  I can think of thousands of reasons to keep going, but the one reason to stop outweighs all of them--I want to heal.

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!


  1. I'm SO proud of you Dana -- I truly am. You are a CHAMPION!!!


  2. FAN-freaking-TASTIC, Dana!! Sooooo proud!!

  3. WOW! Tears of joy running down my face... You have got to know how proud I am of you. Of course, I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO. I love you so much.

  4. P.S. Be sure to let your leg heal now.

  5. Great race. It is all about reaching our goals. The Cotton Row is a tough race. It is a great experience to be savored. Nothing like running with 2000 of your best friends. It is not a great race for a PR. Go easy and rehab. You want to still be running when you are 80. The swimming and biking have served me well when I had to back off the running. So if you can bike and swim they are great. Be careful on the bike, I have had a few bike wrecks and there are those darn cars out there. You would think they built the roads for them. Remember it is also all about the exercise.

    Hope to see you in some races this fall.

  6. Wahoo Dana- congrats!!! You're awesome; hope your leg is feeling better sooon. :)

  7. Nice work, Dana! It's really cool to set your mind on something and endure some pain to accomplish it.

    Heal up. You'll be glad you did. Hope to see you running again soon!

    Thanks for volunteering at the Expo and for encouraging me along your way.

  8. YOU DID AWESOME!!!! I am so proud of you. I got a little teary reading about your hubby meeting you at key points. You should be very proud of yourself!


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....