Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monument Avenue 10k

Well, I did it!  I ran my first official 10k!!!!  Let me tell you about it!

First off, I have to thank my neighbors.  Between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:30 pm on Friday, I was home for a total of 45 minutes to let the dogs out and vacuum (I hate being gone that long, but it does happen every once in a while).  While home, I saw my neighbors, and in chatting with them, I realized that dinner probably wouldn't happen until about 10:00 pm, so they did something really nice.  While I was at my last appointment of the evening, they texted me that they had made pasta (meat free for Friday), and if I wanted some they would have some warmed and waiting for Hans and me when we got home.  Bless them!

Anyway, even with dinner being made, bed time happened later than I would have liked (about 11:30).  Still, though, I'd had worse nights, and figured that 5.5 hours of sleep is better than 4.5 hours of sleep.  I fell asleep quickly and slept well...until 4:00 a.m.  Apparently I was excited and nervous, because I couldn't fall back to sleep at all.  I told Hans I kind of felt like I did on our wedding day.  I quickly made breakfast and got dressed, and then I paced until it was time to leave (I call that warming up).

All dressed and ready to run.

In my running stance.
Weather was kind of chilly and rainy, so I had a sweatshirt and track pants on that could easily be removed before the race.  At about 7:00 a.m., Dad arrived at the house, and we headed down for the Blessing of the Runners.  It was a lovely service, and I'm glad I went to it.  While there, we saw some friends of ours from church!

We're all ready to run
After the Blessing of the Runners, Hans went to get Dad some breakfast (and a brownie for me for later), and Dad and I went to watch the elite runners start the race.  I'll tell ya, those runners look like gazelles!!

What came next was a very long wait.  I had about an hour before my wave started, and I was antsy.  With 42,000 people in the race plus spectators (totaling a little over 80,000 people at the race), it was a little crowded, and warm-ups were limited.  I was scared of missing my wave, so at about 9:00 I left Dad and Hans, and I went to stand with my group.  Of course, this means I didn't even have anyone to talk to, but luckily I'm friendly, so I made it work.

Waiting not-so-patiently for the race to begin.
Dad's telling me about some stretches I should do while enjoying a cup of coffee.
At 9:28 my wave started.

Here I am at the start.  I'm very, very happy!
I have to say, the feeling was amazing.  There was music and dancing, and there were so many people cheering.  I almost started to cry I was so happy, but then I remembered that if I cried I wouldn't run as well, so I got a grip.  :P

After that there was just a lot of running.  The rain had stopped, but the clouds hadn't left, so the weather was kind of perfect; cool without too much sun.  At the halfway point, I saw Mom cheering exuberantly for me.  This had not originally been planned, but parking was easier at the halfway, and having her there was awesome.  I really felt that I had someone to run towards the whole way.  I loved it!

Around mile 5, I started to feel tired.  I thought briefly about walking, but I knew I could do this.  At mile 6, with just .2 miles left to go, I tried going really fast.  I weaved in and out of people, and I could have continued that awesome pace except for one thing...the dreaded side stitch.  My stomach had been a bit off all day (probably due to nerves), and I'd been battling a mild stitch through most of the race.  With the increased speed, I forgot to monitor my breathing.  That stitch hurt so bad that I almost had to stop and walk (or cry).  Instead, I slowed my pace back down, let out a grunt (cause that's what real runners do), and continued on.

Two blocks from the finish, I picked that pace back up.  I felt awesome.  I felt like I was flying.  I never saw Dad and Hans waiting for me, but at some point I heard Dad's whistle...a cheer that I heard many times in my swimming career.  I was kind of expecting it, really hoping for it, and super-happy to hear it.
It's a small picture, but I'm the one in the blue.  Hopefully a video will come later.

My final time?  That's the best part.  My final time was 64:17.  My latest goal was for under 66 minutes, and I beat that!  Oh, and do you remember how my trainer had set a goal for me to catch up to them and run with them.  Well...they finished in 73:??.  I never even saw them as I ran past!!

Afterward, I enjoyed hugs and cheers from friends and family.  I came home and happily jumped into the hot shower.  Then Mom took Hans, Jess (who had come out even though she was sick), and me out to lunch, and I enjoyed a big burger and a milkshake.  When we came home, I climbed into bed for a great nap.

Today has been a very good day.  I'm so thrilled at my accomplishment!!!!  My next 10k will be under an hour!

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